Epilogue Part 2 of the Route 66 Drive: Gertrude

As John continues with reviews I will continue my post Route 66 trip with part two of what appears to be a three part epilogue. A great many folks have asked me how and why I would name the Ferrari Gertrude as most think of the name as old fashion, blah or downright unattractive. They are probably right on most accounts as the name has not aged well over the years. Ethel, Edith and Gertrude simply are from a bygone era where “social media” consisted of hand written or typewriter notes posted on a cork board. Still there is a story to how my lovely red-haired girl came to her present name. When it became known to my family that Mrs.CWG was expecting my father took it upon himself to ask how the potential child was doing on a daily basis by saying “how are Ichibad/Gertrude doing?” (Gender will not be known till birth). Of course he chose those names out of humour and the names latched on to the point where the 308’s name just flowed into being Gertrude (Gerty, Trudy, etc…).

Name aside, what is Gertrude like? Well After the test drive by Steve, the PPI by Rod I got a sense that this car was mechanically sound and cosmetically challenged. What rolled off the back of the trailer that first Saturday morning was definitely latter. The paint is sun-baked on the flat surfaces with a few impressions on the roof with a couple of minor dents elsewhere. The paint aside, the body has no rust and nothing structurally wrong with it outside of the front ground spoiler is cracked and will need replacing. The interior is a mixed bag. The dash and instrument console are in amazing shape for the age, with the only complaint being a few minor blemishes to stitches on the top of the console. The quality of the middle console is also in excellent shape, including all the switches and the parking break (no tears or wear marks). The armrests are in great shape as well. The leather on the drivers seat is worn with a small tear, and overall the seat leather looks 33 years old. The door panels are no different with the leather being less beige and more worn beige/black. The passenger side cover for the manual window crank is missing on top of that. The carpets, despite some dirt are in particularly good condition, while the mats are dirty and a tad tired. Overall the interior is indicative of the age and shows very similar to the exterior. Cosmetically this car will not please the discerning eye.

Mechanically the car is interesting, I will start with the cockpit electricals, move to the ride/feel/exhaust and end with engine.

The A/C worked, then did not, and now works again (Thanks Paul!). The previous owner obviously put decent money into the system as it has been overhauled and when it runs, it blows cold. The issue in question was a loose wire that had caught onto a belt and been pulled from the compressor, so luckily it was very minor. The windshield wipers work well for a 33 year old car and both the speed switch and intermittent setting work, i have not however filled the spray reservoir to test the window washer functionality. The dash illumination light does not function and the turn signal indicators work, but the clicking sound only works when the right turn signal is on. All warning lights worked to start, thought the choke light stopped working mid-trip. The radio is not even connected so you can guess how it works, though with the wonderful noise that is emitted from the engine and exhaust I am not sure how you would hear it anyways. The old fashion lighter will need to be replaced with a modern 12V receptacle at some point. The electric windows work and are not as slow as I expected, though at some point they should probably be cleaned out and re-lubricated. Overall the electrics are what i was expecting from an older car that had spent some time neglected. My first order of business, before trying to troubleshoot anything at all, is to replace the fuse box with the “Birdman” fuse panel. I want to make sure that potential decay/corrosion is eliminated before I start doing anything more. All in all everything electrical is trivial and poses a nice weekend or three of projects to clean up and bring it to spec.

Gertrude is low, not kinda low, but exaggerated low. The second owner (it appears from invoices ) put some good money into the suspension and 328 16″ wheels with fresh Yokohama’s. The suspension is adjustable and it appears he went for low and cool over practical and awesome. Unfortunately it is so low almost everything scraps and the fenders are turning in. This will have to be adjusted and I am going to get it brought up at least one inch. One of the nice features of it being so low is it seems to just envelope the road, the handling is very good. When I say good I should say great, it is responsive to commands as soon as you are rolling and Gerty is beautifully straight (hands off driving is completely possible to grab something, adjust or what not for those few seconds). The ride is stiff but that is to be expected and I have no plans to dampen it. The only work required in the near future on the suspension will be replacing the bushings as most are still original. The braking is responsive and requires good pressure, both as expected, though the brake lines are original and will require replacing in the next few years. As you can expect with a vehicle that has an engine at your head, no real sound proofing and is carburated, the cockpit is noisy. I jest not when I say that a radio is probably a useless accessory for the 308 GTB. Gertrude growls in all gears and the carburetors rumble with a nice pitch. The exhaust notes are distinctive for the after market Tubi; and without the catalytic converter it is a very pleasant sound to listen to. Overall the ride is good and stiff, exactly as I was expecting. All in all driving this girl is just a great experience.

The engine is without a doubt the guts to the styling and handling’s glory. Gertude’s engine has been polished (more about that in the future) and for the most part all the complimentary pieces that make her run have been updated. From the radiator systems new hoses and re-core to the the rebuilt water pump a lot of work has been done to her. All that said, Barrie’s resident carburetor and 308 GTB expert (nodding to you Newman) has identified a few things that need addressing, primarily the move from dual to single distributor. This will get addressed when the car is painted. The most telling part of all this are the 3300 fault-free miles she has been driven over the past 14 days. The engine sings in the 3700-5000 RPM range and you get responsive power when you need it. Overall the engine is operating well, though with some tweaking from an expert I expect her to run better in 2012.

As I finish off today’s post, here are a few more pictures of the lovely lady being wheeled off the trailer and at Five Guys one of the best burger chains in the world.


About CanadianWineGuy

The Wine Guy, He's Canadian, they call him CanadianWineGuy
This entry was posted in Ferrari, Off Wine Topic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply