Author Archives: Noel

ALR/VSCC Autumn Leaves Run April 17, 2016

Front cover VSCC

One of my photos made the front cover.

A combined run with the Australian Lancia Register getting together with the Vintage Sports Car Club of Victoria.

Organised by the great, and very cunning, Russell Meehan, he picked a route that incorporated some challenging twisty roads and some unsealed tracks in and around Yarra Glen finishing at the Kinglake Pub, in Kinglake!

For me the morning began at 6.30am for the 180km trip to the start at Beasley’s Nursery in Warrandyte. It was cool but clear, watching out for kangaroos and wombats we made the trip at a quick pace, the newly set up front end let us sit a comfortable 100km/h on the Bass Hwy and Monash Fwy, we arrived just before 9am. Time for a coffee and a chat and a look at some of the cars before heading off at 9.30.

Russell had found some interesting, steep and dusty little back roads to Yarra Glen for morning tea. 1070 was performing very well, she only jumped out of 1st gear on a steep rough section.

The route to Kinglake had us zig zagging down little forest tracks through dry and dusty countryside. Evidence of the tragic 2009 bush fires still noticeable in the eucalypts forests. There were plenty of corrugated sections to test for loose connections and let in the dust, I somehow managed to get at the back stuck behind a train of Lambdas. (note to self; next time we are going on unsealed road leave first!)

I think we all managed to make it to the pub for lunch, some took the easy optional sealed road route. Lunch was pleasant in the shade of some autumn trees before I had to head off for the 3 hour trip home back via Toolangi and down the C411 through Healsville, Cockatoo and Pakenham. In all I did 509km, used about 45 litres of unleaded, no oil or water. The front brakes started pulling to the right after some of the rough sections but she had no other problems and with the newly aligned front end we could easily sit on 100km/h where the roads allowed.

The route:

Stage One: Home to Beasley’s Nursery Stage one map

Stage Two: Beasley’s Nursery to Yarra Glen Stage Two Map

Stage Three: Yarra Glen to Kinglake Stage Three Map (Google doesn’t  show Gordon’s Bridge Road connecting to the Melba Hwy)

Stage Four: Kinglake to Home – Stage Four Map


If you want to have a go and follow the route here are the instructions:

Autumn Leaves route notes 2016

On The Front Cover

Front cover

Look who is on the cover of the latest Australian Lancia Register magazine!

Jeff Hill’s award winning photograph from the last Castlemaine Rally and Tour.

It is with great pleasure I announce the winner of the Castlemaine 23 Rally and the Mountain to Surf Tour Photo Competition. Whilst many entries were received, Jeff Hill’s photo of “mingling around an Aprilia” captured the spirit of Castlemaine, the add on Tour and the Australian Lancia Register, which might be described as follows; “Of like-minded people getting together, helping each other.” The fact that all the chaps are colour co-ordinated with the car is a bonus.The photo is of Noel Macwhirter’s Aprilia being admired/discussed by, from the left, Neil Pering (owner of a 2nd series Aprilia), Andrew Cox (owner of a 1st series Aprilia), Ben Courage (owner of a 1st series Aprilia), Paul Tullius, Steve Peterson, John Brenan and Noel Macwhirter (of course the owner of this Aprilia). The chaps are looking serious, hence the caption.

Just to clear things up there was nothing wrong with 1070, we were just having a chat over our early morning coffee at Apollo Bay. And what a fine bunch of bearded, grey haired old buggers we all are!


Pre Castlemaine 23

October every odd year means it’s time for the Australian Lancia Register’s Castlemaine Rally. This year it is number 23.

Lancia owners around the country are sweating in their garage performing last minute fixes, some small, others almost gargantuan.

This year I tried to avoid the last minute scramble, how organised am I? As mentioned in a previous post I’d overhauled the front brakes but after the last ALR run there was just a bit too much of a whine from the differential.

On the Narrywoolan* website you can read my two previous attempts to fix the problem. This time I entrusted the magic expertise of Mike The Three Wheeler to help me set it up correctly. Taking the whole back end out for the third time was fairly easy. Stripped everything down and got Mike over to help. Sorry I didn’t get any photos of what we did but using some gear marking paste, moving the pinion in and out and shifting the shims on the diff we seemed to get a much better pattern on the gears.

