Car of the Month August 2010

  Submitted by William Ancell



I'm a new Scottish member driving a Metallic Mid Blue 1981 1500, ULA 361W, with Brown carpet and cream pleather/cloth seats.

Her name is Ursula, given the registration plate.


She's been mine for three years. I joined a while back and then let my membership lapse while she was garaged for two and a half years. She is now back on the road, sailed through MOT with one advisory on the brakes which I hope to fix this weekend.

I've decided to make the car my own and not go for a stock restoration (can't afford a respray and couldn't find the original Fiat badges!)

So she's badged up as a Bertone but have Fiat bits here and there too and that suits me fine, I like the fact that it is a bit different. It confuses the life out of everyone who hasn't seen one! I've also created my own boot mats out of nice thick rubber and resprayed the front boot with (almost, damn close) matching paint from Autopaint St Helens.

I live in Edinburgh and the car has been getting a lot of attention. An older couple pulled up next to me at a roundabout the other day and were jumping up and down in their seats, peeping their horn and giving me the thumbs up. Maybe they just thought I'm awesome, but I think it was the car.

We had no problem at all getting it back on the road really. The main issues were silly things - like reattaching the motor to the window washer reservoir (gave up after persistent leaking and just bought replacement tank and motor) and changing the speedo cable (now I have done this I will do the next one in a third of the time!).

I got under the car and wire brushed the whole underside, then attacked it with Hammerite paint. Hammerite owe me a t-shirt. I went through so much of that stuff, but the car looks brilliant underneath and ain't gonna rust in a hurry (he said, hopefully). Did some hole patching and touching up - the car is far from perfect but not bad for someone on a tight budget.

The engine started fine, first time we tried with fresh oil, filters and sparkplugs. This after two years stationary and a gallon in the tank. The girl was obviously happy we'd given her a makeover and was dying to get out there.

I called Tiff the other day to ask a question about the engine revving high when idling and he was very helpful in explaining how to remedy it - for the record Tiff, your method works 95% of the time, ace fix! Sometimes it just refuses and needs to be done again.

Also fitted new timing belt the other day - paid a guy £60 to do it, and he did a grand job. He removed the lower cover from the belt as he said oil was dripping on to it. I'll need to see if that leak can be located.