33 restoration


Hello all, I'm new to this forum, Conaero pointed me in this direction as I'm a regular on the Maserati site.

I've owned my 33 for nearly 16 years and a few years ago decided to carry out some renovations which got carried away for one reason or another.

I searched for a long time to find a good 33 and ended up with a 1994 1.7IE, I would have preferred a 16v but I just couldn't find a good one so I settled for the 8v which proved to be a great car and served me well over 6 years of daily use. The paintwork began to fade and then a headgasket gave up so I decided now was the time to strip the car for a respray and to fit the 16v engine I had always wanted. Having found a suitable engine I then decided I would make it a little better than standard so built it up using as many new parts as I could find and ended up with a brand new crankshaft, Colombo & Bariani cams, gas flowed heads, JE forged pistons 89mm giving approx 1800cc, CSC complete exhaust system including manifold etc etc.

This is how the car looked before I started work, pretty sound as I had undersealed/cavity waxed it when it was 4 years old but starting to look a little rough around the edges:

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I stripped the car to a bare rolling shell in 2010, and sent the car off to a bodyshop recommended to me by someone in the Alfa community. I gave them a detailed list of all the areas requiring attention so nothing would be missed:

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A year and £4000 later it looked like this:

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Pretty good on initial inspection and the bodyshop owner went to great lengths to tell me about all the hard work that had gone into the car. With hindsight I shouldn't have just taken his word for it and should have inspected the car thoroughly before taking it home, but as this was a friend of a friend I had no reason to doubt what he had told me.

The rebuild started but I soon started to find issues with the bodywork.
The engine bay was a disgrace, rust and dirt were just painted over - these areas had been conveniently covered with protective cloths in the bodyshop whicj I presumed were there to protect it all during transport:

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The guy had told me that the underside of the car had been stripped to bare metal before repainting and then applying a fresh coat of underseal. Having seen the state of the engine bay I decided to check the areas I had specifically highlighted for attention but found they had just been covered up. In fact the underside had not even been cleaned before the underseal was applied and if you rubbed it gently, the underseal came away will all the road dirt underneath it.:

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I supplied 2 new front wings with the car and asked for the originals to be replaced as they were corroded at the bottom. The bodyshop told me that they had managed to repair the originals in the end and had cut out the rust and welded in new metal. This is what I found when I removed the wings however:


After only a couple of weeks the paint on the outside of the car began to fall off! It was obvious that little or no preparation had been carried out prior to painting:


Anyway, to cut a long story short I ended up suing the bodyshop and they were ordered to refund me the money I had paid them as well as all the costs to rectify everything elsewhere. Unfortunately despite the Court judgements I have not been able to recover much money yet, the guy is a spineless **** and keeps going into hiding. I have been pursuing him for 3 years!

In January 2012 the car was sent to a well regarded Ferrari restorer who took pity on my case and offered to help. Initially it was thought that the car could be stripped of all the coatings applied by the original bodyshop and the original factory paint could be used as a base to start the job again but unfortunately due to the total mess the other guy had made of things it was decided to strip the entire car back to bare metal and start again. Work began:

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Unfortunately it was then found that the underseal was impossible to remove by hand and that there were so many problems relating to the other guys efforts that it was decided the best way forward was chemical stripping. The car was stripped to a bare bodyshell and a new front panel and crossrail were fitted (previous bodyshop were supplied with the parts but couldn't be bothered to fit them as they said it was too much work):


The car was then sent to Surface Processing in Birmingham to be chemically stripped back to bare metal:


Following that, I decided to have the car electrophoretically coated for the ultimate in rust protection. I decided I may as well do the job properly and make the car as new again:


I'll add some more info another time as this is getting quite lengthy...


New Member
hahaha :)

Dont worry about the length mate, I was really getting into this story - even though I already know most of it ;)

I wanted to scroll down and see your car finished !


New Member
Yes, I cant even begin to imagine the frustration Richard must have felt when he found out what they did ... or rather what they DIDNT do on his car :/


Frustration is an understatement, I was absolutely livid that this ******* ripped me off and even more angry that I don't seem to be able to get my money out of him despite a Court judgement. The spinless **** can't even face me, he just keeps running away from both me and the Court bailiffs, what a coward.

Anyway, a few pics of the shell restoration.

Underside seam sealed, stone chipped and then painted body colour:

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Front end painted (inner wings and engine bay) and front suspension and brakes refitted. Front brakes look pretty puny in the pics but I have some 4 piston Hi-Spec Calipers with 300mm discs to go on:


Minor imperfections filled, ready for primer:


First coat of primer:


This was followed by a guide coat, further blocking down, priming etc, before finally the top coats were applied:


Panels painted and refitted:


New windscreen and rear screen fitted, plus bumpers and roof gutters and window seals:

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Being aired after cavity waxing. Note yellow French spec foglamps:


New sound deadening installed, including some additional sound deadening in the roof. Hopefully that will make the car nice and quiet and will help the a/c work better by keeping the inside temperature a little cooler on hot days:

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Ready to come home at last:

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On the trailer on delivery day (end of May 2013:

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I'll update some more of where I'm up to when I get more time...


New Member
Thanks for sharing mate :)

You know I've seen these pictures of your progress before, but believe me , its never boring to look at :)

IMO the best possible restoration you can do on ANY car.
Your 33 will be grateful :)


A few pics of where I am up to now.

Car shortly after arrival at my house:

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Wiring loom installed, what a mess! Lots more to do!


In the garage for attention to rear suspension and brakes. Handbrake wasn't working on one side and caliper found to be faulty so it was replaced. New brake pads fitted then the caliper on the other side wasn't working with the handbrake so that was replaced too. Handbrake now working ok:


Pictures of underside to show quality of restoration work:


A few engine bay items installed:

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Interior fitting. New carpet underlay/sound deadening fitted:


Brand new carpet fitted along with rear seats and door cards:

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Some of boot carpets fitted:


Brand new headlining fitted:


Dashboard sound deadening fitted before dash itself refitted along with brand new speedo with 1 mile on it!

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A/c installation begins. Evaporator fitted, this is the factory fitted setup with an electronic thermostat and frost sensor, not available for RHD and adapted to fit. Note how close the hose clips are to the servo mounting bracket, it required hours of fiddling to get them into a position where they weren't fouling anything (this was preventing the evaporator unit from fitting correctly). Sorry about the state of the brake servo, went rusty in storage but will be cleaned up later:

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Brand new condensers and their pipework installed:

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That's roughly where I'm up to at the moment, a/c evaporator drains now installed and centre console refitted so interior looks a lot neater. Unfortunately no photo as my camera battery ran out! I'll take a pic next time I work on the car. Lots more to do but will update when I can....


New Member

who was it that wanted that CAD file for the 4pot brembos with Fiat Coupe 20vt installation brackets ???

Found it ! :)

Give me your emails and I'll forward it


Apologies for the long delay in updating this thread, things went fairly pear shaped so lots of stuff to deal with and no time to work on the 33. I have had to relocate temporarily but have brought the 33 with me so I can now work on it a lot more.

A few pics of where I am with it at the moment, interior almost complete but some wiring issues to resolve, steering wheel will be replaced with a Nardi P4 wheel when I get round to fitting it. Almost ready for engine and gearbox to go in, just a few jobs to complete in the engine bay first along with a couple of jobs on the engine. Hopefully it will be finished in the next few months, famous last words!



Man i wish mine was that condition, and stop it your giving me ideas i cannot afford! ;)

Will have to hopefully bump into you with mine in the future, camera at hand, though i thinks yours will show mine up :)