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 circa and for the last 40 years in his amazing premises at Pontone, near Ravello, which was previously a paper manufacturing plant.
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 repainting.
This means that we have a stock of wheels, tyres, headlights, car panels, etc etc etc as you can imagine and we are now trying to put things into some kind of order and then to sell some of these parts, just 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 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.
So despite the lockdown I have been able to make some 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 some side radiators as well as the usual front ones so no fuse would stop these fans, I had to disconnect the battery terminal every time I parked the car, hardly ideal.
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. Phew.
Well 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!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I have known these guys for many years, since Alessandro was racing in the R6 Cup and he used to come to Magione for some training with Run x Fun. His father Sandro was a very talented scrambler and he started his bike shop in Civitavecchia back in 1982 and the activity has grown into what today is surely one of the biggest dealer/distributors in Italy. Look at their web site here.
The father Sandro runs the place, Alex the elder son works in the lovely workshop and follows their race activity and his brother Gian Luca works all over the place and follows the Moto Club, so they are all very heavily involved in the business. They sell from their lovely shop (they are official KTM and Yamaha) and they also run a distribution business for the south of Italy with several vans, serving the smaller shops.
WONDERFUL guys and lovely business, well worth a visit cos there is a good bar next door!!
We have been searching for a suitable property for about two years, on and off, and we have finally found the property of our dreams!!! Last month we exchanged contracts and took possession of a stunning garage in lovely Polvica, which is one of the 13 small towns which make up the area called Tramonti. The location is perfect for the Amalfi coast, Tramonti is 6 kilometers inland from Maiori, which is them 6 kilometers up the coast from Amalfi.
The properties are actually 2, one very small “house” which is actually a single room with an outside toilet, plus nearby the amazingly modern and large garage. The house was purchased only to enable the purchase of the garage as only a resident is allowed to purchase the garage. The garage is amazing!! It is large and almost new, about 6 metres wide and 8 metres long PLUS it has a bathroom with a shower too. And upstairs on the garage roof there is a garden with a lemon tree plus a kiwi plant, and plenty of space for a BBQ and sunbathing!!!
We have already started to have work carried out by some local builders to ensure that both of the properties are in perfect condition, then I will take some pictures to add to this blog. Great news indeed!!