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Keeping your Ferrari all original - required or desired!!!

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Bob Zambelli, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Bob Zambelli

    Bob Zambelli F1 Rookie
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    Nov 3, 2003
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    Robert G. Zambelli
    I’m posting this to air some additional comments to the tire thread that has been in place for a time. [Disclaimer – I am not suggesting that you use or do not use any of the products mentioned in my missive – I am just relating my own experience.]

    I agree 100% with Will Stevenson on this one.

    Regarding the comment “if you can’t afford to maintain your Ferrari in OEM condition, then you can’t afford to own one” – WHO SAYS? Since when is OEM condition a pre-requisite to ownership? I’ve owned, driven, ridden, maintained and club-raced Ferraris for nearly thirty years. I’ve rebuilt more V-12 engines than I can remember, from a 250 GTO to a 365 GT, as well as many 8s and 6s from 308s and 246s. While most of the ancillary components are good to excellent quality, some just do not meet the various design requirements. Case in point, the alternator fitted to my GTC could not maintain the A/C, lights and wipers at the same time. Simple solution – I fitted a GM alternator. Some easily fabricated bracketry and I had a system that does it all for one-third the price, around $55.00 from Whitney, as I recall. It even has a maintenance-free built in regulator. The OEM coils and ballast resistors are OK but the Bosch Blue coils worked much better in a high-mileage car like mine that burns some oil. They do not require resistors. Cooling fans? Those from a FIAT draw one-half the current but cool my engine much better, especially with at A/C on. The points on some of the OEM relays burned badly – possibly not load matched. Bosch relays cured this.

    When one of the window lift motors in my GTC burned out, a generous soul offered me a used one for only $400.00. Such a deal!! When I stopped laughing, I examined the application and found that with an evening’s work, a simple reversible permanent magnet motor and some simple relay logic would do the job better than the original! [It should be understood that I have my car for my own selfish pleasure – I’m not saving it for the next owner!]

    Tires overstressing the suspension? That’s new to me. In the many suspensions I’ve rebuilt, both ball-joint and trunnion type, front and rear, the most common malady was corrosion. The components were DRY! Grease fittings are installed for a purpose but many are ignored. The Ferrari suspension system is the most ruggedly designed/engineered I’ve ever seen on ANY sport/GT car – PERIOD.

    Will – you stated that there is plenty of increased performance to be had with modern tires on a GTC. YOU ARE 100% CORRECT. I’ve proved this by increasing the performance of my GTC with ONLY tire changes. I believe someone mentioned $345.00 for XWX tires. If true, are they steel belted or gold belted? What, other than the original “look” is the justification? After some rather scary incidents with the XWX tires at Lime Rock, I removed them, never to go back. I cannot say that about any other tire I’ve tried. Could it be that this particular tire is just not compatible with the GTC suspension? Who knows?

    Someone mentioned the Pirelli P-4000 being unacceptable for the DINO (noisy, etc) – that may be true in that particular application but on my GTC, they WORK, and work well. They are on the car at present and I would definitely purchase them again (thanks to Tire Rack for the suggestion). I would welcome a passenger to join me in a brisk ride on a few challenging roads I know of. I can just about guarantee that any screaming will not come from the tires. For what it’s worth, the best tire I’ve ever had on a DINO were the old COMP TAs.

    For Pete’s sake, take your car out and DRIVE it! That’s what it’s meant to do! So, you replace your Lucas alternator with a GM unit. Who cares? If the driving safety and “fun factor” is enhanced by modern equipment, go for it. After all, what’s more important, spirited driving in the most desirable automobile ever created or satisfying a concours judge? Even the old cars are wonderful drivers. Keep in mind that back in the “good old days”, many owners would drive their cars to the track, race them and then drive them home, possibly to work the next day. That’s an ultimate driving machine!

    In closing, I would like to state that I see a great deal of difference between afford and justify. I can afford just about any new Ferrari except the ENZO – but can I justify one? Not really – the new ones just do not excite me.

