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RichardSIA Reader
6/3/20 12:13 a.m.

"1968"  Di-Tipo, "Period Correct" Buick 225/T10 4-speed power!

Back to cars!

Started another Dio-Tipo build. As much fun as I know the finished car will be it's intended for resale, maybe after I run at least one event. Dio Tipo body, TR4a frame, hot-rod Buick 225 V6 and T10 close ratio trans.

TR frame gives me R&P steering with front disc brakes. I already have a pretty warmed up 225 that just needs to be freshened. I've run this engine before, the prior builder did some fairly impressive port work, it will outrun a 231 and a lot SBC's. Scored a CR (2:20 first gear) cast iron T10 for only 300.00 on CL, and a new clutch kit to match for only $90.00 at the Summit Racing warehouse. Of course my bargain will be diminished by the time I locate a shifter and linkage.

And then there's the price of getting a reasonably light flywheel.

I will be making this a "Period Correct" sort of build, all vintage goodies from the TR4 frame on up. I already have several intakes, 4V carb, "Jeep" headers to modify.

Now if I could just do the "Groundhog Day" thing and work every day over and over again to have enough time.....


Tore down the 225 V6. Cam is a Crower M4807 for which I have been unable to find any specs. Guess I get to learn how to profile a cam unless Crower answers my email. Most parts look like new but there is just enough ridge in the cylinders that I want new pistons. May have to go with custom as it seems none of the part numbers from "The Buick Free Spirit" power manual are current. Using an Offenhauser 360º® intake, not because it's the "Best" possible but because it is a divided single plane type and the ports match very well. Two major engine purchases still loom, pistons, and a new flywheel. The original Jeep® flywheel was 70 Lb.! Since this is to be a budget build that will be sold to someone using it as a street car I suppose I will go with the slightly heavier steel version.

Tonight I completed making up the formal, documented, build plan.

Circa 1968 or so "Period Correct" build.

I already have most of the major components, body, frame, warmed-up 225 "Odd-Fire" V6, Saginaw iron case close ratio 4-speed, and some NOS SW gauges.

Social insecurity is to start in August, so I should have better funding to get this done by spring 2021.

Not sure what the economy will be like by then but I'm proceeding as if recovery is assured.

To do anything else would be to abandon all my builds.

APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/3/20 8:46 a.m.

Well, thanks a lot.  I'd never heard of a Dio-Tipo body before and now after seeing this thread and doing some googling I really want one.

jmc14 Reader
6/3/20 3:40 p.m.

It's great that you are back to building the Dio Richard.  I hope that you get it completed with in your time frame.  I'll be following.

Here's a picture of Bill Bonidio's car.  I thought that some here would like to see what the body looks like.

Take care!

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/3/20 4:20 p.m.

This is another version, the Ambro. Similar body. This belongs to a friend. He runs it in VRG events usually. When not driving his 59 formula junior OSCA that is. It's got a SBC 327, 4 speed with Datsun 240 bits at the corners. Weighs about 1200 pounds. I can in fact tell you it will go sideways if you get on the loud pedal hard. Was a handful to autocross.

jmc14 Reader
6/3/20 5:53 p.m.

My memory isn't as great as it once was.  Here is what I remember.  Bill Ames was a partner in the creation of the Ambro.  The idea was to combine some of the shape of the Lister Knobbly with the Maserati 61.  Bill was from MN.  I use to live there as well.  He moved to my town of Elizabethtown, NY. (I live in Elizabethtown and have had a business here since 1987)   I didn't know him well but we did talk a few times.  He drove around in Corvair convertible. 

Bill Bonadio is the guy behind the Dio-Tipo. He either obtained a body to mold or the molds for the Ambro.  I think that he had contacted Bill Ames to discuss carrying on with the car.  

I met Bonadio a few times at an event called Run n Gun which was held at Gateway Raceway. We competed in our respective cars in timed Road Racing, Autocross, and Drags.  Bill's car is powered by a SBF.  He was always very fast.   Bill is also a chef and at the time had owned an Italian restaurant.  He knew the best places and we had good meals together. 

