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Discussion Starter #1
Like so many aspects of the Coachbuilt 1900s, the subject of the floor speed conversion is one about which very little is known. I've only been a student of 1900s for 10 years now, but in that time I've come across very little in the way of "true knowledge" about a number of details regarding these cars. So it's no surprise that the floor shift conversion falls under the same category.

For the record, I am by nature, curious. I don't mind being wrong about things if the evidence that proves I was wrong, for the opportunity to learn, and the knowledge that follows.

The myriad details about the variety of builders and series of 1900s are formidable to begin with, so on this topic I shall restrict it only to the "Tipo IV" variant (Touring bodied if that final detail matters. With regard to the gearboxes fitted to these cars (Tipo IVs) I assumed that the vast majority (if not all) received 5 speed gearboxes. Today it would seem that the majority of the cars offered on the open market are described as "having the desirable 5 speed floor shift conversion." As to the number that left Touring with the upgrade, I have no idea.

So here is a list of "assumptions" that I believe to be true, some of which have been either verified by one of the community's "elder statesmen," and some to which others have said, "yeah that's what I believe is correct."

1-Virtually all Tipo IVs had 5 speed gearboxes.

2-There was indeed a 5 speed column shift (photos of the dash in the Owner's Manual support this fact)

3-Alfa Romeo itself shipped some number of "rolling chassis" to Touring with its own "floor shift" mechanism installed (illustrations/parts diagrams of the Alfa sourced part are easily found in the parts manual)

4-Just because a Tipo IV has a steering column with the "groove" in the side of it (where the column shift linkage would fit) does not necessarily mean it left Alfa Romeo with said column shift installed.

5-There are at least two versions of the "Nardi" gearbox "upgrade," although the predominant one is that which has been reproduced (Franco Veloce) and is offered by different vendors. There is a thread dating back to 2013 regarding this conversion, located here alfa 1900 ss css nardi gearbox There is another style of Nardi gearbox, a photo of which can be seen on the 1900 Companion site, in a red "advertisement" which is apparently very rare, and which I have never seen in life or in pictures.

6-There was also a "SIATA" floor shift conversion which may or may not have been the same part as the Nardi part, (it's got some subtle differences to its appearance but utilizes the same basic design)

IMG_5616 by tjveloce, on Flickr

7-The "non-Alfa Romeo" floor shift conversion would have been sold and installed by the dealer, or presumably available as an aftermarket product. With that said, has anyone ever seen any period advertising, packaging, or even a reference to it? My own floor shift does not have any identification on it, but I know it's been on the car since at least 1964, and presumably earlier.

I'd be interested in any comments regarding the veracity of the assumptions above, as well as any additional information that you may be able to share.

Stay safe everyone.

-tj in the Cruz Mtns
 

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I'm amazed that Alfa Romeo was really selling cars with 5 speed gearboxes back then. Heck most cars would have been 3 speeders. Amazing!

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #3
True. Ironically the 750 Giulietta and Giulietta Spiders didn't have a 5spd, and they didn't get em for a few more years. So yeah, 5spd gearbox in 1956? Kinda a big deal.
I'm amazed that Alfa Romeo was really selling cars with 5 speed gearboxes back then. Heck most cars would have been 3 speeders. Amazing!

Pete
-tj
 

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Hi TJ

one thing I can 100% confirm:
All Tipo 4 had a five gear speed box.
I'm sure, because I have the homologation sheet for the Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint 1956 for Switzerland. There is writen, that they has a 5 speed gear box.
My car has a Nardi shifter, but I can not say, if its from new. The car belonged to my brother from 1968 - 1972. At this time the Nardi shifter was already installed. I thougt, that "normaly" the Super Sprints had all a steering column shifter and if they has a floor sift, than it was changed by somebody, but not Alfa Romeo itself.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Andy,

Thank you for confirming the specifications on your beautiful 1900.

I agree with you that 1900s that got the "aftermarket" gearbox got them from dealers or other installers.

