Lancia Fulvia Update

So where were we with the Lancia Fulvia?

I’d been frustrated by the radiator and some headlamp surrounds…..


Well, the radiator is gone, but the headlamp surrounds remain….. for now.



As you can see, the grille isn’t in great shape. A few of the horizontal bars are no longer connected to their vertical companions and one of the corners was secured to the body by a twisted piece of wire. If it was complete then I’m pretty sure I could repair it but with that section missing along the top, I might be looking for a replacement.


The radiator probably needs a good clean but first impressions are that it might just be OK. It looks to be in remarkably better shape that nearly everything else under the hood.

My aim at the moment isn’t to disassemble the entire car. It’s to take off as much stuff as I need to in order to speed up the bodywork/painting process when I finally hand it over to the professionals. To that end, I’m picking off some of the low-hanging fruit at the moment. I guess it helps me feel like I’m making faster progress.

So I started working on a few bits of exterior trim. Small stuff, but fun stuff.

The mirror came off easy, secured by two screws hidden inside the front guard/fender. The mirror needs some of the aluminium foil treatment to remove pitting from the chrome.



Back to the radiator removal….

One of the reasons I had to take the radiator out was because I wanted to take the grille out. I wanted to take the grille out to get an idea of how skewed the front end is without the grille influencing the picture. It’s still out, of course, but doesn’t feel like it’s out by quite so much. Here’s the photo again, compared to an earlier one with the grill still in.



Actually, it still looks just as skew-iff. There’ll definitely be some straightening work for somebody in the coming months.

It’s interesting how the Lancia shield isn’t centered on the grille. I wonder why. I’m pretty sure it should be.


I have a mate in Sweden named Mats. He’s doing a bare-metal restoration of a Porsche 914 at the moment and he’s really, really good at this stuff. Mats sent me an email last week and he advised that I take my time when undoing old screws, etc. His advice was to hit the fixture with plenty of penetrating fluid (WD-40 in my case) and to do it a few days ahead of when you want to attack.

It was wise advice and I listened. I promise I did.

The problem was that I didn’t exactly act on it and I paid the price with two sheared (very thin) bolts.

The first of them came when I was taking off the stainless steel strip that runs down the middle of the bonnet/hood.



It was the second bolt from the top that sheared off. Luckily that piece is held in by four fixings so I don’t think it’ll be much of a loss.

The second bolt that sheared off was one of two securing the rat-eaten washer bottle. I only gave this one about 2 minutes on the penetrating fluid. I waited another 15 minutes on the second one and it came away with no trouble at all 🙁



Actually, I had a win with the stainless still bonnet strip, too. The last nut I had to get off was the one nearest the windscreen, which is actually behind a piece of metal that makes up the frame of the bonnet. There is a gap between this piece of metal and the bonnet itself so my first idea was to slide in my thin 7mm spanner and turn it from there.


This worked, but it was going to be a very time consuming and laborious process. It was hard to locate the spanner head on the tiny bolt and even when I did, I could only do a quarter-turn at a time before I had to take the spanner off and locate it again.

My fancy (read: expensive) Sidchrome socket set doesn’t have an 8mm socket, so that was out.

Fortunately, I still have the first el-cheapo socket set I ever bought. And fortunately, it does have smaller sockets, including a 7mm. It was a perfect fit into the little access hole, too.

It’s amazing how quickly things can happen when you have the right tool.



I took the wiper arms off the car, but getting the rest of the mechanism out is proving to be difficult.


The two wipers are controlled by a mechanism that spans between them but it’s located behind this fresh-air intake box that feeds the ventilation system.


I tried to get the box out but I think it’s secured from inside and getting to the fixings might involve removing the whole ventilation system. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that as it’s very delicate and will be very complex to reinstall later on. I might have to seek some advice.


Some happier notes to finish on…..

I’m not sure it’s the most efficient solution and I know it’s weird to say this, but I really love my radiator fan.

It’s not an electric fan attached to the radiator itself. It’s a belt drive metal fan that is bolted on to the front corner of the engine. It looks like a beautiful little sculpture sitting there.



And check out my dual horns!!

They both looked like the one on the right when I first pulled them out of the car. I gave one a quick blast with the remnants of a can of degreaser and it showed definite potential. In fact, it looked quite stunning. I’m not sure, but it looks and feels as if it’s made from bakelite.



So that was my few hours of tinkering on Sunday.

I spent another good portion of the afternoon helping Geoff tinker with the X1/9. We got the point where Geoff went and bought a battery and we tried to start the little bugger. Sadly, it didn’t want to start, which may or may not be down to the empty fuel tank.

We’ll try again soon. Fuel, air and spark.

There will be video when it finally happens.

The little Fiat still needs the brake and clutch master cylinders to be changed, but we’ll get to that eventually.

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  1. Mix acetone and automatic transmission oil together 50/50 and you will have a solution far better than WD40, PB Blaster or any other product for those frozen nuts/bolts.

  2. Hey Swade, Have u checked out the radiator from Winner Racing? They have an ebay store, Use one of their radiators in my 2002 and fit right in..Also fresh air box comes out with just the 2 (or 4) screws either side of the box and 1 just below center. Just remove the clip which operates the flap. Had mine out not long ago as the heater box was stuffed, and gave it a paint too. Hopefully your heater box is ok as its a custom job..

    1. Very, very interesting.

      I’m going to get mine tested as it’d be good to stay original if I can, but this looks like a very good alternative.

  3. Hello Swade,
    I bought the Lancia Fulvia you saw in Canberra, my grandson and I brought it home on the trailer and had it running in about an hour, pumped up the tyres and cleaned it up and have been using it ever since. Have had no problems yet touch wood. Alex touched up the paint work and it does not look too bad. Will send photos if you are interested. By the way the low milage is probably correct as engine ruins at around 70 psi on staring and drops to about sixty when hot.
    Colin B

    1. Hi Colin.

      Great to hear from you and congratulations on the buy. I was so disappointed to miss out on that one but I had to set myself a hard ceiling on my offer because it had been sitting so long and it would have been expensive to get back to Tassie. It looked like a great car, though, and I’m so pleased it’s running and being enjoyed. You got a bargain there, as it turns out.

      I’m living and working in Sweden now and if circumstances allow, I hope to buy one in Italy next year. I’d still love to get one.

      Photos would be welcome. Thanks for getting in touch!