When I bought the car in December 1982 it was at Royal Carriage Motors in Bellevue, WA for yet another attempt to rebuild the engine (not to be confused with the many other Carriage Motors around the country). The car was partially dismantled with the engine and some of the interior out. Fortunately, I knew enough about Miuras even then to identify parts of the car that were scattered around the shop. If not, I'm sure I wouldn't have the starter motor and many other engine bits and pieces. They were not terribly organized about tracking parts of the car. I'm pleased that Gary Bobileff seems to keep excellent track of car parts in his shop. He has separate racks, shelves, and cupboards for each project and they are clearly labeled. I can't imagine any other way to do it, since Bobileff Motors always has many projects in various stages of progress - from maintenance tune-ups to full restorations like mine.
In the months that followed, when enthusiam was high and I had more free time, I completely dismantled it over the course of many weekends. Each part that came off was a mix of pleasure at the progress, and pain at what I found underneath. The single worst example was that the entire undercarriage was covered by a quarter-inch thick plate of aluminium. It was bolted to the floor with about two dozen bolts, and sealed around the edges with putty. I had to use an air-chisel to break away all the bolts. When I finally pulled the plate off, I was very discourage by what I found.
|At Bob's house. This is what 3901 looked like when I bought it, after a good washing, buffing, and waxing. Okay, it was a pointless effort, but I enjoyed doing it. It was really in sad shape. Notice the broken fog lamp and missing nose badge.|
|Under the engine bay, looking forward. This is what greeted me when the aluminium plate came off the bottom of the car.|
|The engine bay. The rear glass is out.|
|Interior. The door panels are off, the radio is missing (the previous owner wanted to keep it), the shift lever and gate are off, and the rear-view mirror is out.|
|The engine's view of the interior. It would be hard to take this picture if the engine were in the car. Notice the P400 toggle switches in the headliner. These will be replaced with the S rocker switches. That's my 1967 MGB in front. I still have it. It is next in line for restoration after the Urraco is gone and the Miura is finished.|
|Right front frame rail. Here, showing earlier repair work. This has all been removed and redone. The circular plate allows access to the gas tank drain plug.|
|Front compartment. Dirty, but all there. Although the car was in bad condition, all the parts are present, including rare parts like the rubber straps holding the spare tire in. They have been carefully preserved and will be used on the finished restoration.|
|The gas tank. The drain plug is easy to see. The three horsehair strips retain water and cause the rust problems that almost all Miuras have under the gas tank. The rust eats into the air tunnel causing dirt, rust, and gas fumes to be blown into the passenger compartment. Gary plans to replace the tank with an aluminum one.|
|At home. All the previous shots were in Seattle, WA. Here, the car is in my driveway in San Diego, CA. (Nick, my son, was about 5 at the time. He's now 30.) This was taken on one of my rare I'm-cleaning-the-whole-garage days. This is exactly how the car looked when it was taken to Bobileff Motors.|