There was a floor shift option fitted by the factory though, but it was a different style of shifting mechanism.


Hi TJ

one thing I can 100% confirm:
All Tipo 4 had a five gear speed box.
I'm sure, because I have the homologation sheet for the Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint 1956 for Switzerland. There is writen, that they has a 5 speed gear box.
My car has a Nardi shifter, but I can not say, if its from new. The car belonged to my brother from 1968 - 1972. At this time the Nardi shifter was already installed. I thougt, that "normaly" the Super Sprints had all a steering column shifter and if they has a floor sift, than it was changed by somebody, but not Alfa Romeo itself.

Andy
-tj
 

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If we search Fusi, the 5 speed gearbox would have appeared with the 1900 Super Sprint in 1954, as opposed to the 1900 Sprint which retained the 4 speed gearbox. I do remember looking at a 1954 1900 SS for sale here in Montreal in 1980, and it did have the 5 speed with column shift.

A 5 speed gearbox with floor shift was later introduced for the Giulietta SS and SZ (1957) and for the 2000 Spider (1958). Perhaps, along the way, floor shift became a factory option on the series 4.
 

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About this ‘groove’ in the steering column, where the column shift linkage fits in, would it fair to say if the car left the Alfa Factory with a floor shift fitted, this groove would be closed?
And cars with aftermarket Siata or Nardi conversion would have the groove still in place?
 

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Here the original homologation document from Switzerland, dated from 1955!
Further to Andy's comments (thanks for posting the documents, Andy!):

This type of homologation is a "type approval" (i.e. certificate) that describes technical characteristics of a car model for the purpose of compliance with transport laws and taxation. The certificate carries Nr. 1587 and states, on p.1, on what is pretty much the very first line "Erkennungsmerkmale des Typs" ("identifying features of this type") that there should be a "5-Gang Getriebe" (5-speed gearbox), followed by a "*)", indicating that there is a remark to this text.

The remark "*)" is explained on p.2 under the barely legible "Bemerkungen", where it states:

Unterscheidet sich vom früheren Typ "AR 1900 C" Besch. Nr. 1003 (?) durch das 5-Gang Getriebe und grösseren Motor (1'975 anstatt 1884 cm³)
Unterscheidet sich von den Typen "Super" und "TI Super" durch kürzeren Radstand (2'500 anstatt 2'630 mm)
Lärmmessungen: Auf 7M. seitlich bei max. Betriebsdrehzahl (5'000 U/min) – 87-88 Phon 1
...which translates to:

Differs from earlier type "AR 1900 C", certificate Nr. 1003 (?) by means of 5-speed gearbox and larger engine (1'975 instead of 1884 cm³)
Differs from types "Super" and "TI Super" by means of shorter wheelbase (2'500 instead of 2'630 mm)
Noise measurements: 7 meters to the side, at max revolutions (5,000 RPM) – 87-88 dBa.
The number of the certificate on p.2 is not legible. Best guesses are "1003" or "1603", but it seems unlikely that the number of the earlier certificate would be higher than the "1587" of this one (unless the earlier certificate was replaced by a newer one).

Then, in the section "Abänderungen und Ergänzungen" (modifications and addenda), it states:

1) Auspufflärm: Ist zu hoch & muss reduziert werden. Darf das vorgeschrieben Maximum von 80 Phon nicht überschreiten (KB KJID (?) vom 15.4.1953)

2) Nebellampen: Im Fn. (?) fest eingebaut. Schaltung muss auf die schweiz. Normen abgeändert werden. (Art. 13 MFV)
...which means:

1) Exhaust noise: Is too high (too loud) & must be reduced. May not exceed the prescribed maximum of 80 dBa (as per "KB KJID" (?) dated 15-Apr-1953)

2) Fog Lights: Installed fixed in Fn. (?). Circuit must be changed to comply with Swiss norms (Article 13 of Swiss Motor Vehicle Regulation)
Now, floor shift has been used on various 6C models and is nothing new. Column shift requires more parts, is less precise (and cumbersome).


