25/02/08. My Wife phoned me this morning to tell me she seen a lovely Fiat Coupe for sale. You might think this not unusual but she's been trying to talk me out of giving anymore needy cars a new home. It got better as she told me we should go and look at it! We did and I now own a 1998 20V Coupe in ink black, not my first choice but it looks well. When I woke up this morning the last thing I was thinking of was a Coupe.  I think I've finally won my Wife over as she admitted she has a soft spot for Coupes.

26/02. Up and out early this morning to lift the car. It needs a bit of work but for a 10 year old car the body appears to be in very good condition. There is hardly any little dents in the doors which so often Coupes end up with. Paint is a bit dead but it should polish up well and there is very few scratches on the paint. The 17" wheels aren't in very good condition. I'll see if I can clean them up but really I would like a nice set of standard 20V turbo wheels.

 The worst part of the car is the aftermarket front bumper. It looks like someone has painted it with a brush. It's also a bit loose. It will need painted at some point.

The interior is in excellent condition with only the heater fan not working on 1st and 2nd.  

The gear knob and the hand brake lever cover are not to my taste so will be changed when I get a chance.

Mechanically wise the car has just had a new clutch fitted and according to big Tipex writing on one of the struts it had a new timing belt fitted at 81K (it has 85K on it now).

28/02. I have the body completely polished now, G3, Trade polish, Maguires wax, Maguires wax sealer, so I have turned my attention to the wheels. All 4 are in a bit of a state and will need re-painted. There is also some scuffinng on them that I will have to sort. 

  

03/03. Two of the wheels primed and ready for painting. I filled some of the deeper scuffs with stoppers. It's a kind of thick primer in a tube. It's light and dries hard so is easy to rub down.

 

Once the primer had dried I rubbed the wheel with 600 W&D but used it dry as I didn't want to contaminate the wheels. Then put the paint on 1 dust coat and 3 heavy coats of my own special paint..  

Followed by 1 dust coat and 3 heavy coats of laquer.

If you look closely though, you can still make out some of the scuffs. The only way to take them out completely was to either leave them in to be done proffesionally which would have cost a fortune or use a lot of fillers which would have put the balance off. As I hope at some point to get a set of standard wheels I'm not going to look for the perfect finish on these.

 

04/03. I had these Fiat centres lying around the house for a very long time. But I always knew they would come in handy. They fit the wheel centres almost perfectly. 

08/03. My new wiper blades arrived this morning. I'm going to try these new flexi type ones that are fitted to new cars. If they work well I'll fit them to all our everyday cars. 

Fitted the rear one. It certainly looks well.

13/03. Finally I got the wheels back on and got the car out of the garage. Must admit myself, it looks well.

 

Just wish my local motor factors would hurry up and get their new paint machine in so I can get the front bumper painted.

To celebrate getting it out, I went to the mates tyre place to get the tracking done as the steering wheel wasn't straight. The tracking was out quite a bit. All sorted now though.  There's still a few things to do. I need new bonnet struts, the wheel for adjusting the drivers seat is off, the heater needs a new resistor and I want to change the oil and plugs as soon as I get a chance.   

19/03. The new thermostat came today from the Fiat dealers. So it was straight home and a look at the old one  to see how big a job it is. This is were it's situated in the car, at the right of the engine as you look at it. It has 5 pipes leading off it and if they have never been of before, they are held on with grab clips and are a pain to get at let alone get off.

Easiest way to get at it is to take the battery out. The thermo itself is only held on with 2 13mm bolts. New and old thermos on the table to make sure everything is the same.  If you buy a new one for your car just remember that it doesn't come with the water temp sensor (green plug in the photo) and you have to remove it with a 19mm socket. 

I fitted the new thermo on and used jubilee clips this time just in case I ever need to remove the pipes or the thermo. The job will be easier next time. 

It's handy being well in with your local Motor factors because I went to get anti-freeze and got told off for lifting the wrong stuff. I lifted Bluecol but apparently it's not the best for Alloy engines (I genuinely never knew this) and you have to use green anti-freeze. You learn things everyday...  Anyway system bled and my green anti-freeze in, I just had to wait to the fan came on at 90% to make sure all was well. The gauge hit the 90 and the fan came on straight away. Lovely hot air in the car now. "Job done". 

 


20/04. I've been thinking now for a while about making a roof vent for the car. Looking at various photos of the rally Deltas I decided on the easiest one I could make   . Since the car has a sunroof it would be silly to start cutting holes so an imitation one is what I decided to make. I made it out of a piece of perspex for lightness. And of course I had to paint it in the colours of the Italian flag.

