The car has been mine for two weeks now. Good news first: there is really nothing horribly wrong with it. I have done 300 uneventful miles, and pretty much everything works. It seems slightly more economical than my 156 V6, but I am not driving it that hard. So the view that all old Italian cars are wrecks can be proved wrong in this case. Of course, there is a huge list of stuff to do. In priority order, here it is:
1) Suspension. It has been lowered rather too much – it looks like -50 or -60. Whatever the springs are, they aren’t Eibachs. This has been done on standard shocks, which don’t handle the travel that well, and have failed completely at the back. As a result, the car is floaty in a small range of travel, and then crashes out on the bump stops. The rear subframe to body bushes are toast, which contributes to the erratic handling. The swing arm bearings seem OK. There is a simple solution to this which is an Eibach spring kit (-30), and a set of B6s, as well as a rear subframe overhaul.
2) Transmission. There is plenty of CV grumble and both nearside boots have holes in them – probably a result of the overlowering at the front. New joints on order. The brake disks are superficially OK, but have big score marks (and corrosion) on the NS. Cleaning them up with hard stops has improved matters a bit, but not enough. So new disks and pads, which is a pity, because there is a lot of meat on the pads. Back brakes seem OK, but some of the solid pipes are badly corroded. Gearbox is good, clutch is good.
3) Engine. It is going to get a proper service, but nothing is obviously wrong. The belts were done by Alex Jupe at 75K, so have plenty of life in them. The exhaust needs work – it has no flexis and has been decatted, with only one central box. As a result the “special occasions” ‘zorst is stupidly loud, but with a sports cat, it will probably be about right.
4) Bodywork. Not a sign of rot underneath. There has been some welding, done well. The red is a variety of colours, and there are a few small dents, but nothing to worry about. Interior is remarkably good, and everything works.
So the plan is to divide the car into “front” and “back”.
Front – get her up in the air, remove bumper, remove arch liners, remove struts, brake disks. Drain gear box oil, remove both driveshafts. Replace CVs as needed, build new struts. Check for rust, treat as required. Give everything a good coat of Dinitrol, put it all back together with new bits. If the wheelbearings are remotely suspect, change those as well. Do the engine service at the same time.
Back – get her up in the air, drop the fuel tank, drop the rear subframe. Clean up subframe, fit bushes, new shocks, springs, swing arm bearings. Remake dodgy solid pipes, check for corrosion, treat as needed. More Dinitrol. Reassemble.
Further work. I need to get to the bottom of the performance chip, what it is, and what it expects to be in place. Hopefully it was made by someone still in business. Assuming it can handle it, the plan will be to rebuild the exhaust with a 100 cell sports cat – which will reduce MOT worries and hardly impact performance.