Buying an Older Ferrari - Part 10 - The Repairs

By: Chris Kantarjiev

It?s been several months since we last took our 330GT out and let her rip, because last time we did, we found ourselves co-located with a Volvo. So right now we?re going through the insurance and bodywork nightmare.

Which actually hasn?t been too bad. The shop seems more than competent, and did a very careful estimate (six pages of items!). The final number made me gulp, but the insurance company accepted it without any hassle. We even think we?ve located all the parts. Now they just have to show up and the work needs to get done .

When we visited in May, she?d been sprayed with primer and they were blocking it and doing final panel alignment. The suspension isn?t back on yet; it had been taken off to magnaflux. We?re getting close.

Apparently four parts have not yet been located. Our 330 was still at the body shop (coming along nicely, but slowly - got the new fender fitted last week), so we took the turbo FIAT spider for the Pacific Region FCA run to Yosemite. We get a lot of ribbing when we take this on an FCA run (the friendliest is from the guy who calls it a 275 GTS wannabe, which isn?t far off), but it does just fine. All the conveniences work, which was a good thing for this trip - there was a lot of rain and even snow as we crossed entered the park and drove down to the valley. I enjoyed seeing the Testarossas, in particular, driving in the snowy scene.

We approved paint color in mid-summer and had hopes that she?d be ready to drive to the Historics. It was not to be. The paint had been sprayed in time, but the doors and glass didn?t get installed in time. Also, the rear parcel shelf had been damaged while taking the rear window out and had to be replaced.

The hardest part to find was the headlight ring - despite trying three different sets, none was right - each revealed a little too much paint. The final solution was to take one, cut it, weld in a section to make it the right size and chrome it.

The hardest *task* was getting the chrome right. It went back to the platers three times - finally the fourth round came back without pits and blemishes. Now that it?s back, it?s gorgeous, though it took the three winter months to get to that point.

She didn?t make it home for Christmas, the one year anniversary passed without comment (we were busy moving into a new house - we laughed when, shortly after the accident, someone in the club said ?Jeez, you touch anything on a Ferrari and it takes a year?). She didn?t make it home for my birthday (April 7). Damn close - the newly polished grille and repainted wheels match up in quality with the paint job. I can see that we?re going to have to do some leather work and detail the engine compartment. There are just a few things left ... we *could* have driven her home, but after waiting this long (and spending this much money) I want everything just so. It sure was wonderful to sit in the driver?s seat and start her up - that will have to do as a birthday present, I guess.

About the author: Chris Kantarjiev is the proprietor of the Dimebank Garage, a small operation that specializes in British sports and racing cars. He and his girlfriend, Pat Caruthers, are on a mission to assemble the ideal ?car wardrobe? - a set of cars that includes the right car for every purpose. When not driving or working on one of the cars, they?re most likely standing on a racetrack corner as SCCA flaggers.

(By day, they are both software engineers in Silicon Valley. Visit the virtual Dimebank Garage at http://triumph.cs.utah.edu/cak/Dimebank.html)