Diff 2015-033

Dropping the rear end. Simple job, remove hand brake cables, top hydraulic brake line on diff, fibre coupling on prop shaft and the four sub-frame bolts!

Diff 2015-058

Diff 2015-101

I took the opportunity to paint everything and clean up the André rear dampers.

Diff 2015-076

André damper with one broken friction disc. Got a new set from the UK, cleaned all the oil and grease off, applied a light smear of SKF LGHP2 grease.

Diff 2015-183

Mike recommended trying some Red Line Shockproof Gear Oil in the diff. Once everything was back in place and a few short runs everything seemed OK. However a longer 200km trip revealed some diff noise at highway speeds and, on return, a more than normal oil leak from the pinion shaft.

Diff 2015-103

The offending leaking pinion shaft.

Diff 2015-109

Even though there is an oil slinger and a modern lip seal it still leaks down the spline end of the shaft. Anyone have a better solution??

After some head scratching and consultation of the factory manual I decided to try some Penrite Gear Oil 140. It’s a mineral oil and the same 140EP spec as the original factory recommendation. Some further long test drives and the diff is now very quiet and the leak is just small. I’ve never been able to come up with a satisfactory solution to stop the leak in the early design of 1070’s diff. Lancia changed the design later in 1937 to incorporate a better system of seals.


Just to annoy me 2nd gear has become difficult to select when changing down from 3rd but it will have to stay that way for the time being. With less than 4 weeks before the rally I’m not going to risk swapping gearboxes as the spare, although all seems to be in excellent shape, has never been run.

From October 16 I’ll be posting a daily blog on the rally.


ALR Retirees Overnight Run

ALR logo

The run was basically in my backyard so 1070 & I had no excuse, even the ancient critter could handle a couple of days inside by himself.

Day One.

Organised by Russell Cayley the first stop was the Caldermeade Farm café for a midday lunch. For me a drive to Leongatha then down the South Gippsland Hwy through Korumburra and on to Caldermeade, a nice little 100 km. The weather was a little grey and very cold, about 10 degrees, with some morning drizzle. Luckily I managed to get past the B Double cattle truck full of very wet cattle without getting covered in you know what. The new front brakes performed very well; on the other hand the diff was noisier than it had been, a job to do next.

For lunch we had about 12 Lancias, a Lambda, my Aprilia, Aurelia B12, Appia 3rd series, 3 Fulvia Coupés, Beta Sedan, Beta HPE, Beta Coupé &  a Monte Carlo.

The Cafe was warm and the food good. Much conversation was had, the Sliding Pillar Rally, trips around Bordeaux, buying Fulvias and Flavia brakes seemed to be the course at my end of the table!

For the afternoon Russell had given us a list of alternate routes and different sights to see. I took a blast down the Bass Hwy, if an Aprilia can actually blast, through Wonthaggi and around the delightful coast road from Cape Paterson to Inverloch. A stop to view the sights and feel the windchill at Eagles Nest, coffee at Inverloch and then on home to Venus Bay, about 205 km in total.

The others headed on to overnight at Meeniyan and dinner at the pub.

Day Two.

An earlier morning start and just a little colder than yesterday. Gloves & jacket is all us hardy Aprilia drivers need to keep the cold at bay, none of these modern heater thingys.

Drizzle, slippery roads and sun glare made driving a little difficult. The mornings destination was Agnes Falls just above Toora, about 70 km from home. The overnighters had a simple run along the South Gippsland Hwy from Meeniyan. With recent rains there was a fair amount of muddy water flowing over the falls.

Next we headed back to Mirboo North and a look at Colin Kiel’s motoring collection. And then lunch just down the road at Cafe Escargot, snails! Little tasteless spongy things, still you have to try them at least once. Finally everyone finished their coffees, backed up and headed on home. All in all a very pleasant two days, good company, about 400 km driving on my very average South Gippsland roads and the Aprilia went very well.


