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a brief history

fiat 131 sport

In the days before the internet a man came to photograph your car to advertise in the Autotrader, and that magazine was the size of a phone directory.

In those years we owned several cars fitted with the great Fiat 2 litre twin cam motor. We were impressed with the engine's power and performance, and it's ability to tolerate a little abuse



Pictured here is a rusty 131 Sport, with orange upholstery, coming home with us. The body looks much better than it actually was.

Vauxhall Firenza Fiat twin cam

This Firenza had a 2 ltr twin cam fitted, it had an Avanti head, twin 40's and an Abarth 5 speed gearbox. This car was

very fast! too fast, and had trouble stopping, but went sideways

in a lovely predictable way.

The head gasket blew at Santa Pod one time, and many other niggles which should have warned us against choosing an Italian motoring future.


But we decided if these cars were so good, how good would a car be with this engine, a turbo, fuel injection and 4 wheel drive? What could possibly go wrong?

Firenza droop snoot twin cam

It w

Delta 8 valve

It was therefore decide we should look for a Lancia Delta, so the Autotrader was searched and a suitable car located in South West England, we went down to see it.


The car was dark grey, I was impressed with the gay striped seats and the lovely engine sounds. When the seller took us for a ride, I was even more impressed.


We did a deal and brought the car home. On closer inspection

some front panels were red inside, and the front chassis leg was so close to the engine, the cam belt couldn't be changed.


The car was jigged and widened out again. I noticed cracks in the roof over the door frames, I burnt through the metal trying to weld them up, I wasn't used to such thin tin!

We got the car running safely, with a 16v bonnet, our young 'un was taking the car to uni in the Midlands.


We decided the best thing was to make a small Martini decal for each door, this I did.


The Delta was duly thrashed, the oil foaming like a cappuccino as it proceeded around the Midlands.

Delta hf turbo
delta 8 valve rolled

The 8v went back in the Autotrader, no picture was required this time, a description explained it, someone did buy the car, a spares car for rallying I think, it's pictured here being collected, it drove itself on to the trailer.


Well, what to buy next? Another Integrale, a 16 valve of course!


That car's up next, it's survived me putting it through a hedge, and many happy trips to it's home country.

Lancia Delta 8 valve crashed

Over the next few weeks the 8v's clutch cable broke in a jam on the M6 outside lane, causing difficulties. The fuel pipe split just behind the engine, again on the M6, again causing difficulties.  Many other problems arose on most days.

Through all these problems the little car went like stink, testing our young 'un and his rally driving skills. He met his match however, and when on the limit out in the countryside, flipped the Delta. A road like this looks inviting, and as I myself know too well, it's easy to go faster and faster until a disaster finally happens. Anyway, our lad clipped the kerb and wrote the Delta off. 

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