I love the Burgandy/Silver combo.  The car that I competed with was painted in similar colors. 


keithedwards Reader
6/3/20 6:29 p.m.

I have an ADDCO front swaybar I ordered for my TR3 racecar, but never installed. I am pretty sure it would also fit the TR4 chassis. I think it should be considered period-correct.

RichardSIA Reader
6/3/20 7:49 p.m.

In reply to keithedwards :

ADDCO should be period correct.

This bring up a point I need to consider since this is intended as a for sale build.

I am building my own Dio Tipo/Alfa to be as neutral handling as possible.

But is that a good idea for a more powerful version that is to be sold?

Most non-Porsche cars have lot of built-in understeer, with the claim that this is "Safer" than oversteer.

I personally despise understeer, should I assume the buyer of a car like this will be competent to drive it, or let it plow like an old Impala?

I know a mere 225" V6 may not seem like a lot, but these cars were originally TR3 based.


keithedwards Reader
6/3/20 8:04 p.m.

In reply to RichardSIA :

My TR3 race car spent a lot of time road racing in E/P before I bought it in '80 or '81. I mostly autocrossed it. HP was estimated to be 140. It had a lot of factory-approved performance parts (and receipts signed by Kaz Kastner). It would oversteer too easily, which is why I bought the sway bar.


RichardSIA Reader
6/3/20 8:21 p.m.

Did it tend to lift the outside wheel on hard (ish) corners?

I used to wonder if that was some engineers idea of a safety feature, it certainly delays further acceleration.

keithedwards Reader
6/3/20 8:40 p.m.

In reply to RichardSIA :

I don't recall that. Suspension was very stiff. Had 3 or 4 degrees of camber in the front. The vertical links had been heated and bent. There were torque tubes in the rear, 4.3 diff with a Detroit locker. It could easily get away from you. I will have to look for some pictures of it cornering.

nderwater UltimaDork
6/10/20 8:09 p.m.

Really really want to see this project succeed.  Thanks for sharing!

RichardSIA Reader
6/12/20 12:20 a.m.

Found out today that I should have a little bit of "Found" money soon.

Began shopping for the biggest ticket items, pistons, wheels, tires.

Pistons may be a killer at $1,050 for forged JE. I have another block I need to tear down and measure.

I would like to re-use the pistons I already have (Balanced engine) but they are standard bore so I would need a very low mileage 225 block.

I would like to use wire wheels but expect the Buick will make too much power.

Spun the centers out of my Healey 3000 several times. sad

I doubt the stronger Jag wheels adapt to a TR at reasonable cost.

So it will probably be TR6 wheels, or maybe something vintage if I can find a nice set.

Tires are the easy part, need not even be fancy rubber as vintage suspension probably wants vintage type rubber.

keithedwards Reader
6/12/20 5:54 a.m.
keithedwards said:

In reply to RichardSIA :

I don't recall that. Suspension was very stiff. Had 3 or 4 degrees of camber in the front. The vertical links had been heated and bent. There were torque tubes in the rear, 4.3 diff with a Detroit locker. It could easily get away from you. I will have to look for some pictures of it cornering.

This is all I could find for a picture of my car cornering. This is at a relatively low-speed autocross, in the '80s. 

RichardSIA Reader
6/13/20 11:33 p.m.

Who has the best prices on good quality TR4 suspension rebuild parts these days?

Moss seems to be high on everything.

Plan to start from the frame up on this one, easier to roll around on wheels.

keithedwards Reader
6/14/20 8:32 a.m.

In reply to RichardSIA : I haven't paid attention, lately. I always considered Moss to be a little high, but I bought from them now and then. Probably bought more from The Roadster Factory https://www.the-roadster-factory.com/indexmain.php




RichardSIA Reader
6/15/20 1:35 a.m.

The Buick 225 engine rebuild is being frustrating.

Got out the measuring tools and found that this engine is actually .040" oversize.

My other Buick V6 block is .030" over.

Forged 10.25-1 Buick 350 V8 pistons used to be readily available and cheap but now seem to be impossible.

My "Best" option for availability and cost appears to be putting the .040" pistons into the .030" over block.

