6/28/2005: Half-a-Car Comes Home

As I’ve mentioned before, many years ago my father got a parts car and stored it in our barn. The deal included a number of new or rebuilt parts, many of which I will be using in this restoration.

However, the requirement was that we also take the car itself, which had basically rusted itself in half over the years of being left outside, unprotected. In order to haul it home, my dad cut it the rest of the way in half, and so it has been stored in two halves in the barn ever since.

I decided to bring the front half of the car to my house so that I could get a better look at it and see if it could contribute any sheetmetal to the repair of the front of my car.

My mom and I loaded it into the back of my truck. It barely fit, but i couldn’t close the tailgate behind it, so folks driving behind me would have seen the dashboard and steering wheel apparently hanging off the back of a pickup. I imagine that was a fairly surprising sight :)

After getting it home and not dropping it on I-84, I decided that I needed some sort of a dolly to load it on, so that I could easily move it around my garage without assistance and without scraping up my garage floor.

I screwed together a few 2x4s and some scrap wood I had laying around and bought 4 caster wheels and bolted them on. The result worked out to be almost the same height as the back of my truck (by luck more than design), and I was able to slide the car off the back of the truck and onto this dolly by myself. I figured “Hey, what’s the worst that can happen? I drop it on the driveway? So what?”

It worked out great! After bolting the body down to it so it won’t slide off, I can easily roll the thing around with one hand, in and out of the garage.

Here’s what by garage now looks like. I’ve christened serial number 40912 Eric the Half-a-Car :)

Even if it wasn’t half a car, it would still be beyond saving. The rust throughout the inner structural parts is amazing, once you look closely. The wiring is terrifying, having been spliced and hacked on for years.

But it’s still useful to me, for reference, for a number of little parts, and to confirm what’s “normal” for a fiat 1500 cabriolet tipo 118K.

Unfortunately the front sheetmetal isn’t perfect.. It looked pretty good until I stripped off some paint- there’s some prior damage and a fair amount of filler in the nose area and under the headlight on one side. But some areas are definitely in better shape than on my car, so it may still provide some pieces, or at least templates.