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You meet the nicest people when your vintage Ferrari leaves you stranded...

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Smiles, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
    13,197
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Matt F
    Yesterday I went for a nice Sunday afternoon drive in my 330, with my 2-year-old son strapped firmly into his car seat, facing forward.

    In a world of modern cars with airbags, he usually spends most of his time in the backseats of cars, kind of confined to second-row status, if you know what I mean. In fact, for the first year of his life, he actually was required by law to face backwards while sitting in the back seat. In the Ferrari, however, he sits proud and high, looking straight ahead. He loves that car. He loves the open windows, and the wind in his hair, and the ability to see the road ahead, and all of the other sights there are to see. And he really loves the sound of the engine. I guess he takes after his dad.

    We had been driving for a little over an hour, when the engine stopped. At first I assumed I must have stalled it. We were still coasting along, so I put the transmission in second gear and engaged the clutch. The engine sounded like it was firing on all cylinders, but I couldn't accelerate; in fact, the compression was slowing me down. As soon as I pressed the clutch pedal to the floor, the engine fell silent.

    I tried to restart the car. The familiar started motor would turn over, but the engine wouldn’t catch.

    Uh-oh, I thought. I looked over at my son, who looked tired and hot and actually pretty sleepy. Luckily, we were in a pleasant residential neighbor hood, with a nice flow of traffic, and were safely pulled to the side of the road. I grabbed the one tool that I always take with me, and used it to call my wife. (Next to simple wrenches and screwdrivers, my cutting-edge cell phone is actually worth less than the tools that are in my original Ferrari toolkit. I find that odd, because, to me, it's usually more valuable.)

    I couldn't find the hazard switch on the dash; in fact, I couldn't remember if I even had hazard lights. Oh, well. I opened the trunklid, which stayed propped up on its wonderfully designed support, and also opened the hood (which was typically Ferrari-hot to the touch). I poked around a little, looking for a loose connection, but couldn't find anything.

    My wife showed up about fifteen minutes later. She found me sitting on a nearby lawn, chatting with another couple, a young graduate student and his wife. They had come over to talk about cars in general, and Ferraris in particular. They were wonderful, kind people.

    My wife had missed the people that I had already met, like the guy on his Harley Sportster, or the guy in his M5, or any of the other nuts who either slowed or stopped to see if there was anything that they could do for me. Everyone was very nice, nicer, I believe, than they would have been had I been stranded in a more attractive, modern Ferrari.

    Come to think of it, I did get a lot less sympathy when my father's 308 overheated. I was trying to figure out the symptoms of the Ferrari as other cars passed by. Rather than slowing down, people were actually speeding up. "You may have a Ferrari," they seemed to be saying, "But we're traveling faster than you are!" Sometimes this message was punctuated with a middle-finger-salute. Not so with the 330 2+2.

    Surprisingly, even though I was obviously stranded, not one Pittsburgh Police car stopped to check on me, although three separate ones passed me. Perhaps they just assumed that I was in good hands with the friends that I was accumulating. Then again, maybe the Ferrari made the cops a little less sympathetic. I'm not sure.

    When I got the car home, I measured 11.90 volts across the battery. As I said, the started motor turned fine. I didn't think to try the electric fuel pump, partly because the problem seemed ignition-based. Which may be good and bad; if both distributors aren't getting any spark, it sounds like a more simple connection, rather than a faulty expensive part. Otherwise, I figure, I would have been running on six cylinders, right?

    Tonight, when I have more time, I'll look at my wiring diagram, and try to see where I have power, and where I don't. But I'm a really poor electrician. If you guys could point me in the right direction, with any extra hints of what to look for, I'd really appreciate it.

    Next Sunday is Father's Day, and I'd like to take my son out for another drive, and see who we meet.

    Thanks in advance,

    --Matt
     
  2. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    great story!
     
  3. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    I've noticed that too; about the universally positive reaction on a vintage car. In fact, it was the most striking thing to me when I first got the car. None of the jealousy or derision that more modern sports cars seem to garner.

    Good luck with the trouble shooting. I'll bet fuel delivery rather than electric, but only because the last time I was stranded myself it was a clogged fuel line.

