Re: I Drove 5 miles without timing belt attached!
Re Fiat Alfa Rust in 1970s.
Fiat sold the Soviet Union the rights to build the FIAT 124 (remember in those days the communist party was the second largest party in Italy). Fiat even built the factory fro them in a new town which was called Toggliati..after the founder of the Italian Communist party.
The car was toughened up and Called the Lada 1200. Unlike the Fiat 124 it was heavy, had a lousy new Russian engine, reworked steering that was just awful...all so it could survive Russian roads.
The Soviet Union had no foreign currency to fund the deal, and the story goes that Italy agreed to take vast amounts of Soviet steel in payment. Needless to say the steel was very poor quality and full of faults/impurities. The pressing on both Alfas and Fiats were thin and badly fitting (Alfa worse if anything). So not only did it rust prematurely, it had no rust protection. Thus Italian cars could fail their very first MOT on corrosion..at three years old. The average life of a car then was about seven years. The Lancia Beta was a nice car that suffered badly from rust and damaged their reputation for very many years.