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    Active Lancista Astonish's Avatar
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    Front wheel drive!?

    I haven’t had my Fulvia long but I have driven modern FWD vehicles for over 30 years. Most FWD let you know they are such, they pull to one side under acceleration and generally let you know from steering reactions at all times which end is doing the driving. The Fulvia just doesn’t do this, at least not at the speed and the surfaces I have pushed her on. Mentally I know she’s FWD but as there is no fight at the wheel whilst accelerating or cornering I can be lulled by her neutrality into not knowing or caring which end is in control. I am surprised at how large is the turning radius and heavy the steering is at parking speed, though I suspect the cause is the amount of castor and it is this which makes driving at speed such a delight.

    Perhaps this admission is telegraphing to the cognoscenti how far I am from testing her limits or just seems naively preaching to a more seasoned choir, non the less I am happy to declare that the Fulvia is one of the best handling vehicle I have ever driven on the road. What happy good fortune for one who acquired her on looks alone.
    Michael Rigby '72 1.3S S.2

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    Master Lancista bernt's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    It was somewhat the other way around for me. When I got my Fulvia loooong ago, I had mostly been driving front wheel drive Volkswagens, except for a BMW 02. In the Fulvia, I was surprised how much you could feel the FWD in the steering, pulling under acceleration etc. I didn't like it very much.
    But that was all just due to the bad shape of the suspension and steering linkage. After that was rebuilt and all the play gone, I finally noticed the wonderful handling

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    Legendary Lancista 1,6 HF's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    I always describe the Fulvia's handling as viceless; it's just very direct, very predictable, and simply no torque steer. Even with 150bhp / 150 ftlbs there is none. It just goes where you point it.

    Like any FWD, the limiting handling factor is front tire loading; you have to balance the accel/braking loads with the steering loads. Which is why when you really overcook it, lifting off throttle and brake will shift all the load to steering, and it'll straighten itself out. That which will kill you in a Porsche 356 will save you in a Fulvia...
    Ed Levin
    Fulvia 1,6 HF

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    Active Lancista Astonish's Avatar
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    pe: Front wheel drive!?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1,6 HF View Post
    I always describe the Fulvia's handling as viceless; it's just very direct, very predictable, and simply no torque steer. Even with 150bhp / 150 ftlbs there is none. It just goes where you point it.

    Like any FWD, the limiting handling factor is front tire loading; you have to balance the accel/braking loads with the steering loads. Which is why when you really overcook it, lifting off throttle and brake will shift all the load to steering, and it'll straighten itself out. That which will kill you in a Porsche 356 will save you in a Fulvia...
    Sadly I don't have a work shop manual and I can't find the castor specifications on line anywhere so I can't support my suspicion that the Fulvia in stock specification runs more castor than the average FWD car, this and the fact that both half shafts are of equal length seem to be part of the reason the steering is so good. In addition to the previously mentioned cornering qualities I've also noticed that in a straight section of road one could almost take the hands of the wheel and let the car maintain its course.

    Thanks for the driving impressions Ed, BTW you have given me serious bhp envy, was that engine built in the U.S.A.?
    Michael Rigby '72 1.3S S.2

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    Legendary Lancista lancialulu's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    Michael

    Is your car a 1.3?? From your avatar photo I think it is.

    There are differences in 1.3 and 1.6 front suspension geometry to do with camber but both models have the unequal wishbone set up which is the main reason why you like the handling some much. I dont think the castor it that dramatic but will look it up later.

    You will need the 1.6 engine as the basis of 150bhp performance. And such an engine will be less pleasurable for just driving around but exciting If you are looking to explore the Fulvia in competitions etc. To get to 150 isnt cheap..... A 1.3 can be tuned to 100bhp easily and to a max of around 115.

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    Legendary Lancista lancialulu's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    Looked up caster 1.3 Coupe = 2.5 deg, 1.6 Coupe 3.5 (This probably adds to the 1.6 steering heaviness). These are not wild figures.....

    The car is so stable due in part for having such a weight over the front axle. With this design of FWD car that professor Fessia pioneered he is quoted as saying get the front car suspension right and the rear will look after itself (hence the remarkably simple arrangement at the back).

    Bottom line it really works and is a veritable joy to drive in all conditions.

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    Active Lancista Astonish's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    Quote Originally Posted by lancialulu View Post
    Michael

    Is your car a 1.3?? From your avatar photo I think it is.

