There’s a lot of text and a LOT of photos here. It’s basically me trying to figure out my own thoughts on these two Australian Fulvias. Feel free to climb inside my mind.
I’ve been looking at Fulvias for a few months and I’m coming to a point where a decision is warranted – which one do I pursue?
The situation has changed a little since I last wrote about Fulvias. Another car has come on to the market here in Australia. We’ll it’s returned to the market. This car was sold on Ebay a few weeks ago but the sale fell through so it’s now available once again.
With two Fulvias available in Australia, the overseas options are temporarily shifted to the sidelines. So let’s take a closer look at these Australian cars and perhaps you can help me choose.
1968 Fulvia in Red
I was watching this car when it sold on Ebay a few weeks ago. I didn’t bid on it because there were a few things that concerned me at the time. First, the seller told me a couple of things on the phone that weren’t mentioned in the ad – like the fact that the spare parts would only come with the car if it reached a certain price. I didn’t think that was fair.
I had a friend take a look over the car and there were some things about its condition that weren’t mentioned in the ad, either. Some (possibly) questionable body work and a reasonable size oil stain at the bottom of the engine bay.
Back when the car was on Ebay, I mentioned on this site that I wouldn’t be surprised if the sale fell through because the car was not described correctly in the ad. It seems that’s come to pass so it’s back on the market again.
Lars (my test-driving friend) took a bunch of photos for me, which are included in the gallery below. I think the car will need some work but it’s basically OK. I’m more wary of the seller.
Here’s the first gallery of photos, the ones featured in the Ebay ad.
As with all these galleries, please click to enlarge.
It looks pretty sweet there, right?
It’s been done up to look like a HF rally car. It’s not a HF. It’s a regular 1.3 Rallye with a some flares, wheels and stickers. I’d remove the stickers but I’m happy with the flares and the wheels. In fact, the flares, wheels and steering wheel are very attractive items and they’re difficult and expensive to replace. That’s one of the attractions of this car.
It runs OK, too. My friend Lars had a chance to drive it. As expected, the engine note was totally addictive but it also got down the road OK. It’s not fast – Fulvias are more about carrying speed than acceleration – but it’ll keep up with traffic OK.
Lars also took some extra photos and sent them to me. These photos show the real condition of the car, the details that the photos from the ad don’t show you. In this collection you’ll see some cracks in the paintwork (not really OK, but indicative of some poor preparation or worse), some faint surface rust (OK), some cracks in some of the interior surfaces (understandable), some oily bits at the bottom of the engine bay (to be checked) and some missing window seals (not great).
My thoughts on the red Fulvia:
I like the stance of the car and the wheels, flares and steering wheel are very desirable accessories. It’s likely I’d look for those down the track anyway so getting them on the car from the get-go is a bonus.
The seats are from a Subaru but the seller says that he has the original seats and seat belts. The original seats need refurbishment.
It runs but the engine will need to be looked at to determine the cause of the leak.
I’m getting Lars and a friend of his (bodywork expert) to take another look, focusing on the integrity of the subframe. If it checks out, I think this’ll be a car that could be used with minimal attention while saving up for the fiddly bits that’ll need to be addressed down the track.
Having said all that, I’m quite wary of the seller and therefore I worry about what secrets this car might hold.
I reckon this car could be bought for a figure in the mid-teens. Around $15,000 should do it and that should also secure a bunch of spare parts that the seller has. The problem is that it’s proving hard to get that list of spare parts out of the seller so I don’t even know what to expect as far as the parts are concerned (the seller’s not the easiest bloke to deal with).
Thankfully I’m buying the car and not a relationship with the seller. It’s tricky, but I think the car’s worth the investigation.
1967 Fulvia in Blue
I told this car’s story on site here just a few days ago:
This Fulvia Coupe has an interesting history – if only it could be verified. The owner’s story goes like this….
He bought the car in the early 1980′s and it had been off the road for 5 years at that point. He’s never registered it, either. It still has the registration sticker from the last year it was on the road legally, in 1977. The owner was young and moved around a lot for work in country Victoria, so never got to work on the car as he wanted to. Time passed, he got married and had kids. The car has been sitting in his in-laws’ garage for nearly 15 years now in non-rusty Canberra. He claims the mileage – just 22,000kms – is genuine.
Unfortunately, none of this is documented. It’d be a great low-mileage history and I don’t doubt the truth of it when it comes from his mouth, but in order to form part of the car’s history when it passes from one owner to another, you need to be able to back it up. That old registration sticker is about as good as the proof gets.
I took a look at this car myself while visiting Canberra a few weeks ago. The car hasn’t been started in 10 years. It hasn’t been registered for 36 years!!
That means there’s a hell of a lot of work to do. The seller is a very nice guy who I’m not wary of at all. He swears black and blue that the engine is absolutely fine. He even mentioned some work being done to the engine but I didn’t get the timeframe for that. Bottom line, though, an engine that hasn’t run in 10 years is going to need some work and if you go into a purchase like this thinking otherwise, you’re kidding yourself. Then there’s the brakes, all the plumbing, the suspension, etc, etc.
Thankfully the interior’s in fantastic condition with the seats having accommodated absolutely no-one since they were refurbished some time ago. They look sensational.
Time for the photo gallery:
My thoughts on the blue Fulvia….
There’s a hell of a lot to like about this car and there’s a lot that frustrates me. It has a great backstory and low mileage, although that history is totally undocumented. You have to hope that it’s non-use over the years would come through as being genuine in the restoration.
I would hope that this car could be bought for under $10,000. There’s most likely $20,000 worth of work to be done. The seller wants a price in the low teens, but I don’t think that’s a fair representation of the work that has to be done.
What really appeals to me is the romance of this car. It’s basically been without any meaningful purpose for more than 30 years. The idea of bringing it to life again and learning about these wonderful cars in the process is a very, very appealing idea.
The downside is that that’s going to take some time and a whole lot of money. I’d like to drive something in the near term.
If you’ve got this far, congratulations and thankyou.
Both are genuine options and I need to figure out which one I’m going to pursue more aggressively this week.
I’m drawn by the blue car’s story and I’m wary of the red car’s owner, but then the red car is set up almost exactly as I’d like to set up a Fulvia myself. And while the red car will need attention to the body down the track, it’s basically a driveable proposition right now (albeit with a little oil leak to attend to). The blue car will need a lot of work but I think the payoff for that work will be huge – a genuine low kms car that you’ve basically brought back from the dead. I really like that idea, even if I lack the skills right now to bring it to fruition myself.
Your thoughts would me most welcome in comments.