Lancia Fulvia Update – Interior (Still) Coming Out

A little diversion first, shall we?

Last weekend I had the chance to drive a blue Series 2 Lancia Fulvia here in Hobart. The car is (tentatively) up for sale and the owner got in touch to see if I’d be interested in coming to have a look.

He didn’t have to ask twice!

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It was wonderful to finally get some seat time in a Fulvia and make contact with an owner who’s been through the ownership experience, including a partial restoration.

I won’t be making an offer on the car because I realised as we drove the blue S2 that I’m far too engaged with my little red Series 1 and I don’t think anything’s going to tear me away from that at this point.

If any Aussies are interested in a blue S2, though, let me know via email and I can put you in touch with the seller. He’s not actively looking to sell at this point, but maybe you and he can work something out. Fulvias don’t come up for sale in Australia very often.

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Last time I updated you on my Lancia Fulvia, I’d just taken the seats and floor coverings out and finally got a look at the floor, which is pretty well rusted.

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Since then, I’ve done a few sessions on the dashboard, which is packed with switches, gauges, nuts, bolts and screws. I got some Fulvia repair manuals online but the information in them about dismantling the interior is sadly lacking. It’s been a case of taking what little info there is, asking a few Fulvia friends for help and when all else fails – just going for it!

The first task was to remove the wooden fascia on the dashboard. There are two control knobs just above the steering wheel. The one on the left resets the tripmeter. The one on the right is a dimmer switch for the dashboard lighting. But together, they also secure the wooden dashboard fascia on the driver’s side of the car.

Undo the threaded sleeves holding these on and that’s two of the three nuts holding the wooden fascia done with. The third and final one is inside and just above the glove compartment.

And here’s the dashboard with the wooden fascia removed…..

Removing the gauges was fun! They were all quite easy to remove with just a screwdriver and the various cover plates were just clipped into place. The toughest part was labelling all the wires that connect into the back of the central cluster. The wires are all covered in masking tape labels now, with matching labels on the back of the gauge itself.

The next task was to take off the top dashboard pad. This is fixed in four places. The first two bits to remove are actually the air vents on either side of the dash pad. I kept feeling around the back of the vent for some screws to release the vents. I tried just pulling them out (though not with much force). I then had some helpful advice from a Dutch friend telling me about the spring release system that holds them in place. You can see the curved bits of metal inside the vent. They sit in a groove in the metal. Simply pop them out with a little bit of leverage from a small screwdriver and the vents come out easily.

The other fixing are underneath. Two 10mm nuts that were easily accessible from underneath the pad, inside the dashboard. Here’s the dash removed and turned upside down, showing the location of the fixings.

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Removing the dash pad revealed some more rust in the top RHS corner of the dashboard. There must have been a windscreen leak in this area. I’ll show you some more rust from that in a moment.

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The lower dashboard pad on the driver’s side was secured by two tiny little 8mm nuts that were a complete pain in the backside to undo (until I stopped trying to use my small shifter and trudged down to the garage for an 8mm spanner!)

You can see from the photo above, where the lower dash pad was removed, it revealed a little more rust in the metal. The lower dash pad itself is your usual foam with a vinyl covering, but it seems to be formed around a metal mould. The metal in the dash pad itself has rusted quite badly – that likely windscreen leak, again – as you can see from the photo below.

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The last task for this evening was to remove the ‘panic handle’ from the passenger side of the dashboard. This was held in by four fixings: two inside the glovebox and two inside the handle itself. Important to note – the of the glovebox bolts also acting as a fastener for this blue wire to the body (presumably an earth, maybe for the clock?)

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I’ve still got the central cluster of switches and instruments to remove, which I’m told will get very tricky when it comes to the ventilation system. Then there’s the lower dash pad on the passenger side, including the glove box.

Onwards and upwards!!

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12 Comments

  1. I know absolutely nothing about Lancia’s, but I love reading about and viewing pictures from resto threads. I will eagerly follow this one!

    Saving and restoring a classic correctly takes a special person, with a special level of commitment — I tip my hat to you!

    I was at a show this past weekend to meet up with a fellow SAAB owner, who was new to the area and whom I had not previously met, to give him some parts he was in need of. Our initial meeting and dialog was through an online forum. I was blown away when he surprised me a gift: a flash drive with his library of approximately 200 detailed repair procedures that was much more informed than the Bentley or Haynes manuals.

    The pictures you are taking, coupled with your notes, will no doubt be invaluable to the next person! Thanks for taking us on this journey.

    I am curious and I know you are just getting into this — but have you taken any videos of a procedure or process of this restoration thus far?

  2. Swade, I am sure your recent experience with the guitar build has honed your attention to detail and patient progress that will be needed for this project. 🙂 You will certainly know every inch of this Fulvia by the time you are finished!

  3. You HAVE to go and buy a shiny new set of ‘speed spanners’. At Bunnings of all places too. Very cool, very fast and you look like a pro when using them.

  4. very interesting stuff, Swade! Hope you’ve got a good pile of tools – I suppose the good thing about having two or more cars is not having to get the bus to the shops when you realise you don’t have a deep 13mm torque wrench to get the spigot off the whatsit having already removed half the engine, wheels, etc!

    Those proper old gauges are gorgeous. You’ll have fun cleaning those up, and reworking the wood dash – finishing touches which probably feel a long way off, but you’ll get there!

    It’ll feel great to finally get it all in bits, I bet. Daunting knowing it has to go back together, but a big tick on the “to do” list.

    That blue Fulvia taunts me, but I’m afraid we need a wagon first. Tossing up between a 9-3, 159, or a 323 – all looking quite good value these days. One day, little Lancia.

    1. It’s been great fun. Even the occasional frustration turns into fun when you eventually figure it out. It’s like climbing a little mountain every time.

    1. I won’t give a detailed review of the S2 as it wouldn’t be fair. I only had a short drive and even then, that drive was in the rain. And what’s important to me might not be important to someone else. And I’m a total nuff when it comes to spanner work.

      Suffice to say it’s a 40 year old Fulvia which means it’s totally groovy but like all 40 year old Italian cars, it’ll need a little fettling. This one needs much less fettling than most.

      Anyone looking for a Fulvia should check it out as they don’t come up often.

  5. I can see it now. Four Fulvias in the drive, in various stages of disassembly, cannibal cars and tarps over some of them….

  6. A little tip: ask around your local general aviation airport to have your gauges cleaned and serviced. It’s a common enough job that someone can recommend a local tech. You can probably negotiate a good price if you don’t require a quick turnaround.

  7. Swade – just caught this article about removing the Fulvia dash. I have a Fulvia3 S2 and am looking to do same, hopefully to access the heater so that I can refurbish it. Have you written more on getting the dash stripped out?