    Ken
     
  4. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    Vapor lock, perhaps? I have to be careful in 85F+ temps to let the engine get running smoothly after getting up to operating temp, then parking and starting up again. I've had a couple of instances where I didn't do this and my 330 stalled after getting underway. You just have to let it sit for a half hour or so to cool down well and then crank up again--no harm done.

    My story in regard to vapor lock, stalling, and the kindness of strangers:

    My 330 stalled on a hot day in April '04, crossing Preston Road 1/4 mile North of Park in Plano, Texas, during the 5PM rush hour. This is not a good situation to be in. A four lane wide wall of maniacs in huge $UV'$ was bearing down on me from both North and South at 50+ mph, others turning around me going East and West and spitting curses as they did so. I'm thinking, "I'm fuccked!" Then, a shabby early 80's Olds with six Mexicans inside stopped, three guys got out of the back and without a word pushed me out of the intersection into the Walmart parking lot across the street. One of them said "hey, cool car, man!", I thanked him and they jumped in the Olds and drove off before I even had time to offer to buy them a tank of gas. Makes me think twice about badmouthing illegals -- they were the only folks who stopped to help me out! The rest looked like they would have just as soon killed me and rammed my car off into a ditch.

    Anyway, I locked the 330 up, went in Walmart and called my wife, got a few things, and an hour after the incident it was 15F cooler outside and the car started up fine and I had a pleasant cross-town ride home.
     
  5. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    Aug 13, 2002
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    I could be wrong, but won't turning on the electric fuel pump - autoflux - cure vapor lock?
     
  6. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
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    I think I mentioned that I forget to try using it.
    Some people, I understand, run with it on all the time.
     
  7. wilkie

    wilkie Karting

    Apr 15, 2005
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    Wilkie Cheong
    I also had this happen to me several times in my 330GTC. Couldn't figure out if it was the fuel pump, vapor lock, or what. Definitely not an ignition problem. However, I did figure out that if I took off the air filter, and poured some gas down the carb throats, the car would restart. It was a real PITA.
     
  8. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    I was so panicked that I forgot to turn it on.
     
  9. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    I'm a little relieved at the prospect that my problem was simple vapor lock.
    It really should have been the first thing to think of. And I didn't even consider it.
    Thanks, for the help, guys.
     
  10. sjvalin

    sjvalin Formula Junior

    Aug 31, 2004
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    If the car all of a sudden died, then it sounds like ignition. If it slowly died, sort of intermittent power, then perhaps the fuel pump. Definitely turn on the electric pump and see if it starts up. If not, check for spark - pull off a plug wire, stick a philips screwdriver in it, and holding the plastic handle bring the metal part of the screwdriver near something grounded, like a bolt on the engine, while your wife cranks the car over.

    You are correct about having two independent ignition systems, but they are probably fed from the same fuse. That should greatly narrow down where the problem lies. Good luck - wish I could be there to help you out. I've always been pretty good at troubleshooting electrical stuff... :)

    Cool story, too!

    -steve
     
  11. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
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    Nov 11, 2003
    5,971
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    Matt,

    Neat story.

    This has happened to me several times with the same symptoms, always on hot days when I forgot to turn on the electric fuel pump. I now keep it on always during warm weather.

    Good luck. I hope that was the only problem. By the way, did you end up driving it home or were you flatbedded home?

    Regards,

    Art S.
     
  12. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
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    Nov 11, 2003
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    PS: I agree on the fewer rude comments and more nice people with the old car. Somehow, the old cars are not considered status symbols by the masses.
     
  13. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Great story, wish I could help but I'm not such a great electrician myself.
     
  14. Miura Jota

    Miura Jota F1 Rookie

    May 26, 2004
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    Very interesting how different reactions , different cars get
     
  15. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Vapor lock it was!

    I just got home, and the car started right up.

    (Man, was that inexpensive!)
     
  16. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
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    Nov 11, 2003
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    Congratulations Matt!

    Welcome to the weird world of vintage Ferrari eccentricities.

    Regards,

    Art S.
     