    So, I’ll just keep suffering in my old GTC. When it reaches 250,000 miles, I’ll rebuild the engine, whether it needs it or not!
    Bob
     
  2. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 F1 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2001
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    You hit the nail right on the head! I'm restoring a 75 308 GT4 (okay it will never be a 250 GTO) but still, why use rubber suspension bushings when urethane (in black) look exactly the same and perform better? Why keep that tiny speaker wire that is called a sway bar in the rear when you can upgrade to a GTS sway bar? Why keep points when there is Electronic ignition? I want to drive and enjoy my car safely and with as little trouble as possible, it only makes sense. Of course the majority of upgrades will never be seen by anyone. As for the Metric rims, junk them or use them to wrap a hose around and upgrade to the 16" QV rims, they look exactly the same only you have a wide variaty of modern rubber to choose from.
     
  3. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Bubba
    My tech suggested I start a box for the buyer who asks about "originality".

    So far (five years), it's contents:
    Used fan belts, two headers blown into pieces, about 100 spark plugs,
    two fuse blocks, four cracked tailights, two burned out headlights, siezed water pumps, burned wiring, a cassette Blaupunkt with tape wound up in it, plug wires, one coil, alternator brushes and assorted unidentifiable goodies.

    When they ask about it, I'll tell 'em: "it's original if you put ALL THESE back on the car! LOL
     
  4. Attitude928

    Attitude928 Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    934
    NYC
    I agree that the Number One thing is to drive the car. If the original parts make the car undrivable from a safety or functional standpoint, then by all means replace it with something that will work. Same thing goes with old Maseratis.
    However there is a limit. I've been learning about the ups & downs of my Maserati Khamsin. As a company, Maserati hung in there in many ways over the last century. One buyout involved Citroen who put their hydraulics in the Khamsin, Bora, and Merak. The hydraulics are fun & fine by me. It is another system that can leak, but the Citroen ownership is part of the heritage of the marque. I disagree with the overzealous Trident owners who have ripped out their hydraulic systems. Is there some limit for modifications of old Ferraris?
     
  5. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
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    Dec 21, 2000
    6,340
    B.C., Canada
    #5 Peter, Dec 22, 2003
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I'll jump on this bandwagon.

    I feel a car should look original on the outside (period wheels/original size, no wings/spoilers/ground-affects/etc...), but be modernised on the inside (updated, modern components: electronic ignition, hoses, tires, etc...). Looks of the original, but modern to be driven reliably.

    I'm the process of doing this with my fuel pump. Since the original is NLA, I've replaced it with a Facet Blue Top, plus I've added a shut-off valve to facilitate quick, clean and easy filter changes. I've also upgraded the FIAAM/FISPA filter unit to a Baldwin spin-off and remote mount. I'll be able to this while doing oil changes. You'd be amazed at how dirty fuel can be!
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  6. billb

    billb Formula Junior
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    Jun 4, 2001
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    Bill Badurski
    Bob Zambelli's post is right on target. For example, after the third alternator rebuild, I installed an AC Delco with internal regulator. Saved the original and tensioner bracket for the next guy. No more blown diodes or failed external regulator. No more wavering ammeter at idle with the fans and headlamps on. There is a fine line between improvement and butchering, and common sense dictates where that lies. Regarding overloaded suspension parts with newer tires, I tracked a Daytona for years with 265/50-15 Comp T/A's on all four corners with no problems. Drove it the 150 miles each way to the track, raced it, and drove it home.
     
  7. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

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    I agree than one can take an old Ferrari, modify it and make it perform better. But why ? If you want the best performing car available, why would you buy an old Ferrari anyway ? If you want a track car or a hot street car, get a Porsche, a Viper or a BMW M car. The new Lotus would be a great combined track and hot street car too. If you want an old classic car, whether it is a Ferrari or a 57 Chevy, why wouldn't you want to keep it original ? Why would you spend the money on a Ferrari and then spend more money to make it less than what it was designed to be ? You could take a concours 250GTO and put a Viper engine in it and have a much faster car. Why not buy a Daytona and drop a small block Chevy engine in it ? It would perform better and cost less to maintain. But, would it really still be a Ferrari ? Owning an old Ferari is more than owning an ordinary sports car. It is about the sound, the feeling, the Weber carburators and the other oddities that come with Italian engineering. If you just want the looks of a Ferrari, buy a replica with a Honda enegine and be done with it. I understand that brake pads, spark plugs and other such parts wear out and have to be replaced.. But parts that affect the appearance of a classic car should be replaced with OEM type parts IMHO.
     
