Cars & Coffee San Clemente July 29th 2017

We were happy to finally make it out to the Cars and Coffee San Clemente this morning bright and early. We arrived at about 6:00 and shortly thereafter the cars started to pour in. The first thing we noticed? How it was entirely surrounded by picturesque hills. Also, (being the parking area for a newer outlet mall,) the place itself was clean and upscale. With it’s large white parking area, it was the perfect backdrop for showing off all the colorful automobiles.  It was great to see many new faces. Plus there were a lot of folks and their vehicles from the now defunct C & C in Aliso Viejo.

Ruby’s was serving up hot coffee and yummy pastries and for some of us missing our Panera fix after losing Aliso Viejo, it’s to the left as you drive in. We weren’t sure if it was open or not, but it’s still good to know it’s there. On a personal note, my favorite car this time was the Fiat Multipla. Massimo and his brother used this vehicle (well not this one but one very much like it!) as a working truck when they were young and I love hearing the stories they tell about it.

I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking. However, on a last note, it was totally worth it to make the trip down here and we plan to do it again in the coming weeks.

A very quiet Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo Aug 13th 2016 this week. There is construction (a new restaurant?) taking up a good chunk of the parking lot, or blocking at least the “spotlight” part of the parking lot, an area where many of the heavy hitters showcase their vehicles. This alone changed the vibe of our Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo, it just didn’t feel the same. Many people weren’t in attendance also due to the Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance this week.

However, even though it felt a little smaller and perhaps a little less glamorous, both these changes are temporary and things should go back to normal in the next few weeks. Nevertheless, there were a lot of little delightful details to keep us busy,  like cars with eyes, mini cars inside full-size cars, odd vehicles, a pure white poodle in a cherry red car, (They looked amazing!) and even antique costumes to go along with antique automobiles. Take a look at the gallery, we missed the poodle, though, he moved and blurred the shot!

One strange vehicle that resembled some kind of really long skate board…

So we wondered around a bit, took in the sights, said hello to the few diehards then called it. However, we did manage to get some colorful photos of the autos there and one strange vehicle that resembled some kind of really long skate board. We didn’t find out exactly what this thing was, but we’re guessing that if it’s at Cars and Coffee it probably isn’t slow and probably not for the faint of heart either!

This photographer’s favorite pic was the Mercedes kids car nestled inside it’s full sized parent. What a clever idea. Obviously, everyone in that family gets to ride in style!

Aliso Viejo Cars and Coffee May 21 2016

And an unexpected event!

What an eventful day! We started out to enjoy it bright and early at Cars and Coffee in Aliso Viejo. The skies were overcast threatening rain so we were surprised at the number of people who turned out this weekend! Thanks to cloudy skies and colorful autos our photos were particularly popping! Lots of exotics this time around and one of our favorites was the corvette with the mini corvette sitting on top of the engine.

What can we say, we’re Italian, regular coffee isn’t strong enough!

As usual, we stopped to chat with our friends and clients while admiring their automobiles Then we headed back to the shop for own version of C and C, we’re calling it Espresso and Cars. What can we say, we’re Italian, regular coffee isn’t strong enough!

At the shop, we helped a client repair a few annoying chips in the paint of his 308 Ferrari. We were lucky to be pleasantly surprised by one of our clients and friend who dropped in to invite us to the Nobles Family Museum in Fountain Valley for a tour, generously put together by our local chapter of the Ferrari Owners Club of Southern California.

We quietly followed him around at least 5 rolls of exotic automobiles, and that was only the inside…,

We raced off to the museum (raced, get it?) where we were treated to a light buffet, then a brief biography by the owner of this wonderland, Yes, Professor Anthony Nobles gave us the tour himself, explaining each car of the collection while we stood around gawking and drooling at them. He described his love for all his exotics and how he drives them in a rotation. He is a definitely a Ferrari enthusiast, with about a third of his automobiles being Ferraris. He even owns the F2001 driven by Michael Schumacher in 2002. We quietly followed him around at least 5 rolls of exotic automobiles, and that was only the inside, outside the entire parking lot was ringed with exquisite automobiles too!

We were very lucky to get a chance to attend!

The museum is not often open to the public. But the Professor sponsors and hosts all kinds of charity events at his museum. We were very lucky to get a chance to attend!

Unfortunately, our photos don’t begin to do it justice to the place although we’ve included what we took. At the bottom is a link to some truly amazing photography that captures the feel of Professor Noble’s dream garage.

