THE REBUILT GEARBOX IS IN. So is a new front-to-rear brake pipe, the old one squashed during the transplant. So are some vital subframe bolts, previously loose or missing after being inserted the wrong way round by the Lancia's past restorer.

Now the shift is tighter and smoother, the whines have gone and only an annoying oil leak clouds the picture. To celebrate, I installed a new wooden dash panel made by expat Brit Kevin Rosser in Malaga. Now the cabin looks complete and authentic.

Then off to Belgium we went, to the annual Fulvia-Flavia meeting organised by Huib Guerink and Bart Verbeek of the Viva Lancia web forum. We met up with Fulvisti from Holland, Belgium and France, plus fellow Brits Tim and Sarah Heath in their 1600 Sport Zagato. German-domiciled New Yorker John Gordon joined us later in another Zagato to complete the trans-nationalism that is a major Fulviajoy.

The sun shone and Huib, his Series One Fulvia Coupe sporting a Tripmaster and not one but two sat-navs, had devised a brilliant route down through the Ardennes and ultimately to Burgundy. The first night's dinner revealed a chef who proved handy at welding someone's broken rear spring, while at the second night's in Beaune an Italian contingent arrived in two Flavia Coupes, two Beta Monte Carlos and the loveliest Gamma Coupe I've ever seen.

Nearly all the cars behaved impeccably. In our 1300-mile drive, well under a litre of oil was combusted. But the 185/70 tyres are wrong, causing a fidgety ride, over-heavy steering and over-short cruising legs. Next task: a set of correct 175/80s.

'To celebrate. I installed a new wooden dash panel made by expat Brit Kevin Rosser in Malaga'

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