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Dino Saga 080511 _ Transportation Car

Discussion in 'Corbani's Corner' started by John Corbani, May 11, 2008.

  1. John Corbani

    John Corbani Formula 3
    Honorary Owner

    May 5, 2005
    1,153
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Full Name:
    John Corbani
    #1 John Corbani, May 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Dino Saga 080511 _ Transportation Car

    Talked to Wheel Concepts. Maybe Wednesday for repaired wheel. In the meantime I’d like to talk about my approach to cars. I got a lot of flak for my strange approach after chiming in on a thread concerning a Barn Find on EBay.

    I am an old engineer. Electronic devices from vacuum tubes through microcontrollers and back. I used them, designed them, taught shops how to build them, taught customers how to use them. My company saw a need for complete production machines for our customers. I designed turn-key vacuum coating systems. Stainless and Aluminum machines for coating semiconductor and optical parts. Hands on engineering until ready for production. Machining, welding, painting, styling, performance. Then marketing.

    All this time, 2 MG TDs, 2 Alfa Spyders, an Alfa Sprint Specialle. Drive to everything, everyday. Wife had her own car. I fixed mine, she went to a good shop. Same today. I use my Dino to go to the market, to Home Depot, to a car show. It is never still if I am in town. I wash it every couple of weeks or for special events. Usually do it myself. Change the oil, clean air filter twice a year. Fix whatever is wrong when it breaks. Never clean engine until I have to work on it or show it off. Same for underside of car. Clean that when tire, wheel, brake problems. Or when it needs alignment. Hardly any TLC. I have repaired so many things by now that I know roughly how far I can let them go before I really sweat them. Get a kick out of every repair.

    Why the Dino if all I want is transportation? Because it fits me perfectly and responds perfectly to my every input. I respect fine tools. I have designed them, repaired them, used them. I like to look at them, admire how form and function are combined. I maintain and repair the car only to keep the form and function. Dirt that I can’t see doesn’t bother me. Rust does. Sand and grit that can get into the works does. I blow things out every now and then. I don’t let the paint get TOO dirty. I vacuum the inside when it needs it.

    The car that prompted this Saga is a barn find, sitting 25 years or more, gathering dust and scratches, abused and suffering fools. God awful mess but, I believe, mostly cosmetic. Lots of pictures that showed dirt and superficial damage. I guessed that, if the engine was basically sound, a long time car guy who does his own work could get the car to something close to my Dino for $20,000 and a year’s part time work. Sitting saved a lot of wear and tear. Detailed how and got howls. Better to spend $80,000-$100,000 and have something to show for the work someone else would have to do? I don’t think so! I would get it driveable and presentable and worry about fine stuff later.

    Took some pictures of what my car looks like when it gets up in the morning. Not the fine sparkle I put on it before a photo shoot or a typical Saga. The inside mechanicals are pretty grim unless I have been working on something. But the pivots are oiled, the timing is on and the carbs are set. A driver that looks pretty good. And feels great.

    John
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  3. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

    Feb 14, 2005
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    Scott
    Agreed, but you do drive your Dino regularly, take good care of it and your Sagas are a wealth of helpful experience.

    Apologies on comments in the other thread, and if you're talking about my response then I didn't mean to flame you. It is, just that the seller is not forthcoming in disclosing and nobody can be sure as the seller is not permitting viewing prior to purchase. You might be right, the car might be a light clean up, gas and go, but one point is that the fabrication Ferrari used for cars up to the Dino (Maserati and others too) was to not to paint the interior of the body panels. Only the outside got any paint and the inside was uncoated sheet steel, meaning the possibility of rust.

    When I bought my Maserati Bora 20 years ago, one of the first things I did was access interior panels where I could (doors, chin, rocker panels, passenger area, briefcase compartment, etc) and was lucky to find only light surface rust. I treated it, primed and painted it.

    You use your car regularly, tend to its needs and have also modded the door to add tighter window seals and improved interior drainage, hence preventing rust. You drive it regularly and give it a chance to dry out and have air circulate around it. When a car sits enclosed for decades it might or might not have rust issues, we just don't know on that car and the seller is not permitted anyone to see it before buying it.

    Scott



     
  4. Tony K

    Tony K Formula 3

    Jun 7, 2006
    1,724
    Toledo, Ohio
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    Tony K.
    Mr. Corbani,

    I read the barn find thread, and as a long-time DIY car guy, agreed with every word you said. It was refreshing to see an actual owner and driver of a more sought-after classic write something like that. I've said elsewhere that a lot of people fawn over these kinds of cars way too much, and I'll add now that many people can't seem to separate a car's level of detailed cleanliness and cosmetic perfection from its soundness and fitness for purpose. And some people can't seem to separate the amount and type of work needed from the market value of the car. And some people are so obsessed with concours-level perfection that they have lost sight of the fact that there is nothing wrong with and much to be happy about a used but well cared for example. Thank you for injecting some common sense into this forum, right where it is needed! :)


    - Tony K.
     
  5. John Corbani

    John Corbani Formula 3
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    May 5, 2005
    1,153
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    John Corbani
  6. alberto

    alberto Formula 3
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    Aug 25, 2001
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    So can you post a link to the thread where this all occured? I must have missed.

    John, most people do treat these cars as if they were Gods. Somehow these same people seem to think that driving a car everyday and using it and not washing it every day is somehow sinful. They are wrong and you are right. I watch with envy people like you who drive these old cars everyday. One of these days I will cure that problem. I will buy an older car to drive everyday. I too will wash it only when I can't stand the dirt anymore, won't clean the engine until I have to work on it, won't vacuum the interior until it gets a bit much. You and others like you are my car world hero's. Don't let the naysayers get to you. Continue to walk to the beat of that different drummer. It's what the rest of us aspire to be.

    Alberto
     
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  8. redline76

    redline76 Formula Junior

    Feb 26, 2008
    266
    John,

    Your "strange" approach should really be the norm rather than the exception! You have my respect for actually driving your Dino and enjoying the thing rather than have it sit forever waiting in a garage. I honestly don't get the point of having a fun car if you're afraid to get it wet/chipped,dented/worn/etc. Thanks for demystifying the Ferrari experience and recognizing that while it is a work of art, it's still just a thing to be used and enjoyed.

    The 85 308 that I'm currently refreshing was owned for 20 years by a guy who had to sell it because he could no longer drive it (in his 80s). The sun faded leather and minor scrapes on the car, along with the dings on the targa panel attest to the fact that he had the top off at every opportunity and wasn't worried about preserving it's perfect condition. Kudos to him, as it's been a rewarding experience for me to bring it back to it's former glory so I that someday I can do exactly the same.

    Cheers,

    Warren.

     
  9. fastjon

    fastjon Formula Junior
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    Oct 14, 2006
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    Jonathan
    Mr. Corbani,

    You are an inspiration to Ferrari drivers and you are absolutely correct in how to own a car, especially a Ferrari. The previous owner of my 328 put the same amount of mileage in 8 years as I have in the past year. In a couple of years I will double the mileage of when I got it. By your sagas I get to enjoy both your experience and feel connected to another driver on the road of life. I enjoy driving mine even though it is sometimes the dirtiest one in a group. I don't know how to work on it myself, if I had your abilities I would be driving it just as much as I do now. If I don't drive it who would? and why them and not me? I might as well enjoy it then.

    If everything has a purpose in the world, clearly Ferraris are to be driven and that is the inspiration you give.

    Jon
     
  10. John Corbani

    John Corbani Formula 3
    Honorary Owner

    May 5, 2005
    1,153
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Full Name:
    John Corbani

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