Another report and further photos are on the Australian Lancia Register website:


p.s. Brian Long couldn’t believe that I only had ONE Lancia; he seemed to indicate I should have at least two but preferably four! So all donations of rust free pre 1969 cars will be gratefully accepted, Fulvia, Flaminia, Flavia, Aurelia or Appia, any model. Please contact me with details where I can collect your unwanted Lancias.

Front Brakes. New wheel cylinders and linings.

Recent comments about “wooden brakes” and the like from other parties encouraged me to investigate the Aprilia’s braking system. The rear brakes had been re-lined and wheel cylinders refurbished only a couple of years back so my attention turned to the front pair.

The shoes had been re-lined and the wheel cylinders sleeved back in 2008 but an inspection revealed all was not well in there. Both wheel cylinders were leaking and pretty much seized and the linings had virtually no wear, after 8 years something was very wrong.

Leaking cylinders and lining with no wear!

Leaking cylinders and linings with very little wear after 8 years!

Old wheel cylinder

On to the Cavalitto website to see what parts they had for brakes:
Two new front wheel cylinders and a set of brake linings were despatched via UPS

New parts

New linings and new alloy wheel cylinders

The shoes went of to BGT to get re-lined. Here I was advised not to use the supplied rivets but to bond the new linings. I don’t know why but they always coat the nice alloy shoes with some yellow/brown gunk that won’t come off, I guess no one sees them but I far and away prefer the clean alloy look.

New Cavalitto linings bonded to shoes

New Cavalitto linings bonded to shoes

The new cylinders were bigger than the old Lockheed originals, about 10mm longer and the piston 3mm greater diameter but I was assured by BGT they would be fine, just give a ‘higher pedal’

Top; new wheel cylinder, bottom old Lockhead cylinder

Top; new wheel cylinder, bottom old Lockheed cylinder

Old Lockheed cylinder

Old Lockheed cylinder

New Cavalitto wheel cylinder

New Cavalitto wheel cylinder


New wheel cylinder and re-lined shoes

New wheel cylinder and re-lined shoes

After fitting the new cylinders and shoes, bleeding the system using the one person bleed method and adjusting the shoes the first test drive revealed all was not well; the brakes were not releasing correctly and partially locking on! After much head scratching, more bleeding and adjusting the problem didn’t go away. An email was fired off to Cavalitto with the reply to make sure everything was cleaned with alcohol and the workshop manager would get back to me after the weekend. Advice from Puce Goose & Stainless Stephen thought muck in the master cylinder would definitely be the problem, what do they know?? I thought maybe the flexible brake lines were blocked or collapsed. In a moment of rational thought I phoned Mike the Three Wheeler, automotive engineer extraordinaire who lives not that far away. He was going to be driving past the next day and could stop for a look. Mike’s diagnosis was the master cylinder residual pressure check valve didn’t need to be there with the new wheel cylinder piston seals.

New wheel cylinder with modern seals

New wheel cylinder with modern seals

Removed the master cylinder from the car, always a fun job with not much room, stripped it down, found the inside to be spotless, and removed the inner rubber from the check valve.

Master cylinder hidding underneath the car

Master cylinder hiding underneath the car

Rubber valve removed from residual pressure relief valve

Rubber valve removed from residual pressure relief valve

Reassembled the lot, bleed the system again and adjusted the shoes. This time the brakes didn’t seize and stopped extremely well. A nice progressive pedal with room to heel and toe, and pulled up in a nice straight line. Once the linings are bedded in they will only improve, but right now its are the best they have ever been. A reply from Cavalitto on the Monday said new return springs for the shoes would have helped and probably worked, but doing what Mike suggested was also ok.


Instrument Switches

When I got 1070 the instruments switches were not the originals, I believe they were amongst the items lost during the UK restoration when the first company went bankrupt, so they had substituted these.

Non original switches with my labels!

Non original switches. The labels were to help Ben when he drove the car in 2013!

