’77 Fiat 131 4D-Rally


Yes!…A Classic old Fiat 131S to work on and hopefully ready for the Albany Classic “Round the Houses” by the VSCC this year!  Purchased out of Gumtree from a very helpful guy Ben and awaiting arrival from Hobart Tasmania, transported over by CEVA logistics (from Perth side) and ” this ’1977 Fiat 131 Mirafiori  with local (Tasmanian) Rally history much unknown to me  till now, it was put together in 1998 and run in a charity rally (and won it)by Euro Rally Automotive Kevin Crowe a locally known Fiat Rally driver , Google shows some local rallies it drove in and only three pictures, However Mick from T124 forum knew him back in the day and said, Kevin left Tasmania to start a motorbike Touring business in Vietnam!

Legend found! ……Kevin is alive and yes in Vietnam, contacting me back after seeing the post in T124 forum, I am very glad he did!

Quoted email from Kevin Crowe -
“I ran that car for 2 seasons in the Tasmanian Rally championship ,
2000  we got 1st in class 1600 2wd  & 3rd outright .
2001  1st in class & 4th outright….This car use to sit on the street from new 1 owner , the people who owned it were very old & rarely drove it , It had 31,000 km on it when I bought it . Their son came to stay with them & was driving it 1 day & the press light came on  (oilio pressure ) The son not knowing  , ” What to press ” he kept driving , It would come on again so he would press anything he could , horn , switches , even tried to press the light when it came on , & he was happy because it went on & off & the car drove beautifully  until he stopped to get fuel , then it would not go out , it stayed on & he continued his journey back to his parents place & amazingly made it , but when he arrived home that is where it sat for another year , Never moved again . I asked these old people if they would sell it as they had a brand new Ford laser & not using the Fiat anymore ….. I got talking to the old boy , He said , my son drive the car , it go clunkity clunkity a boom out side our house 1 day & it does not go anymore ….. I bought the car for $300.00 & said to myself this would have to be 1 of the best 131 bodys i,ve ever seen & to think it sat outside all its life . Years later I met the son & he told me the story of the day he tried to press everything in the car & never told his parents until 1 day when the ol boy wanted to go for a drive …. he  phoned his son & had asked if he had put an immobiliser on the car because it wont start … he then told his father the truth what had happened about clunkity clunkity a boom …. & they laughed for hours …..”

This car comes with some nice bits! …..low to no rust Fiat shell with LSD/132 Disc rear end, worked 1756cc 132 motor(worn out), connected to a ZF gearbox with extension housing and a complete weld-in Cold drawn 45 rollcage!

Hopefully as VSCC Scrutineering for “Round the Houses” is this month, the ex-rally 131 only needs a Cambelt, aset of NGK Iridium plugs ,Liqui-moli THT20/50 engine oil, basic tunning and she will be almost ready (paint touch-up and sticker removal) ……..Avante!!

Update 29/4/15- It’s here!!!…Just picked up from CEVA Logistics , near the Airport!….

Update 30/4/15- Inspect what the hell I have bought! looks like a 1.8 132 block with ported intake ‘AC’ 124/125 1.6 head, twin 40IDF Webbers mild/standard cams by the look of the pointy bits!……Do all oils service, compression test(x3), plugs and carby balance…oops! compression is super low, cylinder 1-100psi,2-95psi,3 95psi and 4-90psi…yuck!…Decision time tomorrow! …….in the cars defence, it has had a long glorious competitive life!

Update 1/5/15- Test drive after what can be done with an engine on low compression, ok it is bad, all oils have metallic particles in it and drives like Grandma’s wagon!….time to look at options, done! – Rip Engine/box out of rally car ,use the 2ltr built for the other 131 project with the other ZF box into this one!

Update 2/5/15-  Remove very used 132b1 motor and ZF box, Done!

Update 3/5/15- Pressure wash engine bay and full under car, replace worn out top arm bushes rear diff, bring reco’ Fiat 132c2 motor from home(mancave) and assemble to washed ZF box with lightened steel flywheel(5kgs) readied for fitting, scuff engine bay for white paint, fit motor and box to car!

Update 4/5/15- Rub back then paint Engine bay white again!

Update 5/5/15 - Fitting tail-shaft after cleaning, check space for twin Side-draft DLHA45 Delorto’s near fuse box, recess fuse box into cabin 10mm and seal bulkhead with custom alloy plate, refit gearshift interior and start on interior removal of unrequired parts, Rally intercom, etc!

Update 6/5/2015- Off to the exhaust shop Jeff at Carline Malaga to have a single 2 1/4″ stainless system front to back , using a stainless back box 1-in-2 out …..for the Abarth look!

Update 8/5/2015- Back from the Exhaust shop, wonderful job using mandrel bends so not to crush pipe over rear axel!…Ready to be worked on this weekend too!

9,10&11/5/2015- Remove old broken mixed bag of suspension dampers and brake pads/rotors with BOGE Dampers, lowered Lovell springs, cross drilled brake rotors and Ferrodo DS2500 brake pads, rusty brake lines and rubber stuck internally has been a major time waster!