21/04. Roof vent finished and on the car. I secured it using the hole the arial went in through and this ment moving the arial to the rear of the car. I was for doing this anyway at some point because there had been one of those bee sting arials on the car which was really out of place. I'm pleased with the result, although if I'm honest I probably will change the flag colours in the future as they don't look quite right somehow.

22/04. With going to the Lancia Event in Kilarney and I'll be driving in convoy, I'm a little concerned that the headlights could get damaged and since they are getting expensive and hard to get I decided to cover them with a film of plastic we use at work to hold damaged windows together. No Idea how effective it will be but every little helps.

Apart from packing now the only job left to do was change the oil, just to be on the safe side. Oil filter was changed as well.

   

Friday April 25. Lancia Motor Club Ireland, tour of the lakes. 

 They had very kindly invited me along to this and I couldn't refuse a chance to go back to were I used to rally a little, specially with the Evo. So with car all loaded up (including a spare set of wheels to be droped off at Roscrea) off my mate Vincent and I went. My Wife was to go but because of work couldn't make it. We dropped the wheels off with Gerry who is currently putting an integrale back together and he kindly fed us lunch which set us up for the rest of the 5 1/2 hour journey. No dramas were to be had on the way down (lots of thumbs up though) and about 40 mile from Killarney we decided to stop and get the car washed so it would look presentable when we arrived.

Car all nice and clean we sat off only for it to rain about 10 mile on. We arrived at Killarney Oaks hotel just after 5pm to be greated with a great sight.

 

Sat 26th. Sign in was first thing and Kim and Dave who were running the event were on hand with the rally packs. they had promised me a sticky plague for the car and also a hard plastic one with the number 6 on it to match the car and they didn't let me down. The design of it was even the same as the ones that would have been on the rally car at say Mote Carlo. I was really chuffed at this and it ment a lot to me..  

Cars were filing in from early morning with around 30 by the time we were to set off on our run. A really nice Evo 2 turned up. 

The days run would take us from Killarney in the morning around the Lakes and then lunch at Glengariff. Apart from Steven in a Nero Evo and Boka in a red one taking the head staggers and passing everyone the drive was at a nice pace which I think suited the older cars. I got to drive behind a lovely Fulvia Zagato for a while and a really nice Grey 8v grale. 

My new mates John and Sarah tried to do a james Bond act by creating a little smoke screen for a while

We had a little pit stop along the way to take a few photos and take in the views which are stunning.

It was on to lunch at Glengariff.

I think this photo of the car looks excellent. Even if I say so myself.

Lunch over it was time to set off again for what for me turned out to be the best bit, the Healy Pass and some really cracking little twisty roads that made the Evo feel at home.

The twisty little roads we'd just came up. 

We stopped at a hotel "I never did get the name of it" for a last little break and the hotel manager came out and offered everyone a complementry drink in the hotel. Another excellent example of Irish hospitality.   

I made some briliant new friends who made the "craic" really come to life "and kept me going a lot", and had the pleasure to be in the company of really great cars. It was a truly excellent weekend.  I also discoverd that my car is in fantastic shape. It never missed a beat once even over some awful roads and on the way home it went for the full 5 hours without stopping once and pulled into the drive as fresh as it left Killarney.

07/05. Mot's booked for Fri morning so a few jobs need done before then. The middle mud flap that runs under the car took a battering on the Killarney roads so needed fixed back on.

  

Then it was off to get the underside of the car steam cleaned. Once through the mot I'll have a really clean car to spray new stonechip on as I see it flacking off in areas.

  

08/05. I checked the rear pads and although there is a bit of life left in them I decided to change them.  New ones were ordered this morning and came this afternoon. Now that's fast service.

 

While checking all the lights were working I found one of the front fog lights wasn't. I know it's not an mot failure but since I had the time I took it apart to see if I could fix it. All it was, was a poor earth.  

09/05. Mot day. car all washed and ready, opened the front door and the rain came on. Typical. When I got to the centre I checked everything again to make sure all was working and in I went. All went well until the car went up on the lift.

 The tester called me over and pointed out the front right ball joint was not the best. I had checked for movement at home and didn't find any, but once the machine in the centre starting testing the joint it was completely knackered. The car failed on this and the sun strip being to low! It's not allowed to cover the sweep of the wipers. It doesn't make any sense to me because the sun visors go lower than the strip. Oh well. On the way home I called into the Motor factors and ordered a bal joint.  The balljoint arived this afternoon. It was for a Delta but not what was on my car. The head was only 15mm and the one on my car is 17mm.

