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Author: Subject: Why did old Italian cars rust so badly?

posted on 19/11/06 at 03:55 PM Reply With Quote
Why did old Italian cars rust so badly?

Or indeed many old cars for that matter? Sixties/seventies and some eighties Italian and French, Japanese stuff from the Seventies & eighties, British cars from time immemorial were known for body panels turning back into their original form, i.e. iron oxide, at the merest sniff of moisture, but why was this? Was the steel awful quality? Was it that undersealing was optional rather than standard? I know that Italian manufacturers were government-mandated to use a certain quantity of scrap steel in car production so I assume they used it where quality mattered least (not engine or chassis). Anyone know?

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flak monkey

posted on 19/11/06 at 04:10 PM Reply With Quote
Its just the quality of the steel combined with the thickness/quality of the preparation and paint.



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posted on 19/11/06 at 04:23 PM Reply With Quote
cars these days are galvanized and peeps wont buy a tin box that crumbles round them as they drive.
the Italian connexion is they swapped x million tons of re-cycled steel for the rights/tooling to produce the fiat 124(lada) in russia

who cares who wins
pass the pork pies

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posted on 19/11/06 at 04:55 PM Reply With Quote
My regular car is a fiat x1/9 which (while I accept is not to everyones taste) is a masterpiece of packaging and rigidity. The trouble is that it is filled with water traps drained by tiny, easily blocked and inaccesible holes.
Oh yeah ... the metal is really thin and the whole thing feels like is was not built to last. I hope mine keeps going until the Locost is finished.

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posted on 19/11/06 at 05:59 PM Reply With Quote
part of it is due to weather, saw lots of fiat 500s in the south of italy this year, and I'm not talking restored cherishd ones either, also look at the amount of rust free Mg's and triumphs that get imported from california

No ice = no salt = no rust

thought about a fiat 500 for getting to work for a laugh but the prices are just ridiculous in this country

[Edited on 19/11/06 by locogeoff]

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posted on 19/11/06 at 06:43 PM Reply With Quote
An unlucky combination- It's the Russian crappy steel that they used combined with all the salt we liberally stick all over our roads in winter. Add in a pretty wet weather system and you've got tin worm heaven
I guess, they designed them for Italian conditions (hence more originals going strong out there)- we should use stuff designed to deal with salty water (like a submarine )

Then again, maybe it's because the body panels don't have time to go rusty before being changed... They drive like f'ing nutters with shares in the local panel beating company!

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posted on 19/11/06 at 08:00 PM Reply With Quote
who cares?

I don't want to drive italian cars.

That's why they rust so fast.
Nobody wants them
So they don't have to last for long

[Edited on 19/11/06 by t.j.]

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Jon Ison

posted on 19/11/06 at 08:05 PM Reply With Quote
They know how too bolt an engine togethor though.

Had an X19 many moons ago too, used it for oval racing it was that fast they banned it saying it didn't have a fixed roof, mardy sods........

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posted on 19/11/06 at 09:27 PM Reply With Quote
Rust was installed as standard in the factory

Although the worst case I have ever seen was a Ford!

Here is something that may entertain:

The Six Laws of Italian Sports Cars

“The inside of cam covers or other relatively innocuous areas, shall be laced with buttresses, cross-bracing and all manner of esoteric stiffness-with-lightness design, while something like connecting rods shall self-destruct at redline plus 1 rpm due to a basic lack of strength.” An example of this Law is the stunningly beautiful Lamborghini or Ferrari V12s of the late 1960s. They were famous for wearing out all four camshafts in 10,000 miles or less. The cam’s metal appeared to be recycled coathangers, which coincidentally are still in short supply in Italy.

“All Italian Sports Cars, regardless of age, shall have at least one system or component which does not work, and cannot be repaired. Such a part shall never be mentioned in the Official Shop Manual, although there may be an out-of-focus picture shown.” It goes without saying that such parts should never under any circumstances be removed, lest the natural balance of the car be upset.

“All Italian Sports Cars shall be wired at the Factory by a cross-eyed, colour-blind worker, using whatever supplies are within reach. All wires shall change colour-code at least once between energy source and component. All grounds shall be partially insulated.” This tends to guarantee that the owner of such vehicles will eventually be intimately familiar with its electrical system, since he will need to trace out each wire, then rewrite his Official Schematic, which will differ from all others in at least one area.

“The more an Italian car breaks down, the more endearing it becomes to its increasingly irrational owner.” For example, you purchase an Italian Sports car, for all the money you ever hoped to earn, and receive a ticket for air pollution on the way home from the dealer due to the vast clouds of smoke that follow you. Several return trips to said dealer, accompanied by your rapidly dwindling cash reserves, cures the smoking. But now, the engine sounds like a food processor full of ball-bearings. After replacing every component in the car, including the radio speakers, the noise vanishes and is replaced by an odour reminiscent of a major fire in a goat-hair mattress factory. You still keep trying, God help you.

“All parts of an Italian sports car shall be made of a material that is available in inverse proportion to its operating half-life.” Thus, the speedometer hold-down screws are made of grade 8 cold rolled steel, while the valves are of fabricated Unobtanium, made only at midnight by an old man with a pointy hat covered with moons and stars. Such parts will be backordered during the design phase of the car, and will remain so forever. Bribes, pleading and threats will be ignored.

“Any official publications dealing with repair, maintenance or operations of an Italian sports car shall be written such that every fourth word is incomprehensible to the average owner. In the event that a random sentence is understandable, the information contained therein shall be wrong.” This is also known as flat-tyre English, where a sentence flows along nicely, then – Kaboom!



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NS Dev

posted on 20/11/06 at 09:25 AM Reply With Quote
seventies Jap stuff was the worst!

I bought (by mistake) a Suzuki SC100 a while back that was so gone there was nothing to weld to, anywhere on it!!!!!! The steel was paper thin so any rot just destroyed it instantly!!!

I have 2 fiat 126's at the mo and they are really good, even though they are polish built things!

They have both been ziebarted from new and one is totally rot free, not even a bubble anywhere on it even underneath. The other has two holes in the floor and one in the inner wing but is otherwise mint as well.

Would make a cracking bike engined city-fun car!!!

Retro RWD is the way forward...........automotive fabrication, car restoration, sheetmetal work, engine conversion retro car restoration and tuning

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