Hi folks! Forgive me if I summarise a bit but I've already started a build thread on retro rides and FIAT CC. If I miss anything out feel free to ask.
It all started in May 2012. I had been looking for a 'Project' one that I could get through an MOT without anything major and I could use as a daily driver as I restored and improved it.
I have always worked with Japanese car makes and was leaning towards cars from them. A late seventies Datsun or Toyota, something cool but reliable and easy to fix.
This all went out the window when I spotted my FIAT on ebay. It hadnt been on the road in 4 years but it didnt need much for its MOT and the previous owner had begun preparing it for a respray.
X1/9s were a bit before my time so a quick look on wickedpedia and Practical classics price guide, the optimist in me told me this car could be a bit of a bargain. The boy racer in me told me of the pop up lights, excellent seats-to-tailpipes ratio, rear wheel drive. The mechanic in me pointed out the relatively good spares availability, old enough not to have an ECU, body control module, ABS, airbags or cat.
Ignoring the nagging pesimist at the back of my head and the wife I bought it! My wife and I arrived in Rosyth at the owners house. My first impressions were 'Right, it all seems to be there, just get it home.' My wifes impression was 'What the ***k is that? Thats not going to make it to the end of the road! Should we just turn around and say we bought something else?'
After an hour of looking for and fitting points, condenser and cable tieing the wiper linkage back on it was ready for the road!
Did it all go incident free?
Brakes and steering were working, as was the engine and gearbox. The guages all seemed to work and lit up with a faint glow. Ideal!
However. Rosyth is close to the Forth road bridge. I had planned the route to stay on Motorways and major A roads to avoid taking up the local Gendarmerie's time. About half way across the bridge the bonnet badge decided to make a bid for freedom and jumped off, cracking the windscreen as it left! My inner pesimist in me got a touch louder!
On the M77 across the bleak Fenwick moor, the last section of motorway, the home stretch things took a turn for the worse. I had been driving along with the headlights on but the light drizzle was getting heavier. On went the wipers. After a few minutes I started to notice visibility decreasing. It was not long before I realised I was being given the choice between windscreen wipers and headlights. I slowed down and slipped it into 4th gear to keep the revs up. Turned off all non essential electrical stuff and crossed my fingers. That was enough to make it back!
So, how bad was it? MOT wide it needed a small amount of welding. Passenger outer sill and footwells. Nothing major.
Wipers and washers needed proper fitment, lights all worked when stationary but not so well on the move. Rear shock absorber leaking, all tyres just above the legal limit, front pads worn, drivers rear brake sticking, windscreen massive crack within drivers view.
I chose to start with the electrics. So out went the interior...
Fusebox tray was doubling as some sort of small pond!
I had read up on the 'Brown wire mod' where a live from the battery is connected to the back of the ignition switch. I also wanted to replace the fusebox and relays with modern ones, replace the 'Earth trees' and fit a larger output alternator.
So! I replaced the fusebox with a Micro fuse set up and the relays with modern Micro fuses. Its a pretty straightforward, if a little fidly job.
Next, rather than run a live from the battery through the fragile ignition switch I replaced the wire completely with a higher load one...
...like so. Instead of connecting this to the fusebox or rear of the ignition switch I ran it to one of these...
...a 'busbar'! Far tidier than loads of extra wires. From this I ran a live to a large relay, a 70amp one and connected it up so the ignition switch triggers it to supply voltage into my ignition live circuits. This takes a load off the ignition switch and will hopefully make it last longer. Heres the relay...
Its the wrong connectors in the pic but I wanted to make sure it would work first!