  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    As you may know I own a few cars that have won a few awards including Pebble, CCCA national first, Louis Vitton, Greenwich, etc.
    NONE of them are original. There are no original cars. Once you change anything they are no longer original. Ferrari's were and are constantly modified to make them, faster, better, and able to continue on. This was done on the track , this was done at the dealers, and by owners. The fastest 512M ever raced was heavely modified by Donohue/Pensky. I've personally watched NART mechanics drill holes into brand new Ferrari race cars to make them lighter.
    Bob is right and once again Frank is wrong.
     
  9. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

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    Napolis, indicate one statement in my prior post that is not true.
     
  10. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
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    Bill
    Originality can be a disease. I will endeavor to keep my car as original as reasonability dictates. If someone wants to compete in FCA or the various vintage organization track events, reason dictates loudly that originality is not safe or correct. If someone wants to enjoy driving his older Ferrari, or similar car, possibly using it in a spirited fashion or take long trips in it, once again reason says that originality is of a much lesser concern than getting there safely. This conversation started with tires. Why should someone risk the lives of themselves and their probable passenger for the originality of crappy XWX's? If the XWX's are unavailable, as they are from time to time, are we supposed to stop driving our cars altogether? Also mentioned was the replacement of an ineffective and largely unavailable fuel filter. Come on Frank, we are not talking about putting a "small-block Chevy" in a Daytona or a Viper motor in a GTO as you implied, can't you stay with the subject. Can't you admit you are WRONG? We are talking about the associated hardware, where sometimes the genius of the Ferrari concerto is compromised by the accompaniment of Rube Goldberg. My car is not a trailer/garage queen. I love to drive my car, I love to take it on long trips, if I can do something to ensure that I will not have to leave my car on the side of the road for A**H***s to throw bricks through the windows or worse, I will do it. If all I was interested in was static concourse display then we are entering a different discussion.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  11. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

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    bill365, same thing I asked Napolis, indicate one statement in my prior post that was not true.
     
  12. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    Jim, I agree with you, but isn't the real issue the definition of original? For example, I see nothing wrong with retro fitting an old car with electronic ignition. Indeed, given the improvement gains, it would be silly not to. Hell, even the anal Porsche judges (and they have to be the worst) don't count off for changing tensioners. In other words, if over time, various fixes have been developed for defects in an original car, upgrading the car makes perfect sense.

    Indeed, I find the whole concours thing asinine. I don't know if you have been following Bill Rose's trials in trying to get his 365 2+2 up to a 99% level, but does it really matter whether the hood latches were painted or unpainted? My guess is that even the factory didn't have a clue.

    In a past life, I used to restore old Triumph motorcycles. Originality was a bad joke. The factory just used whatever was lying around on any given day. Even the color of the wiring harnesses could and did change on a day-by-day basis.

    However, chopping a top or adding an A/C or going with an unoriginal paint color does offend my sensibility of what owning a vintage car should be all about. That is, if you are trying to make an old car something that it never was, what's the point? Granted, whoever owns a car has the right to do whatever he or she wants. But, I reserve the right to say that the result is a fright pig.

    DrTax
     
  13. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
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    Frank,
    It is not a matter of truth, all you have expressed is questions and opinions. If you want to run the original tires on your 512BB, it's your decision and that's fine, nobody is telling you that you shouldn't.

    Now, as long as we are repeating questions, you haven't answered those presented to you.

    "Why should someone risk the lives of themselves and their probable passenger for the originality of crappy XWX's?"

