It is beginning to look as though Yorkshire is the centre of the world for Barchetta Spares & Repairs! We seem to have a wealth of Barchetta friendly garages and spare parts suppliers in that neck of the wood. I am prompted to say that after our member Iain Menneer wrote to me about his experience with sourcing a new exhaust manifold for his red 1995 car. Iain explained that his manifold had developed a hole and that his garage had difficulty sourcing a replacement. An original equipment one was not available and Iain had doubts about paying £500 for a replacement from an unknown source. He finally decided to “bite the bullet” and have a bespoke manifold made by Len Sheene of Pipe Tech, Hunmanby, North Yorkshire http://www.pipetech1.co.uk/
Tel 07927 385368
You will see by the picture that a very high quality product was supplied. Forgive me for saying but I’m sure it will outlast most of the rest of the car!
Iain said,”It took a while to make as this was a first for Pipe Tech. They did a fantastic job and there was no problem fitting it. I was sent very clear instructions for my garage to fit and run-in the new manifold. It is made entirely from Stainless Steel whereas the original was a mix of stainless and mild steel. I would definitely recommend Len.”
Len Sheene said.”It was a time consuming job but I am delighted with the end result and very pleased that Iain is happy. Should I be asked to make another the price would be in the region of £750.”
So should anyone find themselves with a similar issue here is an account of how one member found a solution with which he is very happy.
I am pleased to be able to tell you that interest in joining our club continues. We have three new members that have joined us so far this month, bringing our membership total to 133 members.
Here is an article from our first new member of the year, Julian Strutt of Ipswich. Here he describes his trials and tribulations of Barchetta ownership over the last decade. Thank you Julian for sharing your experiences and hope we meet you soon. That reminds me that anyone wishing to join the 2017 meeting in The West Country should speak up ASAP. Ten confirmed cars so far with others almost ready to confirm their attendance!!
All good wishes for now
In truth I didn’t intend to buy a Barchetta (but I am glad that I did!) – I had owned an Alfa Romeo 146 and went to a garage near Stansted airport in April 2006 to buy an Alfa Spider – however I took one out for a road test and hated it. Luckily in the back of the garage was this car – they couldn’t move it as it was stuck in the corner so I went back with my wife the following week, test drove it and loved – even more so as it was unique– It was a one previous owner car, first registered in July 2003 and just over 25,000 miles when we bought it.
As it was still within its 3 year warranty, I took it to my local Fiat Main Dealer and it had a load of warranty work done including a new variator, new clock (!), amongst other things. Just to put things in perspective I was at my local Fiat Main Dealer a few weeks ago (my daughter has just taken delivery of a Fiat 500) and they didn’t know what my car was!
So what have I done to the car over the last 10+ years? Not a huge amount and it has been a daily driver throughout that period for both me and my wife yet we have only just passed 60,000 miles.
Within a year of having the car I did take it to DTR (their old premises in East Sheen) for a service and I had a strut brace fitted. Hoever as that is a long trip I discovered Avanti Autos in Ipswich and they have looked after the car ever since (Mario). I have only ever seen one other Barchetta in their garage at the same time as mine which I believe was owned by a former member of staff.
I very rarely see other B’s in this part of the world – again back in the early days of ownership I did meet up with some other B owners (arranged through Facebook) and I have been to an Italian car event at Brooklands but these have been one off events.
The car has been out in all weathers – only in the past 4 years has it been garaged. I have been involved in a couple of non fault claims – a neighbour reversed into my driver's door (I still need to sort out the door card fixings as they have never been right since it was repaired) and a neighbour's fence blew onto it when parked – luckily his insurance paid for nearly a whole body respray and some new headlights!
Recently I have had to replace the softop roof as the plastic window cracked and tore (age). I picked up a complete roof on ebay for £100 – when I collected it, I was pleased to find that it was a mohair roof so I was able to have a straight swap with the exisiting roof – bargain!
I have also bought a few bits and pieces from Henk at barchettaparts.com – the small door speakers, rear view mirror. I do want to replace the rubber seals on the softop at some point but the cost!!!!
The most recent purchase was my hardtop – I have been after one for a while and finally have got a Wiesmann – apparently only 270 were originally made. I had to drive to the Netherlands to get it but it was well worth the trip (It is currently on the car – see photo). The fit is excellent plus it is made of fibreglass. I did have to use Avanti to get the heated screen to work but it works fine now.
My wife and I both love driving the car and we often take it up to the top of Norfolk or to the coast – it is a car that we will always keep as it is unique and fun to drive.
I do have a passion for other Italian vehicles – this is my daily ‘driver’ to the station – I have had this from new (1986) and recently had a bare metal restoration to keep it going for another 20 years plus!
There are a few things I do need to sort on the car – front bumper needs a repair or replacement, the drivers door card needs some new fixings and I think a replacement variator / major service is due in the next few months!
Hope to see some more B’s on the road soon!
