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Audi Car service Repairs Transport travel Vintage cars

An old car certainly keeps us on our toes..

Blimey. What a challenge. I love this S4 to death BUT she is very demanding for sure. Only two months ago I was really enjoying her after the bloody lockdown and er well the steering suddenly became very heavy indeed, Charles Atlas was needed to turn the wheel. Ah I thought, the hydraulic oil needs topping up, so I topped her up. But, the new oil finished on the floor below the car. Mmmm.

My trusty mechanic had a look at the car and again topped up the oil. That new oil was almost immediately thrown on the floor so he understood that there was a problem. Upon further investigation he discovered that the high pressure pipe which takes the oil from the reservoir to the steering pump was split, so of course needed replacing. I was sent to order the parts plus 3L of Audi hydraulic oil and all arrived a few days later.

Well long story short the rat took more than 6 bloody weeks to get round to sorting the S4 and even then only by threats he finally “got round” to fixing the poor old girl. Almost as a favour cos he only wanted 100 Euro for the work, I paid directly for the parts but they were only perhaps 200 Euro. So the old S4 and I are finally back on the road and the steering in WONDERFUL again. But I need to sort out an electrical problem cos the new battery discharged in only a few weeks grrrrrrr.

More to follow, for sure…..but the car is lovely!!!

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Amalfi Coast Audi Car rental Car service Repairs travel

So I found a car wash open and the S4 now starts to looks like the elegant car she is….

We have been locked-down at home since early March and it is just now starting to be eased, 3 months later. So the old S4 has been locked in the garage gathering dust and looking rather sad and sorry for herself. Now finally I have been able to take her out for a drive and wow she goes really well for an old girl!

I guess that she no longer has all of the starting 350 ish horses now that she has more than 190k kms under her wheels, but she still goes very well indeed. (I have a plan for an engine carbon clean, more to follow). As I drove recently to buy some wine at our favourite winemaker (see https://www.facebook.com/cantineiovine/) I saw a car wash which was open and in operation, so I stopped for a chat with the owners.

Well the Audi was second in the wash queue and for 15 Euro they cleaned her very thoroughly both inside and out, happy days indeed. Here follow a few pics to show just how good she now looks: In the coming few days the wheel centres will be painted and refitted too.

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Amalfi Coast Car service Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Scooter Transport travel

Some bits and pieces for sale…just a few….hundred!

I work part time for a lovely bloke Luigi Cioffi, at Auto Cioffi Ravello. He is a vehicle bodywork genius, he has been repairing cars and vans for the last 50 years and for the last 40 years in his amazing premises at Pontone, near Ravello, which was previously a paper manufacturing factory.

This man and his staff have been working in this premises for some 45 years and the workload has always been heavy, he had many employees in the past all working to repair and repaint cars, vans, motorbikes and almost everything else. Last week we saw a BMW motorbike plus 3 cars repainted and each job is unique, but in general involves changing several parts as well as then repaairing and repainting.

This means that we have a stock of used wheels, tyres, headlights, car panels, doors etc etc etc as you can imagine and we are now trying to put things into some kind of order and to sell some of these parts, to clear some space!! As you can imagine alot of the bits are Fiat, but we have a selection from almost all of the European car brands plus Japanese and almost everything.

If anyone is interested please contact me, we could surely fill a container and we are near to the port of Salerno so we could also export these parts very easily.

Thanks!!!!

Categories
Audi Car service Repairs Transport travel Vintage cars

One or two jobs done and the old girl starts to feel better….updated!

So during the dreaded lockdown I have been able to make very limited progress with the S4. Firstly I replaced the car battery as I noticed that the one on the car was too small (physically it did not fill the battery space, which is on the front bulkhead, as well as charge wise it was only 75Ah whereas the orignal is 95Ah) so I ordered a new Varta. Coincidentally I then discovered that the battery is identical to the one on my Vito van which I had replaced recently, so I managed to get one trade for “only” 130 Euro.

Next problem, the car started to leave the fans running when I switched off the engine, which flattened the battery overnight. Hmmmm. I then discovered, having tried to removed various fuses, that this car has side radiators as well as the usual front ones and no fuse would stop these fans, I had to disconnect the battery terminal every time I parked the car, hardly ideal.

So I got into contact with the nice guys at a8parts in the UK and they agreed that this was likely a failed ECU thingy which, being located under the car, will often fail on these cars ‘cos they are exposed to all the worst of the weather and road grit. So one of those arrived and I hope to get it fitted this week so news to follow, I sure hope that this will sort this problem!!

