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Are the wheels 400mm or 16"?
 

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I am certain I've read somewhere that 1900's could be had with 16" as an option. Wonder where I saw that? Oh well.
 

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I am certain I've read somewhere that 1900's could be had with 16" as an option. Wonder where I saw that? Oh well.
Yes you are right Don; the 1900's came with either 400 mm wheels or 16" x 4" wheels. I had a set of steel rim 16" wire wheels years ago and traded them some 400 mm Aluminum rim Borranis. Andro's car probably originally came with the 165 X 400's (actually the tire size).

Mark
 

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Pinanfarina 1900 coupe with 16" wire wheels.

A soldier going off to Korea left his 1900 Pinanfarina Coupe under a huge cedar tree when he went off to war. He never returned, and years later when a tow company was called by his folks it had "bellied" into the bark under the tree to the point where one could barely see the wheels at all. The tow company was a client and the owner knew I was into Alfa Romeo car, so he brought it to me. Every piece was still there, but only the aluminum seemed to be holding things together. The glove compartment had been left open and there was a beautiful bird's nest inside. The soldier had carefully weatherproofed the engine. It would still turn over. But I knew it would beyond any of my skills to get it going again. Besides, it's shape just did not appeal to me.

What I had hoped to get from it was a set of wire wheels for my two liter. They were beautiful alloy and the spare still had the tire on it. I discovered that although the tire size was 600x16 the wheels would not go over my brake drums on my two liter. It seems the Pinanfarina coupe had smaller drums. Frustrating. So, my comment is that just because the tires were 16 the wire wheels might not still fit a two liter or a 2600. At least those alloy rimmed wheels did not.

A fellow in Houston heard of the car and called me. He told me he had a set of regular wire wheels for a 1900 that used 165x400, and he would use them as part trade for it. He actually drove his pickup with a trailer all the way to Seattle and after he picked up the car drove first to Vancouver before returning to Houston. He later went to Arabia as an oil worker and disappeared. He once had a two sprint in his hands too, but someone had removed the engine and transmission to put into a 1900 Css sprint (3 window) He offered that car without the engine to me, but I had no way to get it and worried about the enigne, etc. Now it is owned by Bob Kabine in Katy, Texas, and now that I have mine I know the engine and transmission is identical to the spider. Incidentally, I later saw a car like the pinanfirina coupe at the Pebble Beach Concourse. Don't know who owned it, but I always wondered if it was the same car. I still have some photos of how it was found (and the bird next in the blove compartment.

But I was able to fit the 1900 wire wheels brought me to my car. I actually had the two litre front axles turned down to fit the 1900 bearings and front hubs. One of the best trades I ever made! Wish, however, he had told me about the two liter sprint. I would have had him bring it. I would have had one already in 1977 instead of having to look until 2010.

Oh, yes, I also later was able to find the 1900 with the two liter sprint engine. It was sold not so long ago. Beautiful and white.

Which brings me to a new topic. I am now looking for a 1308 (not a 1306) 1900 engine. No, it is not for that 1900, but for another that is now fitted with the wrong engine. Anybody have one? Have a 1306 (in fact two of them) for trade.
 

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Hi Andy,

did you buy NEW Borrani's or did a rebuilt of your old wheels ?

Another Question :

Do the 1900CSS ( tipo '56-'58 ) have original steel rims or alu rims ?

rgds Franco
 

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Jay,

Just to add to the loop you painted above...

The fellow that you got the wheels from is named John Thorne. Sue Stem, the wife of a couple that I met back in about 1972 and who owned a 102 Roadster at the time, will be stopping by to visit tomorrow. They have long been retired to Thailand, and I think the last time we met up was around 15 years ago. Her husband, Bob, is visiting John Thorne in Houston this week! Bob Stem owned the 2-litre sprint briefly before selling it to me, then back to Bob Stem, then to Bob Kabine. At least, I believe that is the sequence of events. Apart from the missing engine and transmission, there was zero interior, and the fancy dark metallic green color, which would have looked about right on a contemporary Buick Riviera, was probably hiding serious bondo horrors.

Bob and Sue Stem's 102 roadster has long since returned to nature, but it's worth noting that it was his daily driver in Houston for years, fitted with a hard top and air conditioning. They once drove it from Houston, to California, up the coast, then back through Tahoe etc. I expect to hear the rest of that story tomorrow, as it involved a variety of breakdowns.