    "If the XWX's are unavailable, as they are from time to time, are we supposed to stop driving our cars altogether?"

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  14. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
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    Nov 11, 2003
    5,971
    Central NJ
    Just to add my $.02. In my opinion, this is a matter of personal choice.

    My car still has its original paint. I drive it with modern tires. I park it on the street. I buy spark plugs and oil filters at Pepboys - believe it or not, one of the Pepboys oil filter books had a cross reference for 330s.

    I think Ferraris are great cars, I love mine and don't skimp on maintenance (all the major stuff is done by the best - not me), but if I were to run the car with glass packs rather than Ansa's it’s my choice. Don't forget, when these cars were new, Mr. Ferrari would modify them to the customer’s specifications. Also, as most of these machines have been used for a number of years and have been fixed, any changes made can be looked at as the cars history. A restored to stock, new condition, show car can be looked at as pristine or sterile.

    Regarding the argument that modifications will change the driving characteristics of a vintage Ferrari, I agree. The changes will hopefully make the car perform as the current owner desires, not necessarily like an inferior version of a modern car. Modern cars such as M3's are excellent driving machines but they provide a different experience than a vintage Ferrari, modified or not.

    The only thing that cannot be replaced or restored is the original factory finish, which goes away with use. So if you want a totally original vintage car, buy one new and seal it in a climate controlled vault for 30 years. I don't think that Mr. Ferrari would approve.

    Sincerely,

    Art S.
     
  15. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

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    I believe that Jim was mainly referring to race cars. In that case the cars were on a program of constant modification, they usually strayed from originality before the first race. The cars campaigned in competition were "updated" in many ways, fine tuning the power train and suspension throughout the season's schedule.

    When it comes to Ferrari road cars there could be a number of variations within a production year.

    My opinions agree with Tax, that painting a car in a color that was not available, chopping the top to make a NART repop or adding AC is not the correct way to handle a vintage Ferrari.

    But tires? Fuel pumps? Fuel filters?

    Should we not use the cars because we can't find a Fiamm battery?

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  16. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

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    bill365, again, which "statement" of mine is not true. Not question or opinion which I suffice with IMHO, but which "statement" is not true. As far as safety is concerned, why would you now be anymore risking your life with XWXs than the first owner was ? If you don't like so much about the old car and the parts the factory chose to use thereon, why did you buy it ? After all, you could have bought a much better car for a lot less. As to my little Fiat , I use the TRXs because that is all that will fit on the TRX wheels and I like the way they look. I don't drive the car at any where near 10/10th so they work fine for me, although they are a little loud on rough roads. Now if you're talking about a race car, I have no problem to modifications to the n/th degree to get the car to WIN. But, for an old classic that you will track once and a while and go for Sunday drives the rest of the time, come on...keep it as original as possible to help us all remember the past if nothing else.
     
  17. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
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    Frank,
    With your inability to stay on topic and directly answer questions is admirable, adding your apparent pension for impressing your sense of correctness, morality and justice on everybody else, maybe you should run for public office. (8->}

    Quoting - "If you don't like so much about the old car and the parts the factory chose to use thereon, why did you buy it ? After all, you could have bought a much better car for a lot less."

    Frank, Frank, Frank,
    you are truly amazing, the proceeding comments are yours not anyone else's that has posted previously.

    Regarding the TWO statements in the posting that you refer to, you will find my responses below.

    Question #1 - "I agree than one can take an old Ferrari, modify it and make it perform better. But why ?"

    Question #2 - "If you want the best performing car available, why would you buy an old Ferrari anyway ?"

    Opinion #1 - "If you want a track car or a hot street car, get a Porsche, a Viper or a BMW M car."

    Opnion #2 - "The new Lotus would be a great combined track and hot street car too."

    Question #3 - "If you want an old classic car, whether it is a Ferrari or a 57 Chevy, why wouldn't you want to keep it original ?"

    Question #4 - "Why would you spend the money on a Ferrari and then spend more money to make it less than what it was designed to be ?"