Next, the wheels. The lovely Audi 18″ alloys were looking a bit tired, not suprising with almost 200k kms under her belt. So I took the 4 wheels up to a local place, they removed the old tyres and rubbed down and painted the wheels in a lovely grey, which is called Gun Metal Grey from the Fiat paint range. In the meantime I ordered 4 new Conti tyres, and this week I had the new tyres fitted onto the new-looking wheels and then refitted them to the car. Wow, progress.

I finally managed to start the car up today and take her out of her 10 week garage/prison (covered in dust of course), up to my local car expert. Tomorrow he should fit the ECU to sort out the fans that won’t stop, and then I also gave him a full set of new Brembo discs and pads so I truly hope that I will soon have a great car!!

UPDATE today we managed to fit the ECU and YESSSSSSS the problem seems to be resolved and the fans no longer run all the time, at last!!

Some work in progress pictures follow:

Here is the electronic thing to be replaced on the car
Categories
Amalfi Coast Car service Repairs Transport travel Vintage cars

Have a look at this lovely little classic car…..

You may love or even hate the original Fiat 500, but you cannot deny that they form a part of the European motoring heritage. When Italy came out of the Second World War, the first cheap and mass-produced contribution to getting the Italians mobile again was possibly Piaggio with their little mopeds, and then Fiat with their small cars.

The original 500 was introduced in 1957, see this excellent Wikipedia article for the full story https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500 and was a truly amazing achievement. Today in 2020 you can still find these cars but accidents, rust and just age have of course taken their toll.

Recently a mate of mine asked me to advertise his 500 for sale, so I put it on Ebay UK as although it is of course left hand drive, there are some UK collectors looking for these fairly rare cars and as few were made in rhd they are prepared to purchase the lhd cars as well.

This all happened at about the time that this terrible virus closed down Italy and of course Europe so John was unable to fly over to see the car and instead asked me for many many photographs, which I supplied. Transport was of course the next problem and I found to my suprise that a freight ship sails from Salerno to the UK every week, and it takes about a week to arrive. We asked for a quote and the price is fairly reasonable, so if our UK mate John decides to go ahead then I will take some pics when we take the little car to meet the rather large ship!!! Watch this space.

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Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

The Alf England experience…

Well it must be said that I have been visiting this UK motorcycle dealership for more years than I care to mention, and they have never let me down nor ripped me off. My first visit was with my Honda CB750 when I was a peniless student, I was looking to purchase a GB sticker as we were planning a trip to France. Imagine my suprise when the mechanic David came out to ask me where in France we were heading, and then he asked could he come with us, and our friendship began!

They were 100% Honda in those days, they are now 100% Yamaha but little else has changed in terms of their dedication and honesty. They have moved to new premises which allowed them to expand the business, have a look at the image gallery here. As you can see the shop looks fantastic and they are rated one of the top Yamaha dealers in the country.

You are always welcomed when you walk into the shop and the tea and coffee machine is always available, and of course offered free to everyone. They have a great range of new Yamahas to look at as well as many different makes of used bikes, plus loads of lovely Yamaha clothing and HJC helmets. Look at some of these pictures below.

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Repairs Scooter Transport travel

We have some great cars for sale here in Ravello and…we can organise storage as well as long-term “rental”…..

Here at Autocioffi (see us at www.autocioffi.it) we have a super premises which used to be a paper mill (so it is next to a small river) and we have 3 floors of covered parking space. We generally have about 20 of our own cars here and we have space for at least another 30.

Our 20 ish cars are all up for sale on our website and we also do servicing, tyre fitting, maintenance as well as bodywork repairs and painting so we are fully equipped to look after all makes of cars and vans, and we even collect and return cars in the surrounding area. We are well-known by all of the local hotels so many tourists come here too, if they need any car-type help.

We have recently devised a really cunning scheme. If you plan to visit Italy for an extended length of time (minimum for instance 6 months) and you need wheels, we can help. See our list of cars for sale, we specialise in small Fiat, VW and Renault but we generally have a variety of cars from a 2 seater up to a SUV. The retail prices are all shown. So what can we offer?? You come and see the car and try it, see what you think. Try more than one or two, no problem.

If you find a car you like, you buy it, simple no? Well sure, but here is our proposal. You tell us how long you wanna keep it, you must insure the car, and when you bring the car back to us PROVIDING OF COURSE THE CONDITION IS AS IT WAS then we buy it back, LESS an agreed rental fee. How much? Well that will depend on the value of the car you choose plus the proposed rental period. Contact us for a quote.

