Friday, December 20, 2013

A New Star...

That five-spoked beauty is brand new to the lineup at Vick, and I'm proud to have been involved in getting them made as a VAS exclusive. It's cut for the 4x98mm bolt pattern, and fits Fiat 124 and X1/9 (hub centric!) without modification at 15"x6.5".

We're calling them the "Autostrade", and they're selling for $440 a set for Fiat 124/2000 and Fiat/Bertone X1/9. Can't wait to get a set on my car!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow Day!

In Texas, we normally get one brief spate of snow a year, if at all. So it was quite a surprise to find THIS outside!

The roads are pretty much impassible, so I'm homebound today. In fact, so is most of the metroplex here. Thankfully, at least Matt and Andy made it in to the shop today. That's dedication!

Of course, I had to get my daughter out and take her trash-can-lid sledding. This is still Texas, so this 'snow' is more like a hard-packed sleet. Perfect for our purposes!

And I can't say I didn't enjoy a bit of spirited driving on this ice. O what fun!


Monday, September 30, 2013

The NeXt Big Thing (Warning: X1/9 Content)

I'm monstrously happy to announce the completion of my most recent project: the Prima Brake kit for the Fiat/Bertone X1/9!

This kit utilizes the exact same tried-and-true brake parts (excepting bracketry) as the Prima Brakes for 124, and boasts the same awesome feature-set. The price is a cool $450 under the current sale.

I've already put a set on my X... It's a VAST improvement, if I do say so myself.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New, Used, or NOS - How It Matters To You.

From Matt,

We are often asked what the best buy is between new, used, or NOS (new old stock).  The short answer is that NEW is the best bet in almost every case.


New parts are always of recent manufacture.  Now, some people may question the quality and origin of new manufactured parts.  Well, fear not, in most cases our New parts are produced by the original manufacturer in Italy, even though it was not FIAT or Alfa Romeo!  What I mean is that FIAT and Alfa Romeo contracted a number of other companies to make various parts, and then they simply assembled many of them to build their cars.  This is not uncommon with auto manufacturers; in fact it is much more the rule than the exception.  Now, can a company really say that these parts are OEM?  They all do.  Does this mean that everything that comes in a FIAT or Alfa Romeo bag or box is an OEM part?  Certainly not!  In most cases, the auto maker did not make that bag, either.  So, when you buy a new Fiat part or Alfa part you can certainly bet that 99.9% of the time that part will be just as good or BETTER than original.


Used parts are always exactly what they say they are: USED!  So, lets say you've just purchased a car and the column switch is bad, which means you don't have turn signals.  With modern technology you can go to an online auction site and find a used part to fix your problem.  Or you can take a little more time and search for new parts vendors, such as ourselves.  You'll ask yourself, "Do I want to pay $90 now, or do I want to get that one from the 'Sanford & Son' style junk yard on eBay for $70?"  Many people will opt for the cheaper of the two options, which means sacrificing new for used.  They'll read that lovely product description that says the "car only had xxxxxx miles when parted out" and that the "part just looks great."  Well let me break down the facts: Used parts cost 1/2 - 2/3 cost of new, but... Buying a used part requires the death of a car...  Used parts share their age with that of the car: 25-45 years old, or older...  All used parts have degraded with age (especially rubber, plastic, and electronic parts)...  Used parts are USED and it simply doesn't matter if the item is advertised as Grade 8 out of 10, or Grape Ape out of 10 -- it is still USED.


