1977/73 Spider Restomod

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Odoyle
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:06 pm
Your car is a: 1983 Pinafarina Spider

1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby Odoyle » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:58 pm

This will be a running post documenting the restoration of a 1977 Fiat 124 Spider I purchased last Fall and have been restoring. I have drawn a lot of inspiration for this restoration from the styling ques of the pre 74 spiders. My approach with this car is to try and create a lightly modified, clean pre 74 looking spider.

I found the 77 (and a 79 parts car) a few miles from my house, for sale, looking sad as ever.
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Bought the pair for cheap. This is the 79.
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Drove the 77 home and the 79 was trailered back.
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Removed the hard top (for sale) and began disassembling the car.
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Two keys to start the car... perfect(NOT)
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Removed the interior tar and surface rust from the floor pans.
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Somebody (or a few people) had a stab at the body work
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I decided to strip the car to bare metal to see what I'm working with. Found a local body shop supply store.
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I found this discovery to be thoroughly interesting, it looks almost like the rust is an organism.
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Sprayed the metal with wd-40 and wraped it in painters tarp so it wouldn't flash rust over night.
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The surface rust present when I purchased was easily removed through various grits of sandpaper

Sprayed in first coat of epox primer (PPG).
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Clearly I have some work to do
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I used a metal prep acid to clean the metal right before paint.
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Sprayed in epox primer
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Lots of parts :D :D
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Woodley Park - French & Italian Show in Van Nuys, California
I was not part of the show that year because I was too busy stripping the 77, but I did attend in the 83 Spider. My goal is to have the 77/73 finished and ready for the 2017 show in Fall.
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There were a lot of other amazing cars present I did not photograph. Met some very interesting characters at the show. One being John Edwards who runs Costa Mesa R&D and has a very cool youtube channel called https://www.youtube.com/user/fiatnutz. Curious if anyone here has ever done any business with him. There were a few spiders in the show, but non worth taking photos of.

Front Turn Signal Modification
There has been much discussion and debate over the solution for installing the front turn signals on our spiders. I personally really like the pre 74 turn signals. I would guess many other spider owners like them too, but I have yet to see anyone install a set on a post 75 spider. One the obvious reasons being the amount of cutting and welding involved, considering the existing placement of the holes would have to be closed.
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I made a paper negative of the shape of the front signals.
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I did the same for the front and rear turn signals and cut the metal plates out of 18 or 19ga steel. Make sure if your using galvanized steel to strip the coating in muriatic acid or it wont weld.
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Welded the plates, ground the welds, and very carefully drilled new holes for the euro turn signal repeaters
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I had to do a ton of bumper fitment adjustments so everything was in the right place when it got welded.
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Part where its getting ugly before it gets pretty
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Some time later...
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Now were getting somewhere
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Second coat of epox
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Hood emblem testing.
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Had to remove the driver side door to replace this nightmare. Some people are savages.
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Swaped gas lid with 79
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Ten coats of aircraft stipper later...
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Now I disassembled the suspension.
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I removed the shocks, and took out the top control arm bolt then used a jack to lower the whole assembly.
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Cleaned the diff
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Painted semi-gloss black
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Brakes
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Sprayed wheel wells with 3m undercoating plus new spring seat
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Tie Rods
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Forgot to photograph the sleeves with the new tie rod ends in, but I will post them later.

