Today whilst taking an enthusiastic drive in the RS I blurted this out... "I hate to say this Trish but this car is better than the Coupé in almost every way"
Initially this statement seems really harsh, kind of like taking a pee on all my happy Coupé memories. But it really isn't that simple. I absolutely loved my Coupé and I am sure for the rest of my days the Coupé will stand as the best bang for buck car of my life. When I bought my Coupé it was a modern stylish 2+2 Coupé and was almost as good as the best car I had ever owned at that point - the Audi Quattro. I didn't have the Quattro long. It was hideously expensive to buy, run and almost impossible, for a young fellow, to insure so it had to go, replaced by a watered down Coupé Quattro. The little Fiat Coupé gave me almost everything the old Quattro had but brought stunning Italian (American) design flair to the party.
I kept the Fiat far longer than I initially expected and often said I would keep it forever. Sadly as we both aged I realised I didn't really want a classic and with Audi sticking a Turbo charged 5 cylinder back in the mix it was kind of written that I would make an Audi return.
So back to my statement. "Better... ...in almost every way" Let's not forget I'm comparing a car with probably one of the best engines of recent years, up to the minute tech, an amazing chassis and a hideous price point, to a 20 year old Fiat Coupé. My old Quattro was fabulous but surprisingly a little Fiat was, for me, better in many ways. It has then taken a car as epic as the TTRS to better the Fiat. Sadly I don't ever see Fiat doing anything like the Coupé again. I seriously doubt that in 15 - 20 years time some chap is going to be buying a fast Fiat that is offering a fabulous soundtrack wrapped up in a stunning and unusual Coupé body
Pull the pipe off the turbo output and block it, then start the engine and it'll suck all the air out of the intake pipes and collapse them, then stall. You can then hear where the air is getting sucked in if there's a leak, as the pipes take shape again.
I'd also fit a boost gauge if you don't have one, will be very useful to know actual vacuum level and what the boost is doing when it misfires. You can even just plumb it in temporarily with hose tee'd in at the FPR, pipe in the driver's window and gauge taped to the dash.
Have had a couple of Mitos and liked them. Only problem was the heater fan variable speed resistor failed on the first one after 3 years - not a big deal. Otherwise both totally reliable. Currently have a 1.4 95bhp Mito in the family - it would be a fine first car, plenty quick enough and very nice inside.
Well, after a delay of some months, not helped by moving-house, family commitments, private-vendettas, alien-invasion, brexit and suchlike, work finally resumed work on the Project-Car last Tuesday. The primary objective has always been to restore braking-functionality in some form, and we are tangibly close. Handbrake cables were replaced (not without issue) last year, and the rear callipers refurbed & new pads fitted. All (bar one) brake lines were remade also, but outstanding work remained on the front callipers, which have recently been completed. (delay caused by myself)
Tuesday afternoon saw something of a Coupe-fest, in that as an entré, we investigated the appearance of a hitherto unknown sprint-blue VT which has appeared locally, and also attempted a bodyshop-quote for one of our number, who's Portofino car has suffered a misfortune.
First task on the car, was to install the NS front calliper back on the hub, and to join it to the incoming brake flexible with the remade S-hardline. New securing-clips were hammered onto the flexible line mounting points on the hub and inner wing, and we then discovered we had the wrong brake pads and so couldn't fit them.
Thanks to the generosity of others, we have assimilated (as they say in Star Trek) a couple of sets of brand-new & boxed Coupe front brake-pads; all of which are incorrect. Furthermore we discovered we've lost the calliper spring-&-two-pins that each side uses to secure the pads.
Undeterred by these trifling details, we refitted the road wheel and lowered the NS side of the car to the ground for the first time in 'some' months. Much creaking ensued as the replaced NS lower wishbone and anti-roll bar drop-link started to earn their money. The door functionality certainly felt better for the presence of ground under the wheels.
Working on the OS front, a repeat prescription was in order, but with the addition of the painting Hammerite onto the incoming brake hardline, from the engine bay, as it is the sole remaining original line. Interestingly, during an attempt to replace this line last autumn, it was observed that passing along the rear of the engine bay (as it does) it must have been fitted, BEFORE any of the A/C or clutch pipework was added during production. This line really is pinned to the firewall. A recent conversation with a specialist revealed that it is effectively 'never' replaced.
The OS road wheel was added and the car lowered to sit on all four wheels.
The car was then engaged in reverse gear, which without the presence of the clutch slave cylinder, is something which nods to race-car credentials, as you just have to go straight-in! Then the NS side was jacked 'high', and axle-stands were added front & back. The final remaining brake hardlines running from the front to the rear of the car were added in.
A complication for the removal or refitting of these lines is where they pass over the exhaust before the rear brake-compensator. Some exhaust 'slack' can be gained by removal of the two M8 13mm hex bolts which secure the combination handbrake reaction-point & mid-box hanger to the underside. 'One' then has to pull the exhaust down onto one's chest to gain space above it, to thread the lines across.
This task has been hanging over us (literally) for some months and so it was good to finally confront it. Although significant effort was made to pattern-match our re-made front-to-rear lines from the originals, and great care was made with documentation, in the final throes, it seemed more ambiguous than I had hoped for in the match-up with the lines from the rear brake compensator. Legacy documentation will confirm whether we got it right.
At this point we discovered we are also missing a final female-to-female M10 brake line coupler for the join between the front to rear lines and the feeding pair from the engine bay. (which takes place behind the front subframe, under the passenger footwell) This single item will complete hydraulic tightness of the system.
A follow up trip is to ensue shortly to fit this coupler, front brake pads, and pad-retaining calliper springs & pins for each side.
In the meantime; the car sits on all four wheels, and we all slept a good sleep on Tuesday night.
The immediate future holds the clutch slave-cylinder, replacement of lost gearbox-oil, and the manual rotation of the engine crank.
I used my 131 as a daily driver until I bought my coupe, now it simply doesn't get used and I have nowhere to store it out of the elements, so I'm trying to sell it. I'd have no trouble selling it on the mainland, but having it on the south island puts it in the too hard basket for most punters. It's a great little bus and is in very good nick considering it's vintage. It's the 6th 131 I've had in the past 10 years, so buying a coupe was moving a lot closer to a modern car. I've collected all the bits and done most of the work towards building a fuel injected 2 litre for it, with an eaton M45 supercharger from a Mercedes hanging off the side, it would have been a great sleeper if the project ever got finished, but it's never likely to happen.
I don't have seller rights, so couldn't respond to this in the "Parts wanted" section.
Originally Posted by Grigio
Don't know what you call them, but the left and right lower sections of the plus spoiler. I just ran the bloody thing into a gutter and stuffed them, again.
Originally Posted by DaveG
We call them "lips". You can get reproductions from AutoDS in Poland, and can order them with or without being painted. Many people report that the paint is a good match for comomon colours (eg: Sprint Blue) but I have a pair in Pearl White and th match is poor, the lips look a kind of "blue/white" pearl whereas the original colour is more of a "cream/white" pearl frown Also the AutoDS lips are fibreglass and thus not very flexible compared to the ABS originals, and having pulled off my old, damaged lips, I've found that the sizes are not exactly the same. But since I will need to get them painted, that will cover up any gaps. But also, being fibreglass, they are less forgiving and more brittle than ABS so you'll have to be even more careful...
Thanks for your response Dave, so the LE bits are the same for the Plus? They certainly look the same in the photos. They don't list Oz as a freight option, so I've asked if they'll send bits to the antipodes.