    Statement #1 - "You could take a concours 250GTO and put a Viper engine in it and have a much faster car."

    Response - Wildly irrelevent and silly, you are the only poster that has suggested this. In order to achieve this you would have to chop the hell out of the body, hardly on scale with fuel filters and tires, let us attempt to remain on topic.

    Question #5 - "Why not buy a Daytona and drop a small block Chevy engine in it ?"

    Statement #2 - "It would perform better and cost less to maintain."

    Response - Irrelevent and silly, again you are the only poster that has suggested this and not really on scale with fuel filters and tires, once again, let us attempt to remain on topic.

    Question #6 - But, would it really still be a Ferrari ?

    Opinion #3 - Owning an old Ferari is more than owning an ordinary sports car. It is about the sound, the feeling, the Weber carburators and the other oddities that come with Italian engineering.

    Response - Yes Frank, I agree with you on this, but these are things that nobody has suggested they had intentions of changing.

    Opinion #4 - If you just want the looks of a Ferrari, buy a replica with a Honda enegine<sic> and be done with it.

    Response - How in the hell did you extrapolate to this extent, oh, I guess you also can use hyperboly in politics.

    Opinion #4 - I understand that brake pads, spark plugs and other such parts wear out and have to be replaced.. But parts that affect the appearance of a classic car should be replaced with OEM type parts IMHO.

    Tires, batteries, fuel filters, headlight bulbs and on, wear out just like the aforementioned brake pads and spark plugs.

    Frank,
    You are getting tangental, we were talking about a set of tires mounted on a extra set of wheels, how does any of this relate?

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  18. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
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    Pete
    Bill,

    Frank is taking the concept of modifications to theroetical limit. This does make some sense because ... once you have mentally accepted that a particular modification is acceptable, what will be next?

    Now ofcourse you will not necessarily start with a alternator replacement and then end up replacing the engine ... but it is possible over time that you go, hmmm, those bloody Weber carbs are a pain in the a**e and decide to replace them with a 4 barrel one ... and then one day decide that setting the valve clearances are a pain with overhead cams ... and thus drop a Chev in.

    Now that was just a story, but the point my race engine builder used to make is:

    Once you drill a single hole in your car for race preparation you have already mentally made the decision to race modify the car, so why not just go the whole hog!

    He was right when he said this to me, because that first modification is always the hardest and the next one is a lot easier, and heh you have already drilled that hole, etc. ... and not too much longer a full race machine sits in your garage that has bugger all left that is the original car. I've been there and done that.

    BUT before everybody flames me, the modifications discussed above (except for Jims race car hole drilling ... and a current race car is simply a machine, so do whatever is required to win the race! ... but an historic race car is a different kettle of fish completely) are removable ones and thus in your mind you are NOT wanting to modify the car detrimentally away from originality, after all you can put back.

    Thus if you ever find yourself making a simply modification that cannot be put back (although theroetically everything can, ie. you could remake the car) then you are on that path that my race engine builder quoted above ... :)

    I think Frank could have explained this a bit better ... but there are modifications and modifications ...

    Pete
     
  19. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
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    Hi Pete,
    This discussion began, as I have noted, with a topic of tires on a spare set of wheels, Frank at that time went wierd on us. For god's sake tires.....

    The guy wants to drive his car.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  20. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Pete
    Yes tyres ... hardly a modification :).

    I will be putting electronic ignition in my 1750 GTV Alfa which I am restoring to concours condition (and will show it). As long as I can hide the box nobody will ever know and I hate setting points ... :)

    Pete
     
  21. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 F1 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2001
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    I've hidden mine so nobody will ever know the difference! This modification only makes sense.
     
  22. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    Aug 13, 2002
    3,676
    Santa Fe, NM
    billb said

    "There is a fine line between improvement and butchering, and common sense dictates where that lies."

    I'm with him.

    I think you have to decide what you want to do with your car. If you want to be a 100 point car, then stick with the OEM bits at all costs and hope that you make it home (or across the lawn to the trailer that your car came in on) with your headlights and AC running at the same time.