There's been a great response to the request circulated last month to club members for recommendations of their trusted garages (see article below 'UK Recommended Garages Database'). The new database can be viewed on the link below and this is updated whenever new information is received from members.
We'd love to add to the list so if you have a trusted local garage please send details to Martin Garrad, membership secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Club members David and Kim Davies (Hertfordshire) have recently returned from a real adventure in La Belle France. During his trip David suffered a worrying hiccup with his Barchetta. This was overcome and he and Kim obviously enjoyed a fabulous trip to a classic rally. David and his wife Kim found friendly and enthusiastic French Barchetta owners and his account calls out for a future visit. Thank you David and Kim for this contribution.
I think everyone will agree about the importance of building a good relationship with a local garage, especially when you own a car now approaching some rarity. I have been prompted to consider this subject following requests from two new members seeking a garage to entrust their much loved cars to.
Our website does, if you dig deep enough, contain an out of date list going back to the late 1990’s. It is of very little use now. How sensible then to compile a list of garages we can recommend to other club members. Many of us do travel away from our local areas in our Barchettas so how comforting to carry a handy list of garages recommended by other members.
Please let us know if you have a trusting relationship with a garage that services your Barchetta and we’ll get that list on our web pages for the benefit of us all. Please include the garage name, address, contact details, and any brief comments you feel relevant.
I am pleased to tell you that our club membership has now crept up to 105. Four new members have signed up so far in 2016. The first new member of the year was John Capon from Feniton in Devon. Surprisingly John is our one and only member living in Devon or Cornwall.
John has kindly put a few words together to tell us about his cars and why he has joined our club. I hope some of us will meet him in Buckinghamshire at our annual meeting in June. Judging by the vast selection of cars that John has loved and owned he is well qualified to judge the qualities of the Barchetta.
John writes: “Since my childhood I have loved Italian cars. When I was 11 one of my Dad’s friends bought a brand new 1976 Lancia Beta Coupe. It looked so beautiful and so different to everything else. I was in love! A few years later, once I learnt to drive, my first car was a Mk. 1 Escort. It was yellow and as I remember it was a 1300 base model. However, it had enough accessories on it to make it look like it was about to enter the world rally champion competition.....Then one day, I spotted a Fiat 127 cheap in the local paper. It was a 1973 hatchback in orange, the original 903cc version. At first it was as slow as a slug, but only because the points had closed up. Following a home DIY service it went like a rocket! I never looked back, it was Italian cars for me! It was only little but loved to rev and made all the right noises. It lived and breathed.
Since then I have owned a Fiat 127, 128, 131, 126, Strada, Croma, (both shapes) Punto, Brava, Marea and Barchetta. I have also owned several Lancias, Delta, Prisma, Beta (sedan, HPE, Coupe, Spider & Trevi.) Gamma, Dedra, Thema & Kappa. Oddly enough I have not owned Alfa Romeos. The modern car I drive is a Citroen but I do also now have my lovely Barchetta, of course.
I had one when they were nearly new and missed it since I sold it 12 years ago. I always said that if I saw one in really nice condition in yellow with black leather I would buy it. Well two years ago that is exactly what happened.
The Barchetta is a great car. It is as pretty as can be imagined, cheap enough to own and run and of course it cannot depreciate. Mine is kept garaged and is much cherished. Once I discovered that there is a club especially for these cars I could not join quickly enough and look forward to meeting like minded owners together with all the little Barchettas parked together.”
PARTS FOR YOUR BARCHETTA
If you are looking for spare parts for your Barchetta you may like to try shop4parts. I have dealt with this company and have found them to be both efficient and competitive. They can supply many spares including cambelts, cambelt kits, variators, steering and suspension components many of which are original equipment.
I have, on your behalf negotiated a 10% discount exclusively for club members. You can obtain this discount by contacting me by telephone (01444 235292) or email email@example.com and I will provide a code that will give you your discount. It is certainly worth checking prices as a comparison.
Martin Garrad (Membership Secretary)
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXTRACT FROM shop4 parts website:
Shop4parts is a family run business, the owner and members of staff have been involved with Fiat's and Alfa Romeo's since the early 1970's. We pride ourselves in being totally independent, meaning we are able to buy our parts from the cheapest sources in Europe!
Our aim is to give you very competitive prices together with a speedy 24/48Hr door to door delivery service. We hope like most of our customers, you enjoy the ease of purchasing your parts online along with our excellent customer service.
UK barchetta Owners Club
11 Bramble Gardens
West Sussex RH15 8UQ
Find barchetta parts at barchetta parts.com visit website for full range of available parts. 10% discount on orders over 100 Euro to UK Club members
Our official club merchandise supplier. BMC Leisure have the club logo digitised for print or embroidery onto a wide range of products from their catalogue
Tough Technology Products
Tough Technology Products provide leading edge, high technology workshop repair, car maintenance and car repair products.
Parts for Alfa-Romeo and Fiat cars with a 10% discount for club members. Contact Martin Garrad for more information