Old Fiat Car, 1968

Here is my 1968 Fiat 124 AC Sport Coupe, 1400cc, 4-speed manual...


This is Alfonso The Second. Alfonso The First was bought by me after I passed my driving test in 1978 at the age of nineteen. Against the better and wiser judgement of my father who advised me to get 'something sensible' like a Ford Anglia or Austin 1100, I went ahead and bought a Fiat 124 Sport. It was a heap of shite and was continuously breaking down, overheating and keeping me poor. But I loved it and vowed one day to get a decent example of this Italian beauty when I became old and wise like my father had been back in '78.

Twenty years later my heart missed a beat when I saw an ad for this 1968 AC Coupe for sale in Pontefract, Yorkshire. It was three thousand notes which I couldn't afford, but luckily my flexible friend had enough elasticity on it to help me out, and now more than ten years later I still get as excited about owning him (or is it her, or it?) as I did back then.

Of course, being a Fiat, he needs some tender loving care to keep him in good health, and he has indeed needed to go to the car hospital on one or two occasions. But all in all, he's a joy to live with.

Whenever our finances become a little, er, problematic with cash-flow, it is suggested that 'you can always sell the old car'. Shock, horror! No, no, no. He's not just any old car - he's part of the family.

These following pictures show some of the little quirks that the Fiat has. Individually they are special. Collectively they make up far more than just a car. It's all in the detail...


...like the wooden steering wheel...


...and the Fiat mudflaps that could do with a little clean up...


...and shiny hub caps set off nicely by the newly painted wheels to match the bodywork...


...I like the small indicator lights on the front wings...


...and of course the historic Fiat badge on the bonnet (that's the hood if you're American)...


...lovely dashboard instruments with switches for illuminating the dials (don't forget to switch off otherwise the battery will be flat in the morning), and a knob to vary the intensity, a knob to turn down the 'on' light (why?), and a switch for the windscreen wipers (that's my favourite one to play with)...


...the Javelin MW and LW radio that still works, with a loud crackle when turning it on (it would still be working if the mechanic who fixed the seized engine hadn't disconnected it for some unknown reason)...


...and where would we be without the state of the art means of hearing music in those days - the eight-track cartridge player? Admittedly every one of the tapes I found in the boot (that's the trunk if you're American) sounds awful, but I don't care...


...wind-up windows are so much better than electric. You can get them precisely right...


...the map reading light above the speaker grill...


...the door lever has a lovely firm clunk...


...and for rear passengers there are reading lights on each side...


...and coat-hooks for the Italian leather jacket...


...thankfully the rear ashtray has never been introduced to a cigarette...


...now here is a beautiful design...


...the rear window can be opened just enough to cool down the lady, without spoiling her hair...


...the arm-rests in the rear are perfectly angled for maximum comfort...


...the wonderful heater and de-mister controls in between the front seats are perfectly positioned to adjust by the driver...


...how brilliant! Quarterlight windows that can be opened just enough to let in a small breeze, without spoiling my hair...

...and the perfect 'ping' sounds just right as the clasp shuts tight...


...they didn't need to make the seat-back adjuster in chrome, but it's rather nice that they did...


...the seats are not quite leather, and they tend to get very hot, but that's not usually a problem in English weather...


...it's something of an art to reduce the manual choke by just the right amount at the right time...


...I sometimes wish I could be on the passenger side, so that I couls see my smiling face in the vanity mirror...


...another light. This one above the wing mirror...


...a design classic. The ventilator can swivel to push the air in any direction, so long as you remember to adjust the slider control below...


...always a comfort to see there's enough benzina for a journey of fifty miles or so...


...and a relief to see the acqua is under the red...


...and that the olio is circulating as it should.


The pictures above are the reasons why I'm in love with Alfonso!
The pictures below are more reasons why I'm in love with Alfonso...


...there's a sock drying on the aerial because we became stranded on Mersea Island as the tide came in and I got wet feet...


...we had to wait an hour before the tide went out and the road re-opened...


...here we are on Wivenhoe Quay...


...in front of A Boat For My Potplants...


...being a Fiat, the bodywork sometimes needs attention...


...especially the wheel arches...


...it's nice to drive to the farm-shop...


with the dogs in the back...


...Mersea Island...


...the recent MOT failure meant some essential welding work was needed...


...but now it's all done, and we're back in the driving seat!
















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1 comment:

  1. Loved your story and photos, Neil; Never sell Alfonso The Second.

    Dana Merrill
    Orlando, Florida

    ReplyDelete