12,13&14/5/2015- Ok we have burnt the candle at both ends and we aren’t done yet! Benny is on race seat mounting, I am steady on radiator,hoses, washer btl,etc. wiring is still an effort between “Rally and Factory” modified spaghetti style wiring to nowhere! ..now onto the electric fuel pump and inlet manifold with Twin 45DLHA Delorto’s!!!

Update 15,16/5/15-  Wiring done to fuel pump, hoses connected to both fuel and radiator, crank case breather bottle converted from 131 radiator overflow bottle done and fitted, Delorto’s fitted(no linkage yet!) MOTOR STARTED first turn! After oil pressure was made with no spark plugs in and fuel circulated through the carbies!

Update 16,17/5/15- now onto more finite details, hose clamps to diff housing holding the brake lines, oil breather tank made from left over radiator overflow bottle , tidy wiring around engine-bay, well as much as you can with the spaghetti type from Fiat!…time to look at seat mountings, exhaust tips and floor carpet back in…for that non-racecar look, hahaha!

Update 20,21/5/15- Reset Camshafts with Vernier wheels, now there where they should be we can Dyno today!!! a quick run around the block and then a run-in on the dyno before a power run, check jetting etc. then back to workshop for the rest of things for scrutineering, tow points, fire extinguisher mounting, sump plug wire to block etc!

Dyno last night cam in at 160hp and 225NM torque , considering the timing was taken out to stop pinging all the way to 4500rpm!….Avgas here we come!

Update 22/5/15- Last day to prep’ the Mighty 131 for final Scrutineering with the VSCC, all done but didn’t finish to 12.30 at night!

Update 23/5/15 and Completion!!!  The 131 has passed VSCC Scrutineering and is now ready for “Round the houses” racing in Albany!!!

Raced at the “Albany Classic” Yes after all the drama of prepping this beast for the Event , it worked to perfection! Beating many cars with more power and status than us!

Update 9/2015- We have just pulled the mighty 131 into the shop again to look her over for the upcoming “Italian Car Day” at the local race track Barbagallo’s, as it was not working as a Fiat 131S should at the Albany Classic, the Genuine Fiat 10/41 LSD was one-wheeling and we lost time to those little escort and cortina’s, pulling it apart can see why, the crown wheel was touching the outer case just,  no noise but some heat! The cup washers had worn the edges off and the washer for packing up the cups were scuffed and the splines on the Drivers side axcel had severe wear!All that is done now onto the front struts to lower and stiffen! have fount the camber plates from a aftermarket coil-over kit to suit a BMW, fit the Fiat 131! …So now we have a new set of struts with H/D lowered Lovell spring under the adjustable camber caster plate!

Update 11-2015- Ok LSD…that didn’t work at the track! pulled apart again and with help from Simon (Allfast Torque Converters) understand more of these old cone type LSD’s , he said they are like a lx Torana …whatever that is? so now back, machined and shimmed up will reassemble and fit , while there do rear wheel bearings ,drill backing plates ,do axel seals and try again!

Update 12/2015- Yahoo ….the cams have come in , a big thanks to Steve.B  for the 304deg (42/82)  twin sticks!…But I must say the 26/66 that was in the car did do a good job for standard 124 sticks!

2016 Brings a kick to the Mighty 131!  – a Set of Cams and larger 39mm venturies to the Delorto 48′s (fitting between Northam and Albany Events),  starting with the suspension overhaul using the modified Bmw 3series coil over kit and sway bars to stop the “Italian Love Boat” lean and sway thing happening! then a tidy up to the body with a full body respray in white inside and out , but the “Eighties” look Blue side strip? Abarth Bonnet and boot in fibreglass!…..original Fiat 131R Plastic front spoiler and wheel Arch extension set!(also before AlbanyEvent)

Update 3/2016- Coil overs finally done and fitted, ready for the FLCC Motorplex day (13th) sits much flatter on hi-speed corners, but need a proper LSD as spins on shorter slower corners!….unless Sideways!!….Fixed LSD!!! just shimmed to the max and now we have a PROPER LSD! Rebuild after the Fiat day it works a treat now, we just passed Scrutineering for entry to the VSCC Northam flying 50!

** Benny Won at Northam Flying 50!!

Update 5/2016- New Camshafts and Vernier Camwheels ,then off to Steve for the dyno , venturi and jetting upgrades for more POWER!!!!…..ISSUE..timing retards after 5800rpm with factory Magnelli spaghetti electronic ignition! Dyno looked very promising , now repairing the situation with BMW Bosch ignition from an early 318i……it pulls 7000+ now but advance is an issue at idle…now to strip the Bmw/Fiat disi’ and modify for more movement in the advance weights and heavier spring tension, so it will be better in the rev’s!

Update 7/2016- After the “Albany” Failure this last month, have removed fuel tank and sender with pick-up and replaced, now putting in a lift pump to mini surge tank feeding a Bosch fuel pump to Delorto DLHA45′s and a return system. Found the original Starter motor was shagged ,so that has been replaced too!