  17. lukek

    lukek Formula 3

    May 2, 2003
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    i often get vapor lock. it can be made worse by an old fuel pump with bad seals and crappy diaphram. You can buy a rebuild kit for the fuel pump, and there is one vendor who takes into accouint the reformulated gas.

    thx
    luke
     
  18. mawu

    mawu Karting

    Jun 11, 2004
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    Munich, Germany
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    Martin
    I also had the same good experiences with my E-Type. People stop and want to help you, if you seem to have a problem. Everybody looks happy and seems to enjoy the car, although it looks and sounds surely aggressive... :)

    But it is the same thing with Schumacher and Barrichello. The F1 drivers weren't happy anymore for Schumacher to win, they didn't like him, he was/is the biggest rival and strongest driver so people hate him. But when Rubinio won Hockenheim some years ago, everybody was so happy because Rubinio is such a nice guy, etc. For sure, because he is not a strong driver and no rival...

    Thats why people envy Ferrari so much, they are status symbols and known to be extremely fast cars. Old cars can just be overtaken, they are not "dangerous", so they are "good".

    Regards, Martin
     
  19. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    Martin, I regularly get pointedly blown off at stoplights by hotrod ricers and stock Nissan Altimas, etc. The drivers look over at my 330 and then let it rip, even though I don't even glance their way.
     
  20. mawu

    mawu Karting

    Jun 11, 2004
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    Hi Scott,

    fascinating, but sometimes it happens to me (in the Jaguar) with younger guys in cars like VW GTI or so. The really fast ones probably know they are faster anyway, the other ones want to know if they are... (and mostly they are indeed... ;-)

    But in general I have the impression, people seem much less aggressive. And don't forget: I am not so sure if most people identify the 330 as a Ferrari at once. Even with the iconic E-Type people ask me pretty often, what kind of car it is (ok, they too ask if our twins are boys or girls, although they are dressed in pink skirts an sitting in a pink trolly...)

    Regards, Martin
     
  21. John Corbani

    John Corbani Formula 3
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    May 5, 2005
    1,153
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    John Corbani
    I have used a Dino 246GT as my daily driver for 19+years. Its a fantastic road car. I have been embarassed at stop lights (most of them deliberately , Bigger Engines DO rule) for years. Forget getting off the line, the best story is the following:

    I ran out of gas in front of our City Hall and a top official driving by said "need help?" I said yes and I said I have a tow rope. It was 1" Nylon by 15 feet and I could tie a Bowline. We hooked up. She towed me to a gas station and now has a story she tells any time cars come up. She starts out: "Once I towed this Ferrari..." There is nothing wrong with thoroughly enjoying a car designed for fun. Little kids (and public officials, on occasion) agree! Whatever the reason!
     
  22. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    A few evenings ago a guy maybe 30 yrs. old and his girlfriend pulled up next to me in a nice SUV, the guy yelled out "hey, that's a really cool car..what is it?". I replied "a 1964 Ferrari". He replied "Oh, I thought it was a DATSUN", but not in an insulting manner...he seemed awestruck when I said Ferrari. The car my 330 has been mistaken for most is an Aston Martin, and I've had people ask "isn't that the same make of car James Bond drove, whatever that was?"

    Did you see the post on Tom Yang's board regarding the number of 330 GT's known to exist? 41 in Germany. If you end up buying one of these, Martin, you will need to be prepared for anything in the way of questions and comments.
     
  23. mawu

    mawu Karting

    Jun 11, 2004
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    Munich, Germany
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    Martin
    That sounds good! Actually it still will take a little while, I plan next year earliest or the year after that. Partly because I "just" got the Jag, partly because my twin doughters are only 6 months old and are one of the reasons I am looking for a 2+2.

    On the other hand: yesterday I drove the Jaguar for the first time again since al least 4 weeks! It started up pretty bad but ran like a kitty 10 minutes later. I think the shop has to change something at the carbs for better cold start AND I think I have to drive more often... do you have the same "problems"??? :)

    BTW Scott: I was actually driving a DB7 for some years and the questions were similar stupid (although it was a modern car). I like Aston Martin pretty much and my shop offers an untouched silver/red DB2 MkIII of marvellous patina for pretty expensive 65'EUR. And can you imagine all the repairs to come???

    Best regards, Martin
     
  24. Pils1989

    Pils1989 Guest

    A DB 2/4 Mk III might be for sale soon on the AMOC website.
     

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