Heading up to Wisconsin for the vintage car weekend, I was worried with a loud ticking from the engine. The local mechanic (Gianni) pulled the valve cover and checked the valve clearances - which should be done on a cold engine. This one was hot, so it not quite proper, but we found two loose rocker arms, and were able to get them back to the specifications shown by the other valves. (On an average, seems the valve lash was about .05mm tighter than when cold, but that is just a guess).
Here is a shot of the rocker arms and the pillow boxes that hold them. You can see the pushrods up top in pairs, coming from the cam in the valley of the "V". Then the clever rocker arms, in pillow boxes that are angled, so that the intake valve is rotated about 45 degrees closer to the intake, and the exhaust valves are on the bottom, close to the exhaust manifold. This way of rotating the valves was De Virgilio's clever improvement, first implemented in 1952 on the second series B20, and then used for all subsequent B20 and B24 engines. This car has the two single Webers as standard (the one for this bank is visible) and a special tubular exhaust.
Massimo Fila Robbatino sent two interesting items: first is a marked up early Aurelia brochure. Both weights (in kg) and costs (in lira and dollars) are noted for the different models. Good fun.
Max also sent in a video of his B20 running around the Peloponnese in Greece. The B20 was running well and being used as a modern car. And the roads - without traffic - looked great.....Thanks!
Took the B20 up to Elkhart Lake for the day last weekend. 350 miles, no problems. Was photographing a nice red car when found next to me an older race car driver - Mario Andretti! Clearly a very nice guy.... Good fun.
On May 19, two fervent Lancistas, Fabrizio Granaroli and Paolo Battistelli, organized a conference on the Lancia V4 in Sangemini, Italy, a small midieval town in the mountains outside Rome. Several people spoke, including Luigi De Virgilio, Gianni Tonti, Fabrizio and myself (via skype).
Luigi spoke on some of the more unusual V4 engines designed by his father, Tonti on the racing developments of the Fulvia, Fabrizio on some balancing and engineering issues. I spoke on the history and development of the V4, in particular the design of the heads (intake passages), the blocks and the crankshafts.
The conference was well attended, with about 100 people in the audience. Several interesting Lancias were outside (including a Lambda), amid a festival celebration. A video of the talks is at www.SaveLancia.it, or youtu.be/P7z6NlPdhRQ
For those seeking a more in-depth understanding of the suspensions, there is now John Cundy's recent writeup on Lancias and handling. It was published in Viva Lancia, the magazine of the EnglishLancia Motor Club (England), and is an articulate explanation of the sliding pillar and IRS in both the Aprilia and Aurelia. It places these developments in historical context, and includes explanations of Olley, a famous supension designer at Rolls Royce and GM, and his understanding of the Lancia design. Also included is information from Rolls Royce's inspection of the Lambda, a little known fact from 1926. Read it here, found at the bottom of the page: Articles
Recently I was able to visit Nigel Trow, a long-time Lancia friend and historian in Wales. He convened a lunch of several friends, whom I call the "West of England/Wales Lancia Brain Trust" including John Cundy, Ron Francis, Paul Mayo, Roland Grazebrook and spouses, among others. Also finally met John Baker, the former owner of an s.2 B20 - we had been in touch many years ago, so it was good to see him in person.
It was rare to see everyone together - but having only known these folks for some 10-15 years, my experiences were decidedly junior to the rest of the table. Nigel and Roland have known each other since the mid-1960s, more than 50 years. The amount of Lancia knowledge at the table was daunting, rivaling other Lancia meetings in Italy.
The next day, Nigel and I drove up to see Ron Francis, who Nigel has said is "a Welsh farmer who grows Lancias", with parts tucked away here and there; the following day we went to see Roland Grazebrook, to learn about Thetas, massive bronze carburetors, and the intricacies of the early cars. All good fun.
New page on color information added under Reference, with paint codes from Max Meyer, Glasurit and Lechler. Not for the faint of heart. Its a confusing subject!
Sent by Massimo Fila, this period video shows several Aprilias on a long rally, ending up in a ski resort outside of Torino. Other rally cars include a Porsche, several Alfa Romeos and Fiats. Toward the end is some great footage of an Aurelia berlina bouncing along some rough roads, and a Lancista admiring the views. Great context footage of the roads and cities in 1950s Italy, thanks to Centro Storico Fiat.
Took the B20 in for a few things. Exhaust gasket had let go, luckily had a spare, easy fix. brake adjustment, seems like it always wants this. A few cables to be tightened.
Most interesting was adjusting the rear shock absorbers. Thanks to William Corke's posting on the LMC site, we were able to find how to adjust the shocks. He showed where the little adjustment tab was on the shocks, under a little cover, and settings varied from fully closed to two turns open.
We tried one turn as a middle setting, and it was way too soft, so in the end, we settled for just 1/4 turn open on both sides (one had been fully closed, the other a bit open). The change was lovely - the car is back to its comfortable, but informed, ride and no more jarring over rough bumps.
Key to this is also setting the tire pressures. Too often people think firmer is better, and set them at 30psi. The real setting is 25psi, and the sidewalls at this setting provide part of ride comfort. Its important to those of us who live in cities, with our less-than-perfect roads. Set right, the ride is just right. One can always firm things up for the high speed runs on smooth country roads.
All good for now!
More from Massimo Fila, long-time Aurelia owner who helped with Enzo Russo's “Piloti Biellesi. Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli”. He writes: "This was a present from Lamberto Grolla to me, with his personal dedication “A Massimo, riesumatore di Aurelia - MM 1951". He was a friend of mine and my family. We all belong to the city of Biella." He also sent this image of Bracco's s.1 B20 1006, getting loaded on an airplane to the Carerra Panamerica. Notice the lowered roof.... Nice!
And then Massimo driving his B12 in the 1982 Targa Florio: