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It’s been really hot the last couple of weeks in LA, hot weather and old cars do not make for the most comfortable combination so last weekend I went out for an morning drive and tried to beat the heat. I brought along my new Canon 6D and was playing around with some of the “photography for dummies” settings that are built into the body.

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I’ve have been so busy at Singer that past few months that I’ve hardly had the chance to work on my personal projects. My Sedan is due for some major work and it has been patiently sitting in the garage waiting for me to get going on this. I need to build a rear end for the car since my current worn 4.56 rear end is getting louder and louder. I do so much freeway driving that I’m thinking of going with a 4.10 LSD with some extra locking done to it. I have a fresh Alfaholics Race driveshaft that is ready to go in it as well. This Alfaholics unit does away with the factory “olive” pilot bushing/guibo setup and replaces those with an aluminum plate mated to a U-joint, the setup is claimed to be balanced to 10,000 RPM and of race-quality. This should solve some driveline vibration issues that I’ve been having but I will report back when I complete the install.

The biggest thing the car needs however, is a trip back to the body shop. The paint unfortunately has revealed two cracks and on top of that, I’ve done a bit of rub damage to the front fenders and lower panel myself from the all the driving I’ve been doing. My plan is to strip the engine and drivetrain out of the car so that I can work on it and do a deep cleaning while the body is getting repaired/resprayed. After this I plan on finalizing my interior and calling the car “completed”…….at least until I get going on my fuel injected 2L Twin Spark project that I have planned for it :).

Targa California

Targa California

This was my first year attending the Targa California and it was a very memorable and inspirational experience. This year the Targa California took a new route which led us on a three-day rally over Angeles Crest, Big Bear and deep into the beautiful deserts of California.  The majority of cars were Porsches since the rally is put on by TRE but there was lots of other markes present including Datsuns, VW’s, BMW’s Triumphs, MG’s, Volvos, and of course the Alfa presence was very high and I had a blast and made a few new friends.

 

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Giulia held up well with zero issues other than a little brake fluid boiling after about 30 minutes of  chasing down Porsches on the back side of Big Bear Mountain. The car currently has a fairly short 5th gear and than combined with the 4.56 rear end made for a “revy” three day trip, that said the engine held up great with zero issues to speak of even in the desert heat at high RPM’s for 100’s of miles……good Giulia. The car got a very warm response from fellow drivers, its amazing the smile that a Giulia Sedans put on people’s faces.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Me and the lady took a weekend trip to one of my favorite places in the world this past weekend, Joshua Tree National Park. Having a fascination with mining history I explored several of the abandoned gold mills in the park including the Desert Queen Mine which you see here.

 

Sometimes you just need to drive.

I tend to get caught up in projects, obsessing over the details and the next phase of the project. I tend to spend entire weekends in the garage tinkering with parts and dreaming up the next phase of the project.  This past weekend I chose to get out of the garage and just get out and drive all day. It’s good to do that because it reminds me what this car obsession is really all about…..the drive. I drove up highway 2 to Newcombs Ranch for some fun driving and much needed inspiration. After the mountain drive I just cruised all over town running errands and doing some shopping. The car strikes up so many conversations, thumbs up and smiles from people around LA. One gentleman nearly cried telling me how he used to drive in a Giulia Sedan back in Lebanon with his father, another person told me he was immediately ditching his plans to build a Datsun 510 and looking for an Alfa.

I am nearing completion of this car and I finally got carpet in the car. I went with a German Wool square weave in green. I’ve been driving the car for the past year with pretty much no interior at all, doing that you get the raw driving experience of hearing every single sound that the car makes from front to back! The engine, the transmission, the suspension all making their sounds as you go down the road. With the carpet in, it’s like hitting the “mute” button, almost all of the clamor of the mechanicals is dampened and turned down a few notches, it’s a much more relaxing environment and makes the drive less stressful and tiring- girlfriend approved.

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Here is the aqua vinyl that I chose for the door panels and some of the trim inside the car. Matching interior to the Beige was more difficult than I thought but the green is going to work well.

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C&C

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Twin Spark build(s)

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Well a pair of 75 TS engines are now on cue for full performance builds. Weighing options on pistons/cams/rods/fuel injection/carburetors/stand alone.

