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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Friends,

I am finally starting this threat to possibly learn more about my car and the interesting engine configuration on it.
  • Don Schwarzkopf and I will do the California Mille in it this month
  • I bought the car from a long-time Lancia enthusiast in the Bay Area
  • Believed to be the oldest in the US
  • Has a very interesting Abarth set up - more below
My goal is to learn about the car's history and about what the parts on it are and when it possibly got those as they appear to be quite unusual on an Appia.

Also, if there is thinktank that could possibly know anything or give guidance as to where to look and what might be going on, it surely is the experts right here - From John to Paolo and Ed and all the others.

Here is what I know:
  • Early car from first year of prodcution (1953): C10 - 4150
  • Engine #: C10 4245
  • Engine head: C10 1101, serial # 3777, date stamped 6/18/53
  • Exhaust header markings: 112 Abarth *(Star)
  • Dual carburetor set up with two Solex C32 PBIC
  • Intake Manifold # and markings: 181 Abarth C (Or 481?)
Owenrship history:
  • 2003 - 2014: Last US owner
  • before that for a long time: Giuseppe Tomasetti (Italy)
  • More ownership history currently being researched (Hopefully Giuseppe knows more ...)
There is a hypothesis that was passed on verbally by the previous owners that the car was set up like this "in period" by Abarth. However, there is no documentation that I know of nor am I an expert to verify if the parts on the car would even sustain that hypothesis.

Where to start? What do you think?

Thanks much,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #2
... and a picture of the car itself.

Mike
 

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Do you know/have the old Italian number plate? If you do, please send it to me, you have my email and I will intriduce you to my most competent researcher in Italy. We will find everything until the date of its exportation and also, he will try to find/contact the previous Italian owners.

Sounds like a good start to me!

Alex
 

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Alex is absolutely right, having an old Italian registration number is the ultimate clue. That was the key that unlocked the history of my old Maserati. My understanding is that going backward from the most recent is easier than going forward from an earlier registration.

With the extra speed equipment this is a remarkable drive - a real tiger cub. Can't wait.
 

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The ownership history reported on the PRA papers doesn't concern anything about the updated engine.
The Abarth manifold+exhausts and the double Solex are after markert improvements clearly.

Pay attention to the radiator because the cooling is the most critic point in an Appia. Don't feel free to replace the mineral oil with a synthetic one because the Appias consume 1Kg every 1000Km always. Check the brakes system very well and replace every rubber parts.
 

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Hi Paolo, you are right that the registration will not describe after-market changes, but knowing the ownership can lead to personal contacts and sometimes competition history, when the owner's name can be found in racing records. This happened with my Maserati, leading even to entry documents and photos of the car in the events. It was remarkable and very lucky.

Best regards,
Don
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Alex, for putting me in touch with your Italian contact. That should be fun.

Thanks, Paolo. Yes, we went through the entire car. Brakes, water pump, fuel pump, steering box, shift linkage, clutch, bearings, new radiator core, etc., etc. We are also putting on an electric fan just in case, to avoid any over heating issues. And it will be thoroughly tested, starting tomorrow 11am. The plan is to use and abuse it over the next three weeks for final prep ...

Do you have an opinion on what these Abarth pieces are? Is there anything noteworthy at all about them?

The previous owner was throwing out a rumor/ hypotheses that, of course, is so not verified nor any idea if it even is it the realm of the possible: But he indicated that Abarth prepped a dozen or so Appia Berlinas for the 1954 Mille but not all ran.

I don't even know if this is true and if so, I highly doubt that this car might be one of those that did not run. But it will be fun to see who put those pieces on and why. Of course, it could have happened at any time in the car's life ...

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I thought that the VIN/ chassis numbers of MM cars was recorded, too? Am I wrong? I think this then would quickly show that my car did not run?
 

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I thought that the VIN/ chassis numbers of MM cars was recorded, too? Am I wrong? I think this then would quickly show that my car did not run?
Entry lists generally don't show the chassis number, but the entry forms (domanda d'iscrizione) will, and sometimes the engine number too.

I'm not sure who holds the archives of entry forms, but you could check with the Museo Mille Miglia or the Automobile Club Brescia. Perhaps you could obtain copies for each of the six Appias entered in 1954.
 

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Mike,

With the "112 Abarth *" on the exhaust flange, and the obvious welding changes, I'd guess that was adapted from an Autobianchi A112 Abarth. Given that, I'd suspect something similar for the intake & carbs.
 

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Adapting manifolds made for an inline 4 (A112) to the Appia V4 would be fairly creative...
if you look at the welding in the manifold photo, you'll notice that it's been modified. Keep in mind that the Appia V4 is a narrow-angle V, so it's a single crossflow design, with intake on one side of the V and exhaust on the other. So it's creative but not particularly hard to adapt an exhaust manifold from a small I4.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hm, Ed. That certainly is a possibility. A quick inter webs search turned out the below as A112 Abarth exhaust headers. Quite different to what is on my car and unsure how you would modify one into the other?
 

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Mike,
No question--the flange is a different shape. Though you can't expect great results unless you know what you're doing, it's simple to modify exhaust systems--just tubes and welding, But clearly that can't be the answer in this case as it's not the same flange.
 

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Something to consider is that in period Abarth was as much (probably more) a maker and seller of performance parts as they were manufacturer of cars. The old FAZA catalogue always showed plethora of Abarth go-faster stuff for a wide variety of Italian cars. It's entirely possible that this car was modified by a previous owner, either in Italy or here in the states. Regardless of how or where they were installed, this car has some decidedly neat kit. Love the color, also. That's the original medium grey color of my Flaminia Zagato.

Did I tell you I hate you, Mike?
 

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Mike- great car, a few thoughts:

The exhaust headers are tricky business. Ours is a very very stock s.2 Appia, original engine and about 55k miles from new. When I had to change the exhaust pipe (not the manifold, only the pipe below), the increase in diameter was inevitable, as the stock pipe was not available (from Cavalitto). It was about ⅛"-¼" larger in diameter, and there was a noticeable difference in the torque and engine performance. While it breathed a little better, the bulge of torque (!) in the mid range lessened a bit, and took some getting used to. Not huge difference, but notable.

With the Abarth 2 carb setup and a more open exhaust, you might be more tempted to rev the motor. There were rumblings long ago about the s.1 Appia motors not being quite as robust as the later versions. Probably Don Cross could advise you (formerly of the Consortium, and had an s.1 Appia for years). Possibly related to valve stem thickness, an issue with the early B20 motors too.

Lovely car, congrats! They are wonderful.
 

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a little off topic, but since this thread is appia I hope you'll excuse!

is it correct to use a straight 20W grade oil (if so, 20W engine oil or 20W motorcycle fork oil?) in the front suspension reservoir?

Also who does spares for these beautifully made little cars? A young friend of mine has the 1960 model with original Milano plates, but the two links on the steering link bar (between left and right front wheels) have play and need replacement.
 

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Appia parts

20w in the front suspension (upper) is just fine. Some try 30w, but not necessary. Engine oil, not fork oil (which is a different grade), just make sure non-detergent, so it has to be older straight weight oil, sometimes tricky to find.

For spares - there is the Appia Consortium in England (info on LMC forums), or email: Don Cross <[email protected]>

Also, Cavalitto in Turin is good for parts, as is Omicron in England.
 

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Thanks Geoffrey, that's very helpful.
 
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