Update 10/2016- Ok we have now exchanged so many things trying to find the fluffing at 6000 to 6500rpm, ignition kits, Delorto’s, disi’s, coils, plugs, cams, cam timing…..and now a change to Webers to see if the fuel is getting on top of the jets!

Update 11/2016- Issue sorted! the weight hanging of the end of the Carbies for cable mounting was too heavy, giving the frequency at 5800-6300Rpm aerated the fuel in the bowels to overflow covering the air corrector jets , now the mighty 2ltr spins happily to 8000!!…..ready for the VSCC Vintage Stampede 27/11/16!

Update 12/2016- Vintage Stampede saw what we thought to be a slight over rev’ and bend all exhaust and one inlet valve, very lucky not to “lunch” the motor! Head is off and we found that one cambox bolt, had worked its way loose over the last 18months of competition to jam under the intake cam, halting the inlet camshaft instantly, this then bent all exhaust valves while flicking the cambelt off. It will be repaired better than it was for next season events! The pistons will come out and machine the fly-cuts to suit the full opening of the cams this time, along with lowering the compression to 11;1 from 13;1 to use pump fuel !!

Update 1/2017-  The Mighty 131 is off getting a 2week  Tidy up while the motor is out, take this opportunity to do the rest, nothing showroom just a cleaner look, all over one colour instead of multi-shade Gold and white-ish! …..Extras? this mighty 131 deserves the 131Racing front spoiler kit  with Abarth 131 Bonnet and boot lid , spoilers in “Fiat” Blue.

Update 2/2017- And while waiting for the “Quick” tidy up………We have rebuilt the 2ltr Twincam with new valves ,guides and seals, not really bad damage for a 7000RPM failure!! Engine reassembled with Dialled in the camshafts after Steve B. fly cut the pistons to take the lift of the new 307deg cams!…. Motor will come together now and then back into car #31 when back from a “Quick” spray job!

Update 3/2017- And while waiting for the “Quick” tidy up…..we have upgraded the oil system to include an oil cooler block between the filter and housing, moved the Magnelli Ignition disi’ from the block mount back upto the exhaust cam mount where it belongs, now Motor and 5Speed are all together sitting in the showroom, if I can’t get it in the car….I enjoy looking at it!

Update 4/2017- IT’S BACK!!!…..Better late than never I guess!?? with a quite a bit of job to tidy up this “quick paint job”, a 2day tidy up job I was told!  Front and rear glass sort-of back in (minus the chrome spreader) and trying now to start on reassembling!?! Naturally a few mod’s just have to happen don’t they?….an Oil Cooler adaption , disi’ move to exhaust cam, a slight change on fuel delivery !(Done)….all readying for Albany in June, Scrutineering mid-May!!!

Update 5/2017- Deadline has past and body/paint not done, so assembly of head and taillights, external fittings etc, cant be done before scrutineering for the Albany Event….Damn Baz!!

This will now sit awaiting my spare time to be ready for the next Event, the “Italian Track Day” at Barbagallo’s in September!!

Update 8/2017- Ok here we go, the Fiat Lancia Club is holding a “Dyno Day” run by Steve from United Fuel Injection in Redcliff early next month, so gotta put the skates on and get the mighty 131 ready!!….body maybe not!!!………………BAZ -FAIL!

Update 9/2017- Body still not done for Italian track day!! I don’t have the time myself to do and am relying on unreliable people BAZ!!!.I don’t care anymore just want the bloody thing on the track, not the workshop hoist!!!!

Update 1/2018- After more that 12 months of excuses/reasons/drama/Lies and headache from BAZ, trying to get this Mighty 131 a tidy up (should not have bothered giving a loser a second chance!) ,have now found a semi-retired gent Wayne.. that does know his craft …he maybe 2hrs away but worth the drive!!! he will strip away the multiple paint runs and properly prep’ for repaint for less than I paid to the first guy! Now we moving forward! in that I have also thrown away those china made Vernier cam wheels due to cambelt walking on the cogs!! Bought from Steve B. aset of Vernier camwheels, suspected tobe turned up by our Australind Friend, brilliant machine work only abit heavy , so now I turned them down on the lathe , only were the metal doesn’t do anything but make centrifugal weight!..and paint to look pretty!!…bought a fibreglass Intake airbox for the twin DCOE45′s along with one piece alloy billet Ram tubes!

Update 3/2018- Back from Wayne the New Spray painter and looking F.A.B……very quickly put together (4hrs) to look ok for the Shannon’s Car Show at Ascot Raceway!

Update 4&5/2018- After the Shannon’s car show, we had to get down to making it go as good as it looked ready for the “Albany Classic”! Next Steve on the Dyno with cams now in the correct position, after valves were set back into seats for more lift before collecting the piston at last years Stampede!

Update 5/2019- Not much, just a refresh in Fire extinguisher ,seatbelts and “R-Spec’” rubber! …readying for the “Albany Event” again!


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