So - John Thorne has not disappeared, although there was an unfortunate "disappearance" of his 2600 Villa d'Este several years ago. I understand he took an Ethiopian bride while in Arabia, and now has a very young child.

You go, John
 

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Jay, I left you a personal message a few weeks ago regarding the hardtop window. Check you messages. Sorry to hijack this thread.
Larry
 

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Hi All,

I am searching for 1 or 2 165x400 borrani wire wheels with alu rim

rgds Franco
Franco,
You might try a google search for:
"king of the toasted ponies Tom shaunessy" I believe he may have a few Borrani wire wheels.:detective: He is also on Facebook:thumbup:

Mark
 

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She is BEAUTIFUL Andy. Very happy for you!

Ciao!
-tj in los gatos
 

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Franco,

My understanding is that 1900s were delivered either with aluminum or steel rims. The parts catalog refers to both.

Hi Andy,

did you buy NEW Borrani's or did a rebuilt of your old wheels ?

Another Question :

Do the 1900CSS ( tipo '56-'58 ) have original steel rims or alu rims ?

rgds Franco
Ciao!
-tj in los gatos
 

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I think there's some confusion about the sizing. Tipo IVs, to my knowledge, call came with 16 inch wheels. The Michelin X tires on my newly restored original wheels are identified as "165 R 400." Whether 400 refers to the diameter in millimeters or not is up for debate but it's possible. 16 inches=406mm, so perhaps the Italians just rounded down?

I am certain I've read somewhere that 1900's could be had with 16" as an option. Wonder where I saw that? Oh well.
Ciao!
-tj in los gatos
 

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I have read many, many times over the last 25 years that it is not safe to interchange 16" tires or wheels with 165 X 400 mm (15.75") tires or wheels of this size. The wrong size tires or wheels can separate easily in a turn resulting in a very dangerous situation.

I just measured the outside diameter of my 165 X 400 (tire size) Borrani's at 17 and 3/8" diameter. Surely the correct measurement would be taken where the tire bead rests on the wheel.

Mark
 

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I think there's some confusion about the sizing. Tipo IVs, to my knowledge, call came with 16 inch wheels. The Michelin X tires on my newly restored original wheels are identified as "165 R 400." Whether 400 refers to the diameter in millimeters or not is up for debate but it's possible. 16 inches=406mm, so perhaps the Italians just rounded down?
Fusi wrote on p.453 of "Tutte le vetture dal 1910" that 1900 Sprint and Super Sprint wheels and tires were either 6,00-16 or 165x400. For other 1900 models (and 102 /106 cars), he lists only 165x400.

400 mm wheels and tires are not rounded down from 16 inch. And, as others pointed out, tires and wheels are not mix-and-match (but can be changed and/or substituted as a whole where legal to do so). I was told by an expert that 400 mm and 16 inch tires and wheels have different and incompatible rim and tire lip shapes -- and therefore adhesion between tire and rim is insufficient.

It appears the 400 mm tires and wheels were based on Michelin patents from the 1930s (rim shape and tire lips that supposedly held tires and tubes better in place), introduced and branded under the "Bibendum" name (which is also the name of the Michelin man) on the Citroën Traction Avant 15 in 1938 after Michelin took over the bankrupt Citroën, as well as patents from the 1940s (radial tires with steel wires, branded as Michelin X, introduced in 1948). When Pirelli licensed the technology, the 400 mm tires and steel-belted radials became also available under their name (to some degree, the same thin happened with B.F. Goodrich in USA and Bridgestone In Japan).

While there probably was never any doubt that steel-belted radials were safer than bias-ply tires, they were also significantly more expensive to produce (and not just because of licensing fees). Whether or not they performed better, I don't know, but I find it interesting that Alfa pretty much seems to have equipped all race cars and protoypes in the 1950s with 16 inch wheels -- presumably using softer bias-ply tires that may have provided more traction or road contact. The Giulietta was introduced with 15 inch wheels, probably because of economic reasons -- but I have a hunch safety concerns for declared top speeds (and/or creating a safety-concious image) and non-circumventable Michelin patents became the reason why Alfa used 165x400 wheels on 1900, 102 and 106 cars.

Offering both 400mm and 16 inch wheels as options on the 1900 CSS may have addressed the needs of racers as well as safety-conscious owners. However, it may be worth noting that in all my research on Borrani wheels, I found only 5Jx400 (RW 2887) and 165x400 (RW 2794 and RW 2755) wheels listed for 1900 cars (i.e. no 16 inch version).
 
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