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the Reunion

The B20 left from Chicago to the East Coast Lancia reunion in northern Pennsylvania on a Thursday afternoon. Tony Nicosia came to Chicago to join me on the long drive east. One day to cross Indiana and Ohio, and a second day across Pennsylvania. About 300 miles a day is the max in the car, which ran superbly.

We met the Lancia 6 folks Friday night in Wellsboro, PA, on the northern border, midstate, about 40 miles south of Watkins Glen, in beautiful hilly countryside. Saturday was spent with a glorious wild run through the country – arranged by the East Coast VP and host, Walt Spak. He found  some tight roads. That afternoon, some drove north to the Corning Glass Museum and saw an amazing collection of glass – from old Roman bottles 18” high to incredible 18th and 19th c. excesses and delicate pieces. Recent examples of experimental glasswork were also compelling – most compelling exhibition of glass I’ve ever seen, and well worth the trip for that alone.

This reunion was also special as it had members of both the east and west coasts – rarely seen. From the east, Armand and Shirley de Gigilo, Mike and Mike Kristick, Walt, Mark Wolf, Steermans and Stewarts (both father and son),Bob Williams and Spaces. From the west, the Lancia 6 crew (Petersons, Wakefield, Pering, and Stebbins), joined by Dick and Judy Buckingham and the Katzmans. A great showing, and for a midwesterner always in-between, a real treat to see everyone together.

Saturday night dinner was capped with by a showing of James Steerman’s Dagrada flying around Monaco (great fun) and images from the de Virgilio archives.

Sunday was a small showing of the cars – about 30 Lancias were there. The B20 was well admired, as was Mike Kristick’s unrestored Aprilia berlina speciale and the Stewart’s Flaminia sedan. My favorite was Mark Wolf’s Fulvia 1.3 HF. Also, Mike Space’s thoughtful restoration of a B24 convertible with its 1960’s inserted Flaminia engine was provoking – as it was done as Griswold had originally converted it in the 1960’s. Changes to the front axle were pretty radical with a bite taken out of it in order to clear the Flaminia motor.

By mid-day Sunday, all had cleared out, and I started the drive home with 150 miles of hilly two lane roads and a short visit to the PA Lumber Museum, with detailed info on the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), from the 1930’s, when they rebuilt America.

Across Ohio, the B20 and I were fast becoming really good friends. By now we understood each other, and all was flowing very well. The car ran strong, the car loaded up with pumpkins to bring home. Images of driving through the night to Chicago were passing through the mind.

A quick coffee stop, and then came an awful sign: diminished oil pressure and a deep rattle from engine. There was no doubt – a rod bearing was failing. No real reason, it just happened. So quickly to a hotel, this trip was over. The next morning the car was flatbedded to Pittsburgh to winter with Walt, and be  taken apart once again.

I have no idea what went wrong. All was carefully built to tolerance, the crank taken fully apart and balanced. The bearings were old, but new. Perhaps… we’ll have to see. One more hurdle along the way, but it will get solved. At least it was a great summer and a lovely fall.

Walt Spak, organizer in chief – a great job!

Fulvia HF

Tireless Lancia 6 Appias and Fulvias

Tireless Lancia 6 crew – with pistons as prizes

Written by Geoff

October 21, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Aurelia

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