It’s dezag-vu again

Classic Cars (UK) - - Our Cars -

1972 Lan­cia Ful­via Sport Za­gato Owned by Ross Alkureishi (rossalkureishi@ya­hoo.com) Time owned 4.5 years Miles this month 32 (by trailer) Costs this month £0 Pre­vi­ously Ready­ing for Le Mans Clas­sic (2016!)

The ru­mours of the Za­gato’s demise have been greatly ex­ag­ger­ated. OK, the last time it was seen dark­en­ing th­ese pages was back in 2016 be­ing prepped for that year’s Le Mans Clas­sic. Much to my cha­grin I ended up go­ing with Char­lie Magee in his early two-door Range Rover. The Zag stayed in my garage.

Since then much love has been fur­nished on the Re­nault 5 Turbo I run with fel­low old metal fa­natic Richard Head; all the while my quirky Ital­ian gath­ered dust, set­tled into its role as a cu­rios­ity. Well, no more. It’s time to get crack­ing.

The un­der­side of the body re­quires the re­moval of some sur­face rust, and the off­side sub­frame/body mount­ing point is look­ing a bit crusty. Hav­ing re-lo­cated north(ish) since my last up­date, I need to find a lo­cal body­work spe­cial­ist to carry out the work.

I turned to am­a­teur wheel­man, Damon Milnes. I’ve known him for many years through Cheshire Clas­sic Cars. His re­sponse was, ‘Give me a cou­ple of weeks. I may be able to help.’ It tran­spired that what he meant was to give me the op­por­tu­nity to work on my Za­gato at the Knutsford premises of his new em­ployer Trevor Far­ring­ton (trevor­far­ring­ton.co.uk).

Yes, you read that right; I’ll be over­com­ing my me­tal­work ret­i­cence, but it’ll be with the gents at restora­tion and race-car prep spe­cial­ist TF on hand to men­tor and guide me through the process. Al­ready they’ve wel­comed me like a brother from another panel-beat­ing mother, lent me a trailer to get the Zag in situ and as­sisted as I sep­a­rated the sub­frame from the body.

Wield­ing a scraper and wire brush to get the un­der­seal off has re­vealed an en­gine bay that’s pleas­antly solid, with just a smat­ter­ing of sur­face rust. Like­wise, re­mov­ing the in­te­rior trim from the sills has re­vealed a sim­i­lar state of af­fairs. How­ever, it’s the in­ner whee­larch that can hide a mul­ti­tude of sins, and there’s only one way to check – it sounds dras­tic, but it’s time to cut off the lower front wings.

Edi­tor Bell sug­gested I’d made a rudi­men­tary er­ror in 2016 by com­mit­ting to a date. If I’d sim­ply stated the Zag was be­ing read­ied for Le Mans, I may have got away with miss­ing that par­tic­u­lar it­er­a­tion. I wouldn’t dream of re­sort­ing to such du­plic­i­tous means. See you at Le Mans.

Ross sep­a­rates Za­gato sub­frame from body with a lit­tle help from his new best friends

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