That would also retain the prior balance job. yes

Possible issue is that .010" may not clean up perfectly. no

Another option is to use 231/3.8 standard pistons which would be .050" over from the standard 225 bore.

Biggest downfall of the 231/3.8 pistons is that it seems they are virtually all deep-dish for Turbo, and all forged are deep dish. angry

There are some Hypereutectic available which are supposed to be a step-up from cast, but dome volume is a $#!&^ secret!

Clue for piston manufacturers, not all Buick V6's are Turbo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hoping to be able to dig out more  details on new pistons in the morning.

I know the 231/3.8 pistons would be fine in the .030" over block.

Oh, and yea, JE custom forged are "Only" $1,050.00 for the set!

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
6/15/20 6:46 a.m.

Is it time to consider a different period correct engine/trans ?  A 289 would also be pretty sweet in there.

RichardSIA Reader
6/15/20 11:29 a.m.
Indy "Nub" Guy said:

Is it time to consider a different period correct engine/trans ?  A 289 would also be pretty sweet in there.

No, I'm stubborn and a larger engine then requires changing out the rear axle, then my hub patterns would not match without even more work.

A 289 would have to be found and paid for, not fit the Saginaw, etc.,

So I am going to complete stripping the .030" block, wear is minimal so the .040" pistons "Should" work.

If they do not I can get a set of the KB Hypers but might lose some compression from the current 10-1.

RichardSIA Reader
6/15/20 10:26 p.m.

.030" over block is at the machine shop to be cleaned.

Now I need to sort and measure the parts I am reusing from the two engines.

Need to find another BOP bell-housing and Muncie or Saginaw 4-speed as I still have a 3.8 even-fire to be built.

3.8 may just be made up as a spare for my Trick-6 project since it's a keeper.

Also found out today that the 3.8 factory Turbo NIB engine I sold decades ago is still kicking around so I might be able to buy it back.

It's a carburetted engine, no %$#! ECU, I could work with it. Turbo sits up top, so pretty tall, hmm, I've never built a T-Bucket with speedster nose?

RichardSIA Reader
6/16/20 11:33 p.m.

Well nuts, looks like I do have to buy a cam.

What I've done in the past was to buy "Too Much" cam and then fit Rhoads lifters, worked great.

Finding it hard to get very much cam for a 225. 

So far Comp only has pretty mild versions, but Isky may be more frisky!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/20 5:33 a.m.

In reply to RichardSIA :

Is the 225 even-fire? I'm only vaguely familiar with the 231 odd-fire engines. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/17/20 5:56 a.m.

I'd never heard of these, but it sounds interesting.

I'll just say be VERY weary of shopping for Triumph parts based on price alone.  Quality varies a lot and it seems that QC is often the first to go out the window to cut costs.

While he mainly focuses on TR6 IRS bits, I believe the front suspension is pretty similar, so I'd talk to Richard Good

RichardSIA Reader
6/19/20 1:49 a.m.

Nothing exciting today, maybe a little, since I did confirm that I may indeed use the "Tall-Port" Smokey Yunick designed 231 heads on the 225 odd-fire block. yes

This does alter the engine appearance a bit, but for 30%+ more port flow I will live with that. Convenient that I have hoarded Buick V6 parts for several years so now have the "Right" parts to make decent horsepower. Not a crazy build but I'm thinking around a minimum 200 HP in a 1400 Lb. car. HP may actually be a bit more, weight is planned to be a bit less. devil

Otherwise today was as mundane as it gets, stripping down and cleaning the 3.8 heads.

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/20 7:25 a.m.

In reply to RichardSIA :

Tell me more about the body. Where did you get it from? Did you buy it new?

RichardSIA Reader
6/19/20 12:10 p.m.

Did not get mine new, a CL find from No. California.

Probably paid more than I should have but in addition to the body I got the TR4 chassis with it.

It's an unfinished project from long ago, the custom widened rear TR wheels have OLD Goodyear Bluestreak racing tires on them.

New bodies are available from Dio Cars, https://diocars.com

The hardest trick in building one of these is finding a sufficiently narrow suspension as they are originally based on the big TR's. Since I already have a TR chassis that is not an issue for me.

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