Espresso and Exotics March 26 2016
You may have seen us advertise that if you see us at the Aliso Viejo Cars and Coffee we’ll be at the shop having our own version right after. We call it “Espresso and Exotics.” Here is what it looks like. (Photos above) We drink espresso, eat cookies, look at engines and have lively discussions. Massimo also talks about the projects he’s working on while giving a mini tour of the place. Not only do you get to see engine parts you’ve never seen before, but it’s also a chance to have a rare look at what happens to your exotic after you bring it in for repairs.
On this day we actually skipped the car show and went straight to the shop, arriving around 9:AM. So I must now add that if you don’t see us at Aliso Viejo but still would like to have some added fun after the show, give us a call at 949.680.2799 just to make sure we’re there. Drop by, we’ll have a nice cup of espresso waiting for you, Italian style!
The Inner Workings Of The Ferrari 330 GT
What’s more interesting than working on a Ferrari 330 GT? Why sharing all the in and outs of our progress on the project with you folks! Seriously, how often do you get to see the inner workings of these rare cars? To that end we’ve made a couple of videos just to show you what this awesome Ferrari 330 GT looks like, on the inside.
We document everything.
We photograph and film or document everything, each step of the way. We do this for our own information of course, but also for our client who receives a copy of everything we generate during the restoration. This particular video is a quick look at the disassembling of the crank. You’ll also see the main crank caps, cylinder heads with valves and of course piston and rods. After all that the block then needs to be restored to it’s former glorious luster. The initial cleaning of the engine block surface is what you’re seeing as the video closes. Hope you find it as interesting as we did! We have other videos and you can watch them all on our.. Drum roll please,
Okay.., sheepish grin, although we have plenty of video in clips, we’ve only just begun putting them together for You Tube. As you can see we clearly are “amateur status” when it comes to film making. But we have 3 videos to show so far, and we are planning to create a lot more. Hopefully they’ll get better with practice.
Here is the end result of a lot of hard work done on the 330. Block, crank studs, all back together and engine in show ready condition waiting to be reinstalled back into the 330. Stay tuned..
(This is a reprint from my first blog, Sept 2007, of one of Massimo’s most memorable Ferrari stories and one of my favorites as well since I was around and actually saw what had happened, it was fascinating and I thought it was time for a re-share.)
MIA or Missing In Action
A client came in with a blown head gasket due to over heating, on a 1985 308 4 valve Ferrari. Massimo pulled the engine out, pulled the heads off, replaced the head gasket and thermostat. He than checked the water pump and looked through the water pump housing pipe as well, everything appeared fine, no leaks..,
So why had it overheated?
Massimo is meticulous and always double checks everything. And on a hunch, he pulled the water pump cover, but again no obvious reason for the trouble, the shaft had no play on the bearing, seals looked recently done, no problems right?
When he tried to turn the shaft by hand the shaft would spin without consistently engaging the gear. In other words the shaft is supposed to be locked onto the gear so that it doesn’t move at all! First thing he thought of was that the Woodruff key notch, a piece that sits on the key and fits into a spot on the gear wheel, was completely worn out. But when he pulled the front engine cover off and saw the gear bouncing on the shaft he was intrigued.
Moving? He thought, this thing wasn’t suppose to be moving around at all!
After getting down to the Woodruf key itself he saw clearly that there was no notch at all! As you can see in the photo there is nothing attached to the shaft! Instead, the Woodruff key had been pressed in. It is very likely that the shaft came like that from the factory, hard to tell, but because the notch wasn’t milled onto the shaft, the water pump circulated sporadically, which in turn caused over heating and finally catastrophic failure.
So Massimo replaced the water pump shaft and the problem was solved.
But he later confided to me that this was really strange and he’d never seen anything like this in all of his years working.
One of the projects I remember well was from when I was working on an engine rebuild of a 1938-1939 2.9 V Alfa Romeo, not only was this a very cool car to look at but mechanically it was unique, and I’ll tell you why in a moment, so it was with great pleasure that I embarked on this unusual project. As I began to take the engine apart and clean the individual pieces, I noticed that there was writing on the parts, and as I squinted to read the writing I could see that each was not only made by hand but signed and dated with the name of the artisan. The dates were all different, 1937, 1938, and the names, Giuseppe, Guido, went on and on as I uncovered each piece. Even the value spring was signed and dated “1936” in tiny tiny script, Each part of that engine whether large or small, was beautifully crafted by people who were so proud after it was finished, that they signed their names to the work. It made me wonder what they would think if they knew that almost 70 years later someone would take apart this engine and read their signatures and what would they think of the work we do today? How difficult these pieces would have been to create back then when there were no machines to help, when every part had to be exact, planned created, honed again and again until it was perfect; each piece worth signing. But most of all as I did my work, I wondered what happened to them, these people who put so much heart into everything they did. Not long after these parts were made war broke out. Did they survive? What were their lives like after? Did they go on to make more more automobile parts, or something else? There was a time when people cared about the quality of their work and took pride in it and the entire time I was rebuilding this beautiful 1938 Alfa Romeo it was indeed a sentimental journey, and one of the most touching projects I have ever worked on.
Ferrari 330 update!
Work continues on the engine of the F330. As you can see the “before” photo gives you a pretty good idea of the state of the Ferrari engine block. In the “after” pics you can see as well, the block has undergone a a major transformation or an “extreme” makeover if you will, already, even though it is only at the midway point. There’s a lot more cleaning to do, and certainly more rebuilding! This process is always carefully documented and the next step after everything is restored to our satisfaction, is to reassemble what was taken apart, using said documentation. We’ll keep posting/sharing more on the Ferrari 330 update as the work progresses.
Once you’ve pulled an engine out of a car you can have unforeseen and new sets of problems, especially for a 1964 330 Ferrari engine, one of these problems being how to hold it? Of course, back in the day, there were engine stands to hold these and other types of exotic engines but today.., eh, not too easy to find, actually lets just say impossible to find. So what do you do when you need an epic engine stand to not only hold, but manipulate this magnificent engine in order to work on it?
If you build it…!
But how to build this specific stand? Thinking it out, we realized it would have to be flexible, able to hold different models of vintage engines, not just this one in particular. We didn’t want to end up having engine stands lining our walls we just needed one all purpose one. It would also have to be able to hold an extensive amount of weight. Additionally it had to hold the engine stable and in certain positions where we needed it to be, and it had to able to rotate 360 degrees so we could work on any part of it as the project progressed.
We envisioned it in our heads, and drew it out, several times, on paper. When we were satisfied we hit the metal yard and bought steel cut to our measurements. We than brought the pieces back to the shop and had them welded together. Then we held our breaths, would the stand be substantial enough? Would the welds hold? Would the engine fit?
When put to the test, the stand functioned perfectly and as a final touch we painted it, Ferrari yellow! Below are photos of our stand project and the final results.
First look at the 330 shows lots of wear. It was running poorly and smoking. A leak down was performed with the results of 40% leakage with possible cracked rings in cylinders 3 and 4..
With the engine out and disassembled we found in the #3 cylinder with a broken piston ring and the number 4 showed damaged rings. This happened because the car sat for a long time with no oil lubrication, the liner built rust and by running the engine again, the rust caused the damage.
Aside from that the engine obviously needs extensive work to bring it back to working condition. Here are some photos of what the engine initially looked like and what we’ll have to work with.