My F12 ambulance project in Finland
I wrote a long topic about our van but for some reason I lost it from the AlfaBB site, so I shall start another here.
I am not sure if this particular ambulance ever had the hub caps as it is very original and the wheels are painted perfectly matching with the center hubs, I should have a look for my archives. I have some original books and a press kit for F12.
The story goes so that, my father worked in Trieste as an engineer at the Grandi Motori factory when it was bought by the Finnish Wärtsilä NSD motor company. In the old times, Grandi Motori was a state and FIAT owned company with over 5.000 workers at the massive plant, so they were expected to have their own ambulance by the Italian legislation.
So, in 1971, an Alfa-Romeo F12 was delivered with the 1290 cc petrol engine. According to my father's co-workers, the ambulance was ever only used for transporting mail and luggage between city and the plant area and when we found it sitting at the back of the vast, emptied parking lot, it had been driven only 60.000 km. We have had 1750 and 2000 Berlinas since the day I was born in 1979, so obviously we were very keen to purchase the van, which was already rather neglected, even if it still was registered for the road.
Problem was, as a "foreigner", my father's offers were put down as the company still acted as if it was part of the Italian state, with very mafioso and bureaucratic way of handling things. Finally, at the final day of his half months stay in Italy, the keys for the Alfa were left on his desk as a present. He drove it full of our luggage through the Alps with bad brakes and German country roads with stuck front shocks to the harbor and finally came home with the siren yelling, for my great surprise.
Luckily he had managed to create a very Italian a plot, where a local car dealer bought and officially scrapped the van, so that when we sent the old black register plates to the shop, the seller promised to send us a receipt for the car, which was needed in order to declare it through the harbour Customs Office in Finland. It all went well, until it took over three years to reach the worker who agreed to the deal again, as he had resigned from his job and moved to another city!
Soon after, the Alfa was found to be in very decent condition, and with some basic service, we were driving with it for a couple of summers. Then, I made a mistake to start repairing it's rear sills and a large hole which was found under a Grandi Motori sticker at the driver's door, when at the same time I had recently started my university studies and fell in too many other projects.
Technically, it is in very good shape and drives well, all though I remember that we suspected to leak a bit of coolant. I have new seals for the engine, new brake pads and some suspension parts for it, so I really have high hopes to get it inspected (MOT) for next summer.
Along with the huge siren under the front floor, it still has the emergency light on the roof, a sink, hospital bed rails and two folding seats at the back. I also have nice vintage ambulance crew clothing, some equipment and light stretchers for it.
A couple years ago I woke up the sleeping beauty and drove it to our new garage, where I will finally repair it back on the road with a fainted, if a little patched original paint work. I have no intentions to restore this car as new, the body seem to have many small rust issues everywhere and a lot of factory applied filler in it's side. It is much more fun just the way it is. Besides, there is now one army green 1968 example of a F12 ambulance in very beautiful condition already in Finland, which as well was recently imported from Italy. Also, a fellow enthusiast of mine suspected that he has seen a third ambulance on a trailer passing him at the high way some year ago, but I have not been able to trace that car yet.
Originally, there was only one F12 in the late sixties in Finland, which was loaned from Autodelta I believe, as a service car for the importer's Suomen Koneliike GTA team. Sadly, it seems that it was returned to Italy and remains here only in some paddock photographs.
I shall take some new pictures of our van as soon as I will get it parked in my new garage.
Fiat 501S, Siata 1500CTS, 1600SS, 1300TI, 1750 Berlina, F12, 3x2000 Berlina, 2x1600 Super, 2x1600GTJunior, Alfetta 1.8, 127, 128, 156 2.0JTS