A big thank you to Mark Snow, Professor Noble and the Ferrari Owners Club of Southern California for making this one delightful day!

Professional Photos Of The Noble Family Museum

Here is another link for more information about Professor Noble himself. Professor Anthony Noble.

Ferrari Owners Club SoCal

 

 

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!

Cars and Coffee Feb 27 2016

Another beautiful Saturday morning for cars and coffee at Aliso Viejo. This time we decided to show off our 1995 Alfa Romeo 164 LS as it had just been detailed and looked spectacular if we do say so ourselves. We set up and then wandered through the event. It was crowded this week, as you can see from the pictures. Many folks came from far and wide. As you know, this particular location attracts a variety of automobiles in various condition which makes Aliso Viejo a very colorful car show to attend. We saw a lot of friends and customers enjoying the day, adding to the fun! A number of Porsche 914s filled up a dream roll on the asphalt including an orange one that had a sticker on it from the 1971 Rally Of Monte Carlo. Now here’s where we got excited, If the sticker isn’t a reproduction then we and this particular Porsche share a common history; Massimo and his brother Bruno Mondino were there at that same rally in 1971!
This week a number of Mini Mokes made an appearance together. They’re such a cute rugged little car with such a rich history that we were just charmed. We learned that the word Moke was an archaic term for donkey and that this mini automobile was designed with the military in mind as a light vehicle but its wheels were just too small. Low ground clearance made it impractical for rough terrain so it became a passenger car. FYI, The Mini Moke had a long production run (1964) through several countries before ending in 1993.

Other cars that caught are attention were 3 Lamborghini’s, (we believe came from the dealer in San Diego) but the show stopping twist, at least for us, was a Ferrari 308 that had been modified into a fully electric vehicle if you can imagine that. In the photos you can see how that looks with cables and batteries. It bore the mark “GTE” instead of the normal GTS. The owner decided he’d had enough and pulled out as we watched it. Even though we knew it was electric, it still left us in a bit of a shock as it accelerated, the only noise it left behind.., a resounding silence. The familiar Ferrari growl disturbingly absent.

As it accelerated, the only noise it left behind was a resounding… silence, that familiar Ferrari growl disturbingly absent.

It was one of those strange disappointments that stop you for a second, and makes you think! We ended up taking a moment to reflect and talked about a future where there were no more of these amazing automobiles and powerful engines with distinctive sounds. It made us miss a future past, a future that we’re at the beginning of now and a past to mourn in our future. Nevertheless, the GTE is  green and promises a cleaner future. A double edge sword and hopefully a fair trade.

 

Source: Mini Moke  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_Moke

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,

Italtech GT Channel!

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.

 

Ferrari 330 Engine Block Photo

Ferrari 330 GT Engine Block

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..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Cars And Coffee Photo, Aliso Viejo. Jeff Henyan and Massimo Mondino

Cars And Coffee Aliso Viejo. Jeff Henyan and Massimo Mondino

Cars and Coffee, Aliso Viejo, Aug 8th 2015. Spend another glorious morning with the cars and coffee crowd. Posting these pictures kind of late as tomorrow is Saturday again with another cars and coffee event coming up, but we couldn’t resist posting these photos from last weekend, of these beautiful automobiles, such a shame to leave these beauties languishing on our computer!
Boy has c&C Aliso Viejo become popular. The event has gotten so large compared to it’s former humble beginnings that it is barely recognizable. We remember when not even a quarter of that lot was full and maybe included 3 rolls of vehicles! (I’ve posted a couple of photos of this so you can see what it is today) Autos take up almost the entire parking lot now, packed from the front to the back. So now instead of a cars and coffee event, it’s officially become THE Aliso Viejo Cars And Coffee “Event.”
While Visiting one of our happy customers was delighted to pose for a photo with us along with his car and we were delighted to have a chance at a snap with him! Here is Mr. Jeff Henyan with Massimo Mondino and his Ferrari 360 Modena behind him.
On a light note, there was a bit of gossip floating around that because the Aliso Viejo cars and coffee had gotten so big that there might be a split so to speak, into two ventures with the new second venue being held at the state fair grounds. Now this is completely unconfirmed gossip mind you, but if it were true, what a intriguing development. What have you heard? Let us know in the comments.

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.

 

#VintageAlfaRomeo