NOS parts are unused, leftover old stock from original inventory when FIAT & Alfa Romeo were in the country selling parts at their dealerships.  Many people have gone to the new dealerships looking for parts from FIAT USA, but just because FIAT is back does not mean they are making parts for our cars.  In fact they simply haven't done that, almost ever.  This refers back to the new parts section of this post.  When the cars rolled out, FIAT and Alfa didn't make the replacement parts. That was left to the original manufacturers, and they were sold through dealerships like us, or landed on shelves in hot, dusty warehouses.  So, NOS or New?  You say, "I found a NEW WATER PUMP for $50, and I found a NOS WATER PUMP for $50.  Which is better?"  The answer: the NEW WATER PUMP every time.  Not only are the bearings and alloys in the new pump NEW, you can rest assured that it was made on superior modern machinery.  That NOS rubber bushing?... Is still 40 years old, hard, degraded rubber that is ready to crack with the first hard use.  NOS plastic part?... Unless it was kept in an air conditioned "clean room," (which it wasn't) that plastic has become brittle and hard with age, too.  These old parts just can't stand up to the same level of use that a new part could.  In other words, most NOS parts have already lived out the majority of their serviceable lives on a warehouse shelf.  So, the simplest way to think of NOS is: NOS is the best answer when NEW is simply not available.

New, Used, or NOS...  Now you know the truth behind the branding.  NEW means great quality, made recently. Used means its USED regardless of what someone may "grade" it.  NOS means it is unused BUT it is 25-45 years old.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Next Stop: Prima Brakes!

So, once again I'm thrilled to introduce one of my creations for the Fiat 124... And it's sure to bring the world of classic Fiats to a screeching halt, being modest!

"What's that?!" you say? That, my friend, would be a revolution for your car...

Say hello to an affordable front brake kit! Introducing improved stopping power, reliability, safety, and performance: the VAS Prima brake kit for the Fiat 124 and 2000! For the daily driver, street performance enthusiast, and budget racer... Utilizing Euro parts and the finest American design and workmanship, you can rely on these brakes for years to come; and they won't break the bank.

This is not merely an oversized stock brake system; this is a modern brake system with vastly improved “sliding pin” calipers, and oversized VENTED rotors (also available drilled and slotted). This is the same technology Fiat chose above all others for use on the venerated Nuova 500, which we have now brought to your classic Fiat for an unbeatable price!

Original vintage Fiat brakes utilize archaic and troublesome solid rotors and the “sliding wedge” caliper design, which requires the moving portion of the brake assembly to grind and slide across large steel brake wedges. These surfaces are prone to rust, corrosion, brake dust accumulation, and more, which leads to dragging brakes and horrible, inconsistent brake performance. The most noticeable and hazardous result of this is rapid, uneven braking described as “sawing” at the steering wheel.

Solid rotors and sliding wedge calipers have gone the way of the buffalo, and for a very good reason. Like modern Fiat brakes, the new Prima kit eliminates the many problems associated with solid rotors and sliding wedge calipers, and goes even farther. Prima brakes will perform with grace under the most demanding driving, for both safety and fun!

VAS will offer a full line of inexpensive and easy-to-install replacement parts, which will bring your new front brakes to a swift stop--far into the future.

The highlights:
  • Technology of modern Fiats
  • Increased braking force
  • Increased brake rotor cooling
  • Better braking consistency
  • Improved caliper design
  • Increased brake pad surface area
  • Good pedal response
  • Streetable pedal travel
  • DOT-approved stainless brake hoses
  • Available replacement parts!
  • Modern braking performance!!
  • Low price!!!

I'll now leave you to ruminate on that for a while... Oh, yeah. Surely you're wondering, "BUT HOW MUCH?!" The answer?




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Wheels of Progress

So you, my faithful readers, get to have a first peek at one of the projects I have been feverishly working on here at the VAS labs...

Now, just look REEEEAAAALLL close. Yeah, real close...

Try not to pop a blood vessel straining or anything!

No, it's not just your average Speedline wheel bearing the Fiat block crest... Behind that vintage alloy lies a big secret. Or, perhaps an oversized secret. You follow my drift?

Stay tuned for more info. But suffice it to say, I'm working on something big!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Spring appears to be upon us, and I thought I would share some of the fruit (pun!) of another couple of hobbies of mine.

Photography and horticulture.

Now, believe me, I was surprised to see my new plum trees already in full flower so early, but I couldn't miss a chance to celebrate with some macros!

Both my apple and peach trees are leafing out with fervor!
Our fine winged friend heralds a good season of pollination