Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Fiat
So it has come to pass that all three of my current vehicles are of the Chrysler/Mitsubishi persuasion. I used to be a GM man, but somewhere along the way I wandered off the reservation. Now via Dustbury I hear that Fiat and Chrysler may be joining forces, or Fiat may be the next sucker to try and rescue Chrysler, however you want to look at it. All of which reminds me of the time I had a Fiat.
Mike came to visit me in Austin (25 years ago, more or less) and came across a Fiat 124 Sedan (below). It was not sexy or cool like the Spyder (above) or the Coupe (left), but it was small, and because it had a blown engine, it was really cheap. Exploratory surgery revealed that the aluminum head had warped causing the head gasket to fail. When he got the head off we discovered that it wasn't warped so much as bowed. The face of the head was bowed up about a half an inch. No way that you would be able to fix it by milling, but Mike tried it anyway. And, no, it didn't work.
He poked around and found an engine from another 124 that could be used. But it wasn't from a sedan, it was from a coupe, so it wasn't the single overhead cam workhorse, it was the double overhead cam racehorse. Made that little tin can run like a scalded cat. It would hit 60 MPH in 2nd gear. But it was still a rattle trap. All of the suspension joints were loose and would need to be replaced which would have meant special order from Italy. I don't remember exactly what happened to it. Perhaps it too wandered off the reservation.