Sunday, July 15, 2012


MR T, my 1937 Fiat Topolino EuroRod, got a bit more attention during the last week. Above is the custom heater/defroster control panel that I built. The car is very small so I've attempted to make every part in the car do two or more jobs. This panel is no exception. The knob on the left controls heater fan speeds, the slides just to the right
control heat, vent and defrost on the heater "box" itself. The center orange lamp indicates when the secondary direction signal semaphores pop out and flash. The red lamp just below lights up when the emergency brake is "on". The two slides on the right control the outer air inlet door on the side of the cowl ahead of the right door, and the 3 position switch on the right controls the semaphore flashers on each side of the car.

 This shows the INSIDE of the panel and all the gubbins that go into, or onto, it. The flasher units [top right] are for 1] the regular direction signals, and 2] the semaphore flashers.  The latter are just for fun, but they were standard equipment in 1937. 
 This is the inside with all the bits mounted up. Two relays are mounted outside the box [extreme left side].The unit under the box on the left is the intermittent windshield wiper switch [a standard item on '70's-'80's Fiats], and the two flasher units are under the box on the right. It will get a lot more interesting when all the wires are added, plus the five operating cables. Like I said, I like to make one item do a lot of jobs, and this is typical of the whole car.
For some reason the front surface looks grainy in this photo. It isn't--it's smooth. The box is 10.5" wide and 2.75" high.  My wife says I'm having WAY too much fun with this little car. I just look at her and grin and say, "Yeah--ain't it great?" 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This is a "ribbon" speedometer from a model 93 or early 96 Saab. The photo below shows how the poor thing looked when I took it apart---YUK! After I took it completely apart, blew the spiders out, cleaned out the rust and general crud, it began to look a whole lot better.

 The unit has five main parts--the cast aluminum face [top], the clear plastic "glass" [behind the face], the sheet metal number panel, the cast aluminum back case, and the speedometer gubbins themselves [shown here inside the back case].

 I went through several cups of coffee getting the speed drum out and cleaned up. I had to "unfreeze" the input housing with the magnet and the primary odometer drive [extreme right, at top]. The geartrain leading to the odometer wheels was a mess, as usual, and looked like they had been underwater for a few years [they are all cleaned up here, ready to go back in the case and be properly lubed and adjusted].

I painted the case--inside and out--and polished out the badly scratched plastic "glass".  You can see that the odometer is reset to all zeros plus point four miles--the last number wheel is for tenths of a mile. I even replaced the colored  plastic for the indicator lights--seems like those litle buggers are always shot. The small one right under "SAAB" is red, the larger one below that is green. So this remnant of Saab antiquity looks and works like new once again--it's ready for another 50 years of faithful speed-O-ing.  Old Trolls are like that.