Check out Avis and Hertz, of course they will provide a much newer car BUT they will charge you about 1200 Euro per month (category F), and from Ravello you must go and get the car from Salerno. And we can also offer car or motorbike storage here at very reasonable rates too.

Clever idea number two: We have plenty of secure parking spaces where you can leave your car (or motorbike or scooter or whatever) on a daily weekly or even monthly basis. Parking in this area (Ravello/Amalfi) is VERY hard to find as well as expensive, so contact us for a quote!

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Car service Repairs Transport travel

Car repairs, painting and selling used cars on the Amalfi Coast…

I recently discovered an amazing reality, only a few kilometres from Amalfi about halfway between Amalfi and Ravello. The company is called Auto Cioffi and their web site is www.autocioffi.it and their Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=auto%20cioffi&epa=SEARCH_BOX.

But the web site and the Facebook page really tell very little about the company and their activity. These guys are amazing. The boss Luigi has been working now for 45 years and he is still the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave, as well as the hardest worker, he almost never stops. What do they do?? Kind of everything.

The main activity is car sales and car repairs, so they have usually about 20 to 25 cars in stock to sell. In addition they have a paint shop with a massive computer controlled paint mixing system. Plus an oven for painting the cars which is big enough for the biggest SUVs and which gets up to about 80 degrees C. Plus they also have a Blackhawk Car Straightening System, an amazing machine which enables you to realign a car after a heavy smash and or just to check that a car is straight.

And I have now seen all of this in action!! The main man (Luigi) is truly amazing, his panel beating skills are worthy of a YouTube film, and he employs a guy (Paolo) a full time spray painter with talent. They are an amazing team and Manuela (Luigi’s daughter) is the office lady who coordinates their work and tries to keep them more or less under control.

The results?? Well, these guys offer more or less a complete “servicenolimits” service to car owners in Ravello and along the Amalfi Coast! Luigi’s son Leo has a tyre business next door, so they offer a total car service. They collect a car and fit new tyres, change the oil and filter, repair some body damage and return the car. Stunning. Some photos below.

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Amalfi Coast Car service Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Scooter Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

An amazingly talented tyre fitter and mechanic who can service, fix or repair almost anything on wheels….

Since I moved house from Roma to Tramonti I have had to restart with all of my contacts to look after my car, my van, and my small fleet of motorbikes. This was not easy as I had lived in Roma for more than 20 years and starting over is never simple, Roma is a huge city with loads of choice whereas Tramonti is a small town in the middle of nowhere. “Tramonti” means between the mountains, as it is perched on the top of a mountain between a town called Angri and the Amalfi Coast, near Salerno.

BUT. In a fairly short time I have managed to find some amazing guys and the most amazing so far is Leo Cioffi at Pontone, a tiny town near Ravello. See https://www.autocioffi.it/. Leo is officially a “mere” tyre fitter and he works on his own in a small and cluttered premises just off the main road up to Pontone. I first met him when I damaged a tyre on my old Audi A5 (I managed to hit a rock on the road and tear open the rear tyre, what an idiot). He had to order the replacement Pirelli P Zero 19″ (I bought 2 and changed both tyres, they were half worn) as he did not hold these in stock, 2 days later he called me and I returned to have them fitted.

Not only was he chatty and friendly (and a good Italian coffee is always available) he was also fast and efficient and did a very thorough job. I noted that he went the extra mile without extra charges which I liked immediately so I realised that he was a good contact. Indeed, since then we have become mates and he has done loads of work for me on my van, scooter and Quad and he is always fast and efficient and works REALLY well, the quality of his work is amazing. I have seen him turn his hand to almost everything from trucks to tractors to Vespa scooters to wheel barrows as he also works for the next door family car business and is called upon to fix everything.

What a great discovery!!! And his prices are much less than Rome prices and his knowledge and standards are amazing.

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Amalfi Coast KTM Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Repairs Scooter Yamaha and Suzuki

New plan! New motorcycle sales operation. Watch this space

Ok so now I am established in my new property in the Tramonti region of Italy, and Tramonti is very close to the motorway. So what now? I am in touch with the guys who own and run the excellent dealership Celestini in Civitavecchia and they are not only an excellent Yamaha and KTM dealer, they are also distributors and they operate a fleet of vans which deliver bikes to smaller dealers in the bottom half of Italy.

So my idea is to become a Celestini sub dealer for Yamaha and KTM new bikes and perhaps even second hand bikes too.