 

I'm now left with the car stuck on the jack until I can get a new balljoint. 

13/05. John Whalley's came to the rescue with next day delivery. The joint on my car is the same as a 16v Grale. It should be here tomorrow.

14/05. True to their word the joint arrived today. It's now fitted and the car is ready for it's re-test which I'll go and book tomorrow. I do hope I get the test straight away.

     

17/05. I'm feeling a bit creative today so I'm having a go at making my own rally style door mirrors. Like the lamp pod I can't justify spending £300 on a set off mirrors that are purely for show. If they look silly when finished I'll just scrap them...  Anyway firstly I found a photo of the real things.

Next job was to make a set of templetes and stick the together to see if I'm even close.

   

Then transfer this to metal, (I can't afford kevlar). I can shape metal easily and can tack weld the pieces into shape.  

Once the inside bits were welded I then tacked the outside piece on.

The shell now all welded together. A little bit of shaping next.

19/05. Well the shell of the mirror is finished. I'm a bit please at the outcome. This is it beside a photo of the real thing. I think it's close enough. Once I got it finished I did use a bit of fillers so I could sand it to the shape I wanted it. From start to now it's took about 2 hours.

And my good old Motor factors came up trumps again with this sheet of mirror glass made from plastic that can be cut to shape really easily. Just waiting on a sheet of carbon plastic shhet to come to see if it will mould to the shape. Failing that it's semi matt black paint that will have to be bought.

 

20/05. The first mirror shell is now finished so I attached it to the car to see what it looks like. The mirror is only set in at the moment as I have to decide yet on what way to secure it.

  Next little job will be to get 2 chips in the windscreen sorted. The 2 of them are about the size of a 1 pence piece. The guy is suppossed to be coming in the morning.

 

21/05. Well a busy day that didn't start off well. The guys came up to fix the 2 stone chips but decided it was to risky and the screen might break as the chips were just boardering on being to big to fix. So they have went off to see about geting a new windscreen. Thankfully that was the bad news part of the day out of the way, because straight after my mate Mark who owns a local tyre, exhaust and wheel centre phoned me to go with the car to his place to make up a roll cage we had been talking about doing for ages now. So down I went to his place with the templetes I had made for the bends. I don't want to lose the rear seats as the kids will be coming to some of the events with me. This ruled out buying a proper roll cage and as it's only for show anyway we had decided to make it out of 2 inch mild steel tubing. That way we could bend it to the sahpe we wanted losing minimum space and keeping the back seats in place... So Mark who works for Mark "are you keeping up"   set to work bending the pipework while I trial fitted it.

    

In what seemed no time but was actually 2 hours all the pieces were shaped and ready. Now I should also explain that we have made the cage so that it can be taken out of the car if it's no longer wanted. The various pieces will be bolted together once in place rather than the whole thing being welded in.      

 

Oh and the day finished off on a high as the car passed the MOT re-test tonight. I'm very pleased.  

24/05. Got all the bits measured up and trial fitted. It did take a few hours but was worth it. I also got everything primed today.

 

26/05. As soon as I got home from work I got all the bits painted. My compressor is really starting to play up now so I hope the painting comes out ok.

Since I was painting the cage bits with the same paint as I used on the Pod, I gave the pod another couple of coats of paint to tidy it up a little.   

27/05. Fitted the cage this morning. Took about 40 minutes and went in with no problems. I'm very happy with it as it has came out exactly as I wanted it. Not polished, more sort of purposefull. I just have to attatch the sensors for the alarm now to the front bars. If you want a cage made I can do it, but it'll cost you.

  

28/05. The guys arrived today to fit the new windscreen. Took them all of 5 minutes to get the old one out.

No hanging around. The new screen was in in about the same amount of time. Excellent job. And I got the new door mirrors and the lamp pod back on to.

14/06. My wife was away for the weekend so I had the kids to myself. There was a little show on not far from were we live so I took them up to it.

 

My son was very impressed with it all.

 

15/06. The Scooby (Subaru) Club Ireland along with the Police were holding a big event in Antrim and the NIIMC had been asked to come along. So since the kids were still with me we set off for this one to. There were some very impressive motors at it. I could have filled quite a bit of space here with photos of them, but since it's about folowing the history of this car I'll stick to it. My mate Vincent parked his 996 Ducati beside the car.