750 project

750 project

I’ve been working away at the 55 slowly sorting through some running issues that the car has. One of the issues being a strange vibration that is running through the drive line. I stumbled onto the cause of the problem after spending a few hours attempting to install an Alfaholics SS exhaust system which was especially made for Giuliettas fitted with 1600 engines such as this car has. I was having major problems getting the exhaust system to clear without rubbing against the floor pan and after confirming that I indeed had the correct system for a Giulietta with 1600 engine, I realized that the engine in this particular car was not sitting in it’s original position and was not mounted using factory Veloce engine mounts asi tmaybe should. In order to fit dual carburetors and the larger 1600 engine, this car was fitted with a pair of billet Centerline aftermarket engine mounts which reposition the engine slightly to clear the taller 1600 along with it’s dual side draft Webers. It appears as if the billet mounts are actually over compensating and I am now awaiting an original set of Veloce engine mounts which I am anticipating in the post so that I can experiment with different engine positions until I have one which is just right.

Engine mounts are only part of it. I am also trying to figure out how the transmission mount position affects the drive shaft position (this being my suspicion for the horrible vibration that happens at speed) the drive shaft seems cocked coming out of the transmission yoke, not giving a suitable small angle but rather one of about 10 degrees- definitely not healthy for the drive shaft support bearing and associated parts. I also found the transmission rubber mount and clutch bushing to be tired, all adding up to a poorly performing system.

Brakes and rear end on this car are also in need of some attention and rather than spending much time on them I decided to go with a disc brake and LSD out of a GTV. A 4.56 LSD unit will be stripped of it’s bracketry and the hardware from a 101 will be welded on so that it is a direct fit onto the 55. I look forward to the performance of 4 wheel disc brakes and rebuilt LSD.

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Super Bowl drive

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For those of us who aren’t football fans, there is another reason to look forward to the big game day. The streets are empty after about 130pm! I met up with a group of Alfa and Porsche buddies at Deus Ex Machina in Venice. From there we absolutely tore up Mulholland Drive, the weather was cold and wet so the roads were a blast slipping and sliding around the tight curves!

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55-65-70

Last weekend I spent a few hours my 65 Coupe. I sourced a beat up set of original 65 seats/sliders to replace the totally out of place 72 seats which were in it before. It is amazing what something like this can do to my energy level for this project. I have visions of doing a full strip down and restoration to street racer spec, but in the back of my mind I know how much energy this would take so I have to curb my desire to do this. Instead I have decided to keep it as is and simply re-build it one area at a time and keep the down time to a minimum. I have a box full of suspension rebuild bits, and some sport springs which are waiting to go in. I want to build it into a canyon carver with some sticky tires and proper lightweight wheels. I am removing the badly bondo’d driver side door and replacing it with an original no-bondo-slightly-rusty-but-straight Musk green door which I sourced. I want to find all the parts which I am still missing for it such as a rear view mirror, front grille, one piece bumpers, Carello headlamps, etc etc. Bolt-in roll bar, nice exhaust system, yes.

In the background you can see a client’s 55 which I have been collecting parts (and knowledge) to do some upgrades to. I am fixing some bad vibrations in the drive line, working on the clutch and brakes and then stiffening up the suspension a bit to make it more fun to drive. I am also putting together a beautiful SS exhaust system for it from engine to tailpipe. Heavy steel wheels are getting replaced by light alloy TZ type wheels and period look tires. I should be finally turning wrenches by the weekend as all the parts arrive, I will definitely post more pictures when I get going on this.

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Tattered and leaky exhaust system is getting replaced by some mandrel bent SS.

Urban Outlaw

Having coffee at my favorite spot “Handsome Coffee Roasters” and ran into a bit of an automotive celebrity, Magnus Walker who is a Los Angeles based Porsche collector made famous by the film “Urban Oulaw”. He spotted my Giulia and commented on my seats and that lead to an hour visit to his beautiful DTLA compound which is jam packed with 60’s-70’s Porsches and paraphernalia. He had just took delivery of a couple of 911sc’s and was stylizing them. He was nice enough to give me the grand tour of his garage and living quarters and I was totally inspired by it all, especially since I’ve been taking so much interest in the idea of living and working in DTLA lately. He said he loved the stance of my car, and I have to admit that I feel as if I finally got it just right. Perfect combination of performance and “stance” thanks to all the toying with offsets and suspension setups I’ve been doing these past few weeks.

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