Earlier this year another Aprilia owner kindly donated two of the push button ones and a back panel they are all fixed to. Then, inspired by Andrew’s comment that my trafficator switch was fitted upside down and ergonomically inferior, I asked our friends at Cavalitto if the had any of the top type. They do, a nice modern reproduction.

Instrument switches-002

Bottom push button switch

Switches from cavalitto

Reproduction switches from Cavalitto.

Now the wiring under the dashboard is not exactly in the neatest condition. With extra wires for two flasher cans, a buzzer circuit for the indicators, some extra earth connections and a high beam relay not helping. The ideal solution would be to pull the dashboard off and sort it out, but I have a friend dropping by later in the week and every time he’s been the Aprilia was in bits and he’d never had the chance of a drive, so the for the time being I just fitted the new switches.

Instrument switches-008

It’s actually worse than it looks…

I rearranged them in close to the original positions, well sort of! Power to my fuel gauge is hard wired, it should go through a push and hold switch (1) and the high beam is switched via the top right switch (6), should be on the headlamp switch circuit with the ignition key(4), see the drawing for the correct locations and the following photo for my layout.

Page -011

New switches. Top left wipers, top right high beam, bottom left dash lights, bottom right interior lights

New switches. Top left wipers, top right high beam, bottom left dash lights, bottom right interior lights

So despite the wiring mess they worked and look much better than the others. Next project is to replace the front wheel cylinders and re-line the front brake shoes.


FCDC April 26th


The second Fish Creek Drivers Club unofficial Sunday morning get together was held on April 26th. The morning’s destination was the 4Cs Motor Museum in Mirboo North.

It was grey and slightly damp when some of us meet at Meeniyan before the short uphill drive to Mirboo North and a coffee stop at the Inline 4 cafe. On this trip I had been joined the previous night by the Puce Goose team, without the PG itself, and Stainless Stephen, with custodian Andrew driving down from Blackburn in time for an 8am breakfast at Venus Bay, how dedicated is that! But then my bacon & eggs and coffee are unmatched…

The museum is the personal collection of Colin and Maxine Keil and is set up in their old factory site at Mirboo North. Colin gave us a guided tour of his collection filling in details of each car and his growing memorabilia collection. We also got to have look through his rather large collection of mostly Jaguar parts and spare cars. Maxine was most encouraging in trying the get us to take big chunks away with us! The space Colin has available is quite large and as we all know these seem to mystically fill with essential pieces.

The two Aprilias ventured back to Leongatha for lunch at the Rusty Windmill. (which unfortunately has changed hands and was not up to its previous excellent standard). Phil drove 1070 back home. He struggled with double de-clutching, thought the brakes were “wooden’, which is true, and the accelerator needs a stronger return spring. More coffee, a quick look at Andrew’s oil leaks before the visitors headed back to the big smoke. In all a very pleasant little 130 km Sunday drive.

As far as I’m aware the only casualty of the day was Stainless Stephen’s speedo cable. (There is a rumour going around that SS ran out of petrol on the way home!)

Big thanks again to Mark & Sue Alsop and John Poletti. Below are some photos of the day.

Summer fixes.

Not much has happened over the summer, the Aprilia has only had a few short outings and a few tweaks have been done.

Front Suspension Oil. The front left suspensions has a small ‘clunk’ if you grab the wheel and move it in and out. I had replaced the inner bush a few years back that fixed most of the problem but there was still a bit of a noise. This time I checked the wheel bearings, both were fine, them removed the bottom section with the spring to check if the bottom plug was worn, no problem there.

Taking off the bottom plug meant the oil from the top damper section needed to be refiled and any air forced out. I’d always used a 30W oil, recommended by someone in the past, but the manual and long term owners said just use engine oil, in this case 15W-40 mineral. Now the front end had always been a bit ‘light’ and not tracked that well, especially with just the driver. The heavier oil has transformed the whole thing! She sits on the road much better, handles bumps and dips and the steering has improved as well, R.T.F.M.!