Steering column linkage
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Pedal box out
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Removing Motor + Trans Removal
Right before removal
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I used a few feet of really thick rope from home depot (rated at around 1000 lb) and a few feet of plastic coated chain (rated at like 1500 lb) which might be slight overkill but I wasn't risking destroying my newly formed front end.
Pulled the motor with the trans connected, wasn't all that hard, I used a HF 8 ton crane. Helps to have a few hands, I had two friends help which made it a breeze. Pro tip: have the car on jack stands, use two different length cables/rope/chain to angle the front of the motor higher than the back so the whole assembly comes out easily. I read that in my factory manual.
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Clutch Cable/ Firewall Crack Repair
After removing the brake booster I found this mess.
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Drilled out spot welds and prepped surrounding area.
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Firewall section with clutch cable mount from parts car.
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Cut out the square portion which is double skinned and welded it to reinforcement plate, then welded that over the damage area. Put a few tacks inside the footwell, it isn't gorgeous but its really strong.
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Grinded welds and cleaned all metal with metal prep.
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The shock tower cup seat on the driver side was busted, so I repaired the metal and welded a new shock seat cup into place. I did most of the welding from inside the tower, then threw a few tacks along the seam on the other side.
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License Plate Light Delete -
I made the decision to remove the US style license plate lights, fill the holes and move the lights to the chrome bumpers.
I was going to weld the holes closed but I was concerned about warping the panel, so I fiberglassed the back of the holes and filled in the rest. I have been using Evercoat rage ultra body filler and I really like it. Evercoat claims it is the "worlds best sanding body filler" which may actually be be a true lol, it blocks out amazing. I would hope considering its the most expensive filler on the market. I used a very small portion for the rear panel and it came out nice.
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Alternator resto, can't tell if its a 55 of 65amp, it also seems to have marreli and bosch parts.
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Still need to assembly the pulley.

Suspension Reassembly
I sandblasted all the control arms, replaced two of them with good used ones, and had new bushings installed along with restoring the hardware in yellow/gold zinc plate.
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Bought a lightly used crossmember in great condition, prepped it for paint
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Taillights from Germany arrived!
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Second round of 2k urethane primer (ppg variant)
Blocked the first few coats with 400 then 600, then spayed 3 more coats.
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Engine bay sprayed
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Picking paint colors, the car was originally dark blue, which I plan to respray it in. I like this shade of dark blue, it is an Audi paint code.

A lot of these skills I have learned on the fly throughout the process of restoring this car. There is a learning curve involved in working on these cars. The more you do it, the better and faster you get. I have yet to snap a bolt on this car, *Knock on wood* partially attributed to the fact that it has virtually no rust being a CA car its whole life. Also because I learned on my 83 (which came from Montana) to PB blast/WD-40 and wire brush every nut and exposed thread before wrenching. I still have miles to go, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There will be another update soon. Thanks for looking! :D :lol:

TwinFast
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:06 am
Your car is a: 1978 Fiat 124 Spider

Re: 1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby TwinFast » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:34 pm

I totally agree with the learning curve, especially when you're working on your own car
Thanks for sharing what it seem to be a great job :)

I also start a restomod for a Californian Spider (78) - I replace the US bumpers with the EU classic ones - Remove all the EGR piping between the exhaust, the intake manifold and the top of the engine block and send the car to paint job (I do everything except this)

The electric part of the restomod wasn't really simple. Some burned wires give me more headache than expected.
Fiat 124 Spider 1.8L 1978
Jaguar XKR 4.2L 2009
Harley Davidson Fat Bob 96Ci 2011

User avatar
Broadsword
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:17 am
Your car is a: 1970 124 Spider
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: 1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby Broadsword » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:33 am

That is an amazing amount of progress in one post! What period of time was this achieved in?
Great work too.

DRUMMOND
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:11 pm
Your car is a: Fiat Spyder 2000 1980 Pininfarina

Re: 1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby DRUMMOND » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:08 pm

Hi Broadsword

Looking great, labor of love. also a great way to learn all the ins and outs of your car!

User avatar
Odoyle
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:06 pm
Your car is a: 1983 Pinafarina Spider

Re: 1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby Odoyle » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:50 pm

Thank you for the comments guys! I have been working on this project diligently for the last 6 months.

User avatar
RRoller123
Posts: 6673
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:04 pm
Your car is a: 1980 FI SPIDER 2000
Location: PLYMOUTH, MA USA
Contact:

Re: 1977/73 Spider Restomod

Postby RRoller123 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:00 am

Wow, what a lot of work! Excellent!
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling hobby, being "restored" now)
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL


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