    You will need the 1.6 engine as the basis of 150bhp performance. And such an engine will be less pleasurable for just driving around but exciting If you are looking to explore the Fulvia in competitions etc. To get to 150 isnt cheap..... A 1.3 can be tuned to 100bhp easily and to a max of around 115.
    Yes mine is 1.3 lts,. I just recognize that getting 150bhp from 1.6 requires lots of experience and technical wizardry and that the same builder might have similar magic available on the smaller engine, it would be nice to know that I could have a fun drive down I5 and come home quicker!

    Quote Originally Posted by lancialulu View Post
    Looked up caster 1.3 Coupe = 2.5 deg, 1.6 Coupe 3.5 Thank you for your info.

    With this design of FWD car that professor Fessia pioneered he is quoted as saying get the front car suspension right and the rear will look after itself (hence the remarkably simple arrangement at the back).

    Bottom line it really works and is a veritable joy to drive in all conditions.
    The back axle is really simple, for competition did/do Watts linkages replace Panhard rods?
    Michael Rigby '72 1.3S S.2

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    Legendary Lancista 1,6 HF's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    About a year ago I had the opportunity to drive a 'loaner' S1 1,3S on a 3-day event. In stock trim a Fulvia is a dream to drive, and has enough power for the vast majority of the driving most people would do. There's no reason to need to extract more power from a 1,3, let alone a 1,6.

    The only reason I built an engine like that is that it's a works V1016, probably originally built by Bosato. I acquired it in pieces and I wanted to retain as much originality as possible. I had to replace the crankcase as #1 and #2 rods had punched through the sides. Only 1 original piston and rod remained; those are now paperweights. I sourced S2 rods, which were trued and shot-peened. I had lightweight pistons made -- to street 10.5:1 compression instead of the original 11.3:1. The head was ported for 45DDHF Solex, but we already had to weld a crack; it's too fragile to run over 7000.

    Aside from modern lightweight pistons, the other modern updates are cams; we've come a long way in 40 years. And I wanted a tractable engine, so it was built with 'rally' cams. An obvious visible deviation is a 123 electronic distributor. A less obvious deviation is a 'dynator'; it's an aluminum body instead of being built into the original housing. I'm running the original 45DDHFs, but with 36mm chokes instead of the original 38mm. And it's running the standard air box (foam ring, not paper filter), as the engine raced in period; I have photos of the engine in a race chassis around 1970.

    But it was just about reconstructing an unusual engine as sensibly as possible while trying to maintain historic integrity. I knew we'd end up with more power than the stock 115bhp / 113lbft. But I wasn't dreaming of approaching the late works engines running 48DCOEs for a little over 155bhp. The early V1016s made 132bhp / 119lbft, and I had guessed we'd be in that ballpark. So I didn't expect as much usable power as we got. It was on a rolling road with 32mm chokes in a pair of DCOEs, and it made 128hp at the wheels at just over 5500 (I'm rounding to 150bhp; it could be a couple less), with 150lbft around 3600. I haven't had it on a dyno since we swapped on the bigger Solex, but it's likely in the same general range.

    I couldn't be more pleased; it's quite well behaved on the street. But it was not an inexpensive exercise. And as I said at the beginning, it's an unnecessary one if the primary goal is more power.
    Last edited by 1,6 HF; 10th November 2019 at 01:00 PM.
    Ed Levin
    Fulvia 1,6 HF

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    Active Lancista Astonish's Avatar
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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    Thank you for your very comprehensive reply, congratulations on a superb engineering achievement.
    You are quite correct that as far as needs go, the factory 1.3 is quite sufficient especially at 4K+.

    Happy motoring!
    Michael Rigby '72 1.3S S.2

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    Re: Front wheel drive!?

    I had a moment of doubt a few months ago when a Classic & Sports Car article (August '19) described the Fulvia Coupe as being rear wheel drive..

    In a panic I popped outside to check, still the same scaffold pole at the blunt end with no sign of any driveshafts or prop-shaft. Front end of the car still looked quite complicated with lots of oily bits and metal rods going here there and everywhere.

    I was quite relieved when C & SC admitted their mistake in the December 2019 edition.

    Incidentally, as prompted by the C&SC article, I went on line and sourced a copy of Motor Sport from April 1966. Bill Boddy did decide that the Fulvia Coupe was the "best small car currently available" - even beating the Triumph 1300....

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