Hand Pressure regulator. Another problem was the hand pressure regulator for the André Hydro Tele-Control rear shock absorbers gradually seized. The fix was simply to disassemble the unit and give it a through clean. For the fluid I’d always used the recommended mix of 70% water and 30% glycerine, however over the years the glycerine had gummed up the thread on the adjuster and the little ball valve on the bottom of the reservoir. Taking further advice we realised the glycerine is only there as an anti-freeze, something not really needed in my part of the universe, so from now on I will just top it up with distilled water.

Hand pressure regulator

Hand pressure regulator, after it had been cleaned.

AH adjuster

Inlet manifold drain. If you look at the TAV of the manifold you can see where I’ve circled there should be a drain at the bottom. This has always had brass plug. I had a 38-5209 but was missing a 38-5212 and the correct 4 mm copper tubing. Andrew provided a 38-5212 and I bought some tubing, bent and cut it to length and is now fitted. Most times when the engine is shut off a small dribble of petrol comes out the tube and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with engine performance, I’ll leave it connected for a while and see what happens.



Drain fitted to inlet manifold. Next time I’m under the car I’ll try to remember to get a better photo!

Accelerator Pedal Roller (38-63548). Lastly amongst a collection of Aprilia bits we bought from the UK was nos accelerator pedal roller. The old one had seized and worn badly on one side, the new one rotates freely and looks nice!

Old roller

Old accelerator roller.

new roller

New accelerator roller.


Fish Creek Drivers Club

FCDC logo

Mark & Sue Alsop decided to organise a Sunday morning get together of local interesting vehicle enthusiasts in the area. Amazingly 24 cars, and one tractor, turned up. Most of us seemed to be sea/tree changers of a certain age no longer with the needs of the big smoke, but the fresh air and open roads of the country side an ideal sanctuary to run a classic car, plus the opportunity of a big garage/workshop! The coffee from the ‘9 Acres’ café was excellent, the weather nice and cool and some new, and some old, acquaintances were made.

There were around 5 Triumphs, 2 Lancias, a couple of MGs, a single T Model, Corvette, Mercedes, BMW, VW, Holden, Talbot, Jaguar, Mazda, Valiant, Mustang, Ford Capri, an Elfin and some others I missed!

For 1070 it was just a short 30 km run from home in Venus Bay to Fish Creek and of course she went very well.

Below are some photos from the morning.



I’ve just finished reading this wonderful book and would highly recommend it to any Lancia owner. In Australia the best source is for around $108.00, and worth every cent.

So there are now two books every Lancia owner MUST have on their bookshelf, the other of course is the Lambda masterpiece “CAPOLAVORO” by Bill Jamieson.

Lancia and DV

In Lancia and De Virgilio , author Geoffrey Goldberg examines De Virgilio’s life and career from multiple perspectives. Drawing on a wealth of original documents, technical drawings, and photographs from the De Virgilio family archives, Goldberg reveals De Virgilio’s essential role in projects that defined Lancia during its greatest years in the 1940s and 1950s. These include the development of the first production V6 engine, the launch and refinement of the Aurelia, and management of the company’s short-lived racing program, which produced the classic D50 Formula One cars later fielded by Ferrari.

In addition to engineering and competition, De Virgilio was directly involved in the changes in ownership that reshaped Lancia’s management and standing in the Italian automotive industry. In 1955, the Lancia family sold its controlling interest in the company, leading to its eventual acquisition by Fiat in 1969. Through all of these upheavals, De Virgilio continued to experiment and innovate, working on everything from diesel truck engines to early versions of the unbeatable Lancia Stratos rally car of the 1970s. Whatever the assignment, De Virgilio’s persistent drive for excellence remained a constant element at Lancia until his retirement in 1975.

Despite his technical achievements and popularity within the company, De Virgilio’s contributions have been largely overlooked until now. Produced with support from the Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Lancia and De Virgiliois the product of more than six years of meticulous research. The book is illustrated with hundreds of never-before-seen photographs of De Virgilio at work, at the track, and at home with his family, as well as scores of drawings, blueprints, and other exhibits. But along with this abundance of detail, it also captures the vibrant spirit of Italian family life, culture, and society during the country’s post-war renaissance.

Lancia and De Virgilio is a unique account of automotive and social history, told from the inside.