Here comes the bride….,

And if she’s arriving at a church in Italy, it won’t be in a limo.

Arriving in style in Italy means to get there in a spectacular classic Italian automobile! Rich or poor, a vintage Italian automobile is a requirement. Vintage and antique cars play a huge part in traditional weddings in Italy. Perhaps it’s their version of Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

 Even cars are romantic in Italy!

Not that they need a wedding rhyme in order to include these legendary charmers. As a matter of fact, classic vintage Italian cars (the older the better) play a big role, not just in weddings but in many of their celebrations and ceremonies. You’ll see them in everything from anniversaries to parades. When we got to attend a wedding in Sant Anna, Italy, the cars and motorcycles were only secondary to the bride and groom themselves. That’s when we realized that even cars are romantic in Italy! We carried these highlight moments back to America with us.

After the bride’s car came the roar and dust of the groom…

The bride made a glamorous entrance in a vintage Fiat 1100 (Millecento) decked out in strategically placed large white bows that complimented the already awesome little car. After the bride’s car came the glint of chrome and the roar and dust of the groom and 25 of his elegantly dressed friends astride motorcycles, most vintage. The grooms bike was decked out in the same big white bows as his soon to be Mrs’s Fiat. The noise, the cars, the motorcycles and the festive atmosphere made for a chaotically delightful, and dramatically beautiful event!

They took their first ride as a married couple in a vintage Ciao..

After the newlyweds finished exchanging vows, they took their first ride as a married couple in a vintage Ciao with a handmade rigged sidecar attached to it for the bride. As the little scooter carried the couple in a hitching, stop start circle around the piazza of the church, the spectators cheered them on. The bride looked a little nervous at her predicament, much to the delight of the crowd.

Today many Italians use vintage America cars in their public celebrations. But this particular wedding was unforgettable, and the addition of the various vintage vehicles (alliteration!) took it over the top and made it an extravaganza, giving it that playful, ever stylish, Italian edge that we all admire and secretly wish we could emulate!

As told to me by Massimo Mondino:

Mind The Gap!

Mind The Gap! Click To Englarge

Recently we got in a 1964 Ferrari 330 that came from another shop where it was restored. It was suffering from a lack of performance; not performing the way it’s suppose to.., close to it, but just not quite there. So I began to search for the cause. What was holding this engine back?

After checking the distributors making sure the points dwell was right and also that the points were synchronized on my distributor machine, I moved forward to check the spark plug wires. I did a compression test and a leak down finding uneven cylinders. So I went ahead and did a valve adjustment, I found that the valves were too tight. After putting everything back together I set the timing to proper specifications and also removed the top of the carburetors and checked the the floats. I found that the floats were completely out of adjustment. I went ahead and set them to the right specs as well. After everything was reassembled I went for a test drive. Although the car improved a bit it still wasn’t performing as I expected it to. So at that point I decided to remove the carburetors because although they did look like they were (new) fully rebuilt, after finding the other miscellaneous problems on the car, I just had the feeling that something was still wrong between the carbs and the intake, maybe an uneven carburetor base, or too much free play in the shafts which I know from experience, that in the DCZs are a common problem. I went ahead and removed the carburetors completely placing them upside down on the bench, I checked one carburetor at a time for free play on the shaft and using a straight edge, checked the carburetor base to see if it was warped. When I got to the number 3 carburetor I noticed that when I would fully open the throttle the secondary shaft driven by gear, was loose and intermittently, would only open partially and when it did it was never the same. It would open every time at a different degree/angle. Basically the car was running with 12 cylinders and sometimes only with 10 and some. A simple loose clamp was the culprit that created this extremely frustrating, time consuming and hard to find problem.

Moral of the story? In my line of business when it comes down to particular repairs, like a carburetor rebuild, you make sure that when you start putting it together you finish the job, you don’t walk away in the middle of it. It is too easy to forget a really important technicality. Attention to detail is essential in this business. The clamps forgotten by the last mechanic, not only affected the performance of the car but caused concerns for both the customer (prompting them to take it to another shop) and for me, in trying to track down the problem they left behind.”

Ferrari Water Pump Shaft and Gear

Ferrari Water Pump Shaft and Gear

(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?

Wrong.

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.