Apr. 4, Dok. 1.jpg

Apr. 4, Dok. 2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yves,

Yes, all Super Sprints got 5 speed gearboxes. As for earlier models which have them, who knows when they were installed? I've seen photos of a "Concours winning PF coupe" from 1953 which has a floor shift gearbox, which is clearly not factory (PF coupes had 4spd column shift gearboxes).

As for the gearboxes in the Giulietta SS and SZ, the transmission itself was different, and the gearbox used in the 1900 was different than the one used in the 2000 and 2600. If the 1900 gearboxes were used in anything other than the cars Alfa built in those years, I'm unaware of it. My belief is that it's an entirely Alfa Romeo specific part.

-tj

If we search Fusi, the 5 speed gearbox would have appeared with the 1900 Super Sprint in 1954, as opposed to the 1900 Sprint which retained the 4 speed gearbox. I do remember looking at a 1954 1900 SS for sale here in Montreal in 1980, and it did have the 5 speed with column shift.

A 5 speed gearbox with floor shift was later introduced for the Giulietta SS and SZ (1957) and for the 2000 Spider (1958). Perhaps, along the way, floor shift became a factory option on the series 4.
If we search Fusi, the 5 speed gearbox would have appeared with the 1900 Super Sprint in 1954, as opposed to the 1900 Sprint which retained the 4 speed gearbox. I do remember looking at a 1954 1900 SS for sale here in Montreal in 1980, and it did have the 5 speed with column shift.

A 5 speed gearbox with floor shift was later introduced for the Giulietta SS and SZ (1957) and for the 2000 Spider (1958). Perhaps, along the way, floor shift became a factory option on the series 4.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Mike,

Maybe. Honestly, given what we know about the state of Alfa Romeo in those years it's hard for me to believe that they were so rich in parts and process that they could afford to build chassis with varying build lists.

There WAS an Alfa Romeo produced floor shift gearbox, and I think it's safe to say that it's possible that those cars would have been fitted with a "non-grooved" steering column. I think I've seen photos of them, but honestly I can't recall.

As for the Nardi/Siata sourced floor shift, you're assumption seems correct. Those would have been fitted to cars by the dealers or other aftermarket installers, and those cars, like mine, would have a steering column with the aforementioned "groove."

-tj


About this ‘groove’ in the steering column, where the column shift linkage fits in, would it fair to say if the car left the Alfa Factory with a floor shift fitted, this groove would be closed?
And cars with aftermarket Siata or Nardi conversion would have the groove still in place?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Franco,

It looks very similar to mine, almost exactly, but there are a few minor details. Have you ever seen any printed literature, a box, installation instructions or anything Nardi branded with these parts?

There is not a single identifying mark on my part.

What is your opinion of the "Siata" branded shifter which is almost identical to the one we call "Nardi"?

-tj


Hi All,

I have a nardi floor shift conversion for sale

for info PM ( [email protected] )



rgds Franco
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I agree that the principal design is the same although the interface between the business end of the shifter‘s rod and the selector rods in the transmission appear to be differerent.


The conversion shown by Franco looks very similar to the modern production offered by OKP and others.

For all its worth, this thread shows a period advertising for the Nardi Giulietta conversion. Very different. But perhaps the 750 tunnel case gearbox did not allow any common parts.
-tj
 

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Hi All,

the OKP is a cheap china repro

this one is not good shifting the gears

I made a 1:1 copy from the original with modification
shifting the gears

rgds Franco
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Franco,

Do you have a photo of your original? Do you believe that it was truly made by Nardi? Mine has no stampings on it anywhere except for a "10" near the flange where it bolts to the top of the gearbox. What is your opinion regarding the SIATA version which is nearly identical in design to mine, and photos of the ones you've built? Have you ever seen any Nardi product information regarding these accessories?

-tj


Hi All,

the OKP is a cheap china repro

this one is not good shifting the gears

I made a 1:1 copy from the original with modification
shifting the gears

rgds Franco
 
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