Octane - - PASSED IT! -

I READ with in­ter­est the article in Oc­tane 149 about the ‘barn find’ Bail­lon Fer­rari SWB Cal­i­for­nia Spi­der, writ­ten by my good friend and for­mer Peb­ble Beach judge, Win­ston Good­fel­low. I also en­joyed Kevin McCloud’s remarks in Oc­tane 152, along with your read­ers’ com­ments on the Good­fel­low piece.

In the light of all this, I thought it was time I threw my two cents’ worth into the pot, be­cause I was one of three peo­ple who judged the Fer­rari Preser­va­tion Class at Peb­ble Beach last Au­gust, in which the Bail­lon Fer­rari was pre­sented. In fact, I was chief judge for that class.

In my opin­ion, this car needs to be re­stored. This is not easy for me to say, be­cause I am a strong be­liever in re­tain­ing orig­i­nal­ity when­ever pos­si­ble. How­ever, the Bail­lon Fer­rari does not qual­ify for re­ten­tion as an orig­i­nal ve­hi­cle. Here’s why.

While the car re­tains its orig­i­nal body, en­gine, gear­box and dif­fer­en­tial, over the past 40 years it has not been pre­served. In­stead, it was aban­doned and le( to de­te­ri­o­rate out­doors. In ad­di­tion, there are many non-orig­i­nal items on the car. It has non-orig­i­nal bumpers, and its over­rid­ers are miss­ing; the so( top is not orig­i­nal; the am­ber front blinker lights and rear num­ber­plate lights are not orig­i­nal; the front driv­ing lights are wrong; and the door win­dows are Plex­i­glass, not glass. In­side, the seats are up­hol­stered in black vinyl, not leather.

Over­all, there are numer­ous small and not-so-small im­per­fec­tions and in­cor­rect re­place­ments – ev­ery­thing from screw heads to the gearshi( knob – and the gen­eral con­di­tion of the car is quite poor, hav­ing suf­fered years of ne­glect. Note the large dent in the trunk lid.

Our con­sid­ered opin­ion, a(er judg­ing the car in Cal­i­for­nia, is that it is not a preser­va­tion ve­hi­cle and cries out for restora­tion. ALAN C BOE GE­OR­GIA, USA of th­ese cars and their brisk per­for­mance. To­day I own an un­re­stored Fiat Abarth 130TC, which is so much fun to drive thanks to its Abarth-tweaked front sus­pen­sion, su­perb 2.0-litre Lam­predi en­gine with twin car­bu­ret­tors, and ZF close-ra­tio gear­box. The rest of the car is, as you de­scribed in your article, fri­able.

What has hap­pened to Ital­ian car man­u­fac­tur­ers since the ’60s? My 1969 Alfa Romeo 1300GT Ju­nior [pic­tured be­low le(] is un­re­stored, looks like a piece of art and drives as smooth as vel­vet. No squeaks, no rat­tles, and per­fectly bal­anced.

I hope Mr Mar­chione drove both of th­ese cars be­fore start­ing to de­velop his new range of Fi­ats and Alfa Romeos – he should com­bine the qual­ity of the Alfa and the driv­ing fun of the Abarth! EMILE VAN DE LOO THE NETHER­LANDS

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