    If your primary mission is to drive your car, then balance whatever personal sense of obligation you have as the caretaker of a vintage Ferrari with your need to have the car perform properly. Based on my experience with my car and the experiences of other owners I know, the main bogeyman for 1960s production Ferraris would be the lack of quality control and engineering in the electrical system of the cars. I made the decision to forego a concours point in exchange for an alternator that will let me drive with more than one electrical accessory operating at a particular moment. I've also modified the terminal blocks so I don't suffer that quaint italian engineering oddity of a fire underneath my dash at the fuse panel . . . .

    The obvious struggle that I believe is the thrust of Bob Z's well-written first post is in achieving the subtle balance I mention above and the "fine line" that billb discussed, and not dropping american iron into a 250GTO.
     
  23. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    As you know I'm in the process of restoring my P4. The original mag uprights are very beautiful but are no longer safe to drive any futher than onto the show field from the trailer which as Ferrari SPA knows is not how I use my cars. They recently recast them for me. They recast them in alum as both of us felt this is safer for how I use my cars.
    That is fact.
    That there are original V12 Dino's made by Ferrari SPA is fact.
    That a Daytona would handle better with a small block chevy is opinion.
    It is also not correct. (wrong)
     
  24. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002
    6,155
    You guys are getting sucked in here..... dont forget that among many things Frank qualifies as, where internet chat boards are concerned "troll" needs to be near the top of the list. Just because Frank posts things that seem whacky does not mean he believes it.... He is just jerking your chain because thats what Frank likes to do.

    My Daytona is getting interior restoration work done. Im having the dash restored with the correct mousehair material, being hand fitted and sewn to concours standards. The seats are being redone with NOS factory leather covers. All the other little interior parts being redone will be 100% correct and perfect. Im replacing the steering wheel with a 100% accurate reproduction of the extremely rare early Daytona wooden wheels. Believe me... a good looking Nardi wood wheel would look just as good for 20% of the cost and to 99% of the people who will see the car they would not know the difference.

    I will also be detailing the engine bay, including repainting all the heat shields with the correct wrinkle finish paint and making sure all the correct factory stickers are in place in the right location.

    So.... I guess I'm an originality freak? Nope.

    My car runs Yokohama AVS intermediates. They give modern levels of grip and work great. The car also have modern brake pads and I run ATE super blue brake fluid. The car also has a built in remote fire suppression HALON system with a trunk mounted bottle and discreet nozzles under the dash and in the engine bay.

    My cars engine was rebuilt some years back, and it was modified using period correct means for more power. It has higher compression pistons, higher lift/duration cams, ported and polished heads, a lightened flywheel, and electronic ignition upgrade with dual MSD boxes. All of this makes it run better with more power than when new. I dont care what kind of car nut you are.... or what vintage car you play with.... there is one rule EVERYONE agrees with: MORE POWER IS ALWAYS BETTER!

    I want my car to look stunning. The cosmetic appearance is very important. That said, the cosmetics still rank secondary to the driving. The cars purpose is to entertain me through the driving enjoyment it provides. I want it to drive the absolute best it can.... while staying true to its original intensions and design. Doing period type upgrades or simple bolt-on performance modifications present no issue to me at all.


    There is a simple and happy medium here I think most people would agree with. As Bill points out.... upgrading your ignition or brakes is not at all related to doing a Chevy engine swap or some other stupid thing.

    Any modification you want to do that does not require cutting, bending or otherwise chopping into the car in such a way that it cannot be easily and relatively quickly restored to original is FAIR GAME. Bolting on an ignition upgrade while storing all the original parts in the basement.... go for it. It can always be put back to stock in an afternoon, so who cares.

    Anyhow.. I'll venture one guess. If Enzo Ferrari were to crawl out of the grave tomorrow.... and read this thread, Im sure he would call us all kinds of not so nice names and laugh at us as whackos as he went in search of a fresh mistress! He certainly didnt care a bit what happened to last years model.


    Terry
     
  25. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    Terry
    Very good post.
    Best
    Jim
     

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