It started with a kiss!

We've owned a 16v for many years, replacing our unlucky 8v, pictured left. Here's some of its history

Many adventures and malfunctions have happened in our 16v, we bought this white Delta to replace our 8v which had kissed the kerb! The 16v was an Autotrader purchase, before Ebay had taken off. I took the train to collect the car from the Nottinghamshire countryside, and drove back over the M62 with the usual nervousness, but the little car got home ok.

We didn't know much about Lancia Deltas then, just that they were fast! But this car looked pretty good, so a little under £3000 changed hands and it was ours

A programme of fault fixing started, lights, wipers, gauges, the usual stuff. But a fault that couldn't be easily cured was the low oil pressure. The oil light came on at idle, and the bottom end began to sound loose, so after trying all the usual remedies, I bit the bullet and dropped the engine out for a rebuild.

I took the engine to Bill Bannister in Penwortham, near Preston. Bill is an engineer of the old school, he rebores and rebuilds TVR straight sixes for fun, and he told me how turbulent bubbles in the water jacket can puncture a cylinder liner in a BMC diesel engine.

 

Bill always bores the rear cylinder of a Bedford 6cyl a thou oversize, because it can get a bit hot. He's a true genius!

Tanc Barratt helped and advised on the parts required for the rebuild, new crank, oil pump, rings, bearings and consumables etc., delivered straight to Bill. Over the course of time Bill honed the motor and built it up, reassembling better than new. Bill machined a light spiral into the new valve guides, allowing better valve stem lubrication, carefully balancing the new crank too. That kind of attention makes a big difference.

PS.. If anyone tells you a Delta's crank has been reground, that will have removed the Tuftrided hardened treatment, and that's not good.

I popped the motor back in (ha ha!), and eventually got it all hooked up. Running the unit in was to Bill's instructions, vary the speed, not too much idling, that kind of thing, changing the semi-synth after a couple of hundred miles. The engine is a little joy to use, it's happy and free revving, with a cheerful spirited performance.

A hawthorne hedge

After the running in, I took the car out one wet Sunday morning to see how it went.

I approached a country road S bend too fast and steered into the skid. That mistake put me into a hawthorne hedge in the blink of an eye!

I broke the headlights, bumper and grille, and put a hole in my new oil cooler, having just sold the old one on Ebay. The car did still run, so I limped back to the lock-up. Later the angry farmer followed the trail of oil on the wet road, looking to find who had made a hole in his hedge!

Keith at Autointegrale had all the bits in his container to repair the Delta, I screwed them all on, and gave the front end a lick of white paint.

The wife and me enjoy trips to Italy and the Italian GP in this Lancia. The autostradas are tough on the little Delta, but off the highway the car feels right at home, on a mountain pass, or fighting off a challenging Italian motorist.

The Alps through the screen of

a Lancia Delta, no better view!

In the end, the friendly local owner sold me 5 tyres.

He was so charming, and my relief so great,

I just handed over my card!

I pulled into an Italian layby one evening, and hit a large pothole. This pulled the steering out of my hand, and mashed a front tyre to bits. I changed the front wheel, then cleaned myself up in the restaurant we were looking for.

The next day we drove around Bergamo looking for a tyre outlet. As we slowly drove, the space saver spare tyre exploded with a bang so loud, me and the locals thought it was a gunshot! We continued on the flat spare to a tyre repairer.

questo sarà costoso!

Italian phrase book

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