Fall is here. It’s time to start shuffling the SCM cars around, putting the convertibles away for the winter and making sure the coupes and sedans are ready to go.
Here’s a quick look at the status of the cars in the SCM fleet:
The 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce (pictured above) went to Bill Gillham’s for minor rocker repair. That has turned into major surgery, as there was rust lurking that needed to be addressed. Also, Gillham is replacing the trunk floor, which is no small job in these cars, given the way the upper and lower fenders attach to the floor. In addition, he discovered that the car was hit in the right rear some time in the distant past. Rather than repair the fender, someone simply welded a new one over the damage. Figure a couple of months until this car is ready.
The 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale is still blown apart. The engine and gearbox are at Nasko’s. Most of the parts necessary to rebuild the engine have arrived from Jon Norman. I’m keeping the original Type 121 1300 Veloce engine and putting in 1,400-cc pistons. New cams with a modern grind will be installed. A 2-liter oil pump, modified to fit the 101 sump, will give good pressure.
Tom Black has the body and is filling in the holes in the dash. The plan is to get the car running and driving, and then decide how far to take the restoration. The SS is still months away from being a car.
On the other hand, the 1967 Duetto is ready to go. There are a couple of small things that need to be addressed, but with the new heater fan installed by Nasko, I will have heat in the winter. I acquired a factory hard top for the car. It’s at Guy’s Interior Restorations being freshened up. I’d like to try it on the car this winter and see just how “practical” it makes the Duetto.
The 1958 Sprint, 1967 GTV and 1967 Giulia Super are each just waiting for me to get in and turn the key. After not driving them much this summer, I look forward to using them more as the seasons turn.
The 1967 Volvo 122S Amazon is a happy car right now. As a little gift, I’ve ordered it a Girling brake booster, which I will have installed in a couple of months. The Amazon loves the cold weather, and I look forward to enjoying the prodigious output from its heater.
As for our other cars, the 2000 Dodge Viper GTS ACR is, as you would expect, in need of nothing. It likes to run hard, but I will say it takes a brave driver to explore the potential of this car in the wet. There are no electronic nannies to protect you from your own stupidity.
The 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo needs a quick trip to the dealer. The airbag warning light has come on, there is a slight vibration from the front end at 70 mph, and the dash that I had reglued is lifting a little bit.
None of that is major. I have been driving the car on a daily basis, and the Tiptronic makes it very easy to live with in traffic. Compared to my vintage cars, this is almost a luxury vehicle, with its power brakes and steering, climate control and power seats.
And then there is the Méhari. I’m not quite sure why I’m so enamored of this little oddity, with its opposed twin-cylinder 600-cc engine. Bradley calls it our “golf cart,” and that’s an appropriate label for it.
The local Citroën guru has taken the Méhari under his wing and gotten it running again by replacing both coils — yes, it has one for each cylinder. The charging light is still coming on, and he is planning to look at the alternator diodes in the near future.
I drove it a couple of miles last Friday — to a tasting of French red wines, most appropriately. I’ve never owned a Brass Era car, but compared to my Alfas and the Porsche, the Méhari is clearly from a more primitive time.
Driving it is an entertaining and engaging experience. You have to set the choke just the right amount before pulling on the knob that activates the starter. The shifter is the typical 2CV weird umbrella-handle thing that punishes you when you don’t use it properly.
With the cold weather, the fact that the Méhari has no doors or side windows will limit its use. But at this point, I would have to say that of all the SCM cars, it offers the most interesting driving experience. Vive la France!