Dionisio Project in Home Stretch

  • Posted: August 28, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

The Dionisio project, which began some eight months ago is now in its final stages. Only fine details and build tweaks remain. A productive visit from the Dionisio family at our Barrington facility last week was all that was necessary to finalize some key elements of the build. Wood for the custom dash along with special order gauges will make a definitive statement in the interior. Real Borrani wheels and a custom exterior graphic will complete the overall look. We have created something very unique for Mr. Dioniso and his son that we are extremely proud of—meeting the family in person was a great moment. It was a chance for us to all share in the efforts made to build this stunning automobile. It makes a huge difference when we get to meet the end user. Knowing the work is appreciated really makes it all worthwhile.         Read the full article

When is a fourth-place finish as good as a first? Roadster Salon takes award as lone Italian at Muscle Car show

  • Posted: August 24, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

In an unexpected development, a Series One Roadster Salon Lusso built originally in 2010, took fourth place at the International Falls Annual Car Show against a field of muscle car entries. “We entered the show on a lark. Our Lusso was one of only three foreign cars at the show, so we were really surprised at the attention it received, considering the audience. The top three cars were a 1972 Mustang, a 1969 Chevy Z28 Camaro and a 1917 Dodge Touring, so we were in nice company.” Most people had no idea what the car really was, and assumed it was a 1960’s Ferrari. This particular Lusso was production number 02/50. Over the years, the owner has upgraded the car each winter, as Roadster has developed new technology. Currently the car has received most S2 upgrades including our second-generation rack/pinion steering system. Unlike some Lusso models that are show ponies, Read the full article

Roadster Salon Spider Tributo’s Has Arrived

  • Posted: July 13, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

My Dad loved metaphors, slogans and “isms”. One of his favorites was “In life, things never stay the same. You are either getting better or getting worse.” This slogan became his business mantra, as he constantly urged us to improve. Dad wanted every car we build to be better than the one that came before it. To him, anything less meant staying the same—and that was synonymous with failure. Crema Interior Saddle Interior Ferrari Red Interior The new Tributo is based on the immensely popular Lusso S2 Roadster Salon is always moving forward, refining our vision. While the original Lusso was mostly a cosmetic exercise, the Series Two was a sincere effort to update the Spider and make it more in tune with today’s drivers and roads. Several years after my Dad passed away, I remember sitting down with our engineers in the conference room, and listing a stock spider’s Read the full article

Roadster Salon Expands Service Department

  • Posted: June 20, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

After years of only servicing our own restoration customers, Roadster Salon has expanded our service capabilities to help customers who are currently being turned away from their local Fiat-Alfa-Maserati franchised dealer service departments. “Unfortunately, in nearly all cases these dealers are only trained on the new models by the factory. They have zero interest or expertise in working on the vintage models. That leaves owners of older Fiats and Alfa Romeos out in the cold.” As an FYI, we can also service newer Fiat models including the Abarth and 124. Roadster Salon now offers labor discounts to Italian car club members. Call about our appointment schedule, as we anticipate longer lead times until staff is ramped up to accommodate demand.

15 minutes of Spring and its almost Summer—Dionisio Project heads into June

  • Posted: May 28, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

Managing multiple projects at the same time requires a great deal of coordination and a little luck. This year, the testing of late stage projects has taken on quite a bit of headwind. From relentless rain to the seemingly unending grip of Winter, Mother Nature has not done Roadster Salon any favors this year. Virtually every project has fallen behind. With the weather not breaking until early May, frustration with our lack of ability to road test has put the entire staff on edge. D’Avola built engine, a work of art Engine build in process Timing concerns with the ability to take delivery overseas over the Summer has provided some flexibility on the Dioniso build. While originally planned for an unveiling during July, the delivery date has been pushed back to September to coincide with the Dioniso family’s travel plans. Engine and Mechanical phases continue with the body work completed Read the full article

End of April, and snow still on the ground. Take me to Miami.

  • Posted: April 26, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

While Winter’s grip has lasted much longer than anyone cares for, Roadster trudges on. Very frustrating to be looking into May still wearing your parka from Eddie Baur. Pleased to report a stunning result from the body shop, with the Dioniso spider receiving some of the best paint work we have ever done. As shown in the photos, the meticulous attention to detail given to our mechanical and interior work is also reflected in our exterior treatment. Body components hung in primer Same components painted vertically Operations Manager Rob Baird explains: “You can paint a car for $2500 or $25,000. While the quality and quantity of materials used is certainly important, the key to a stunning paint job is all in the details. Preparation, execution and finish work are all critical. It all comes down to how much time you want to spend. How many hours were allocated to carefully Read the full article

A month later and no sign of Spring, Dioniso March Update

  • Posted: March 16, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

In the last six weeks the groundhog saw his shadow, and the nasty Winter continues. Inside work is all that is possible at this time of the year, and Roadster uses this opportunity to focus on the mechanical, body and interior stages of our projects. Once the Dionisio car was fully stripped, the chassis was media blasted. Higher end builds include the paint stripping of the undercarriage as well as the exterior and tub. Exposing areas of concern is always our first priority. Since we don’t have X-ray vison, we simply can’t trust what we see on the surface. We simply won’t know what may be lurking underneath the paint unless it is removed. Clean body requiring only minimal body smoothing Body in stage 1 primer Special second stage primer for Ferrari yellow paint Luckily, this chassis was from a Southern climate. Previously undercoated cars can be a mixed blessing. Read the full article

It is February, and it’s freezing in Chicago. Dionisio Update

  • Posted: February 15, 2018
  • by Ray Marchica

After careful consideration, a particular vintage shade of Ferrari Fly yellow was finalized for the exterior color. Leather samples are still being discussed. So far, the creative dynamic established between Roadster, Mr. Dionisio in Europe and his son in California has been a bit of a model of cooperation. Like all projects, the devil is in the details. Some of the fine points of the build are still being debated—but we are making progress. Fortunately, the initial build sheet provides a solid platform to work from. It isn’t necessary to make final decisions about trim or interior finishes during the first stages of the build. All mid-level and higher restorations require the complete disassembly of the chassis. This includes having all mechanical components and trim removed and the car stripped down to the bone. This is an arduous task. According to Senior Technician Ken Zeuchel, the process of removing all Read the full article

The Dionisio Project—A Roadster Salon build in real time

  • Posted: December 13, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

We have been asked repeatedly about chronologically following a full restoration in real time on our blog. Several weeks ago, we were contacted by a customer in Switzerland and his son in California about helping them realize their vision of a custom spider, based on our Spider Tributo model. This design would incorporate cosmetic elements of our Spider America (CE), such as the revised proprietary body panels, but would retain the stock Fiat drive line. A computer rendering of their vision was provided, and shown below. We spoke for several weeks about chassis selection, custom features, build process, scheduling, and time line. In early December, we settled on a 1983 Pininfarina from our inventory with 50K original miles as the basis for their project. We selected this chassis for its rarity, rust free tub, original paint, documented low miles, and overall value. Custom builds like the Dionisio Project typically undergo Read the full article

Upgrades Improve Safety Too

  • Posted:
  • by Ray Marchica

Recently an article published in AARP Magazine raised the notion that classic cars designed in the 1960’s and 1970’s are unsafe by today’s standards. There were six areas pointed out by veteran collector Gordon McCall as suspect in classics built prior to the wave of safety requirements mandated in the early 90’s. Inadequate seat belts, poor braking systems, out dated tire design, worm/roller steering systems, sub-standard head lights and the lack of back-up cameras were all sited by McCall as potential safety hazards. While certainly concerning, it should be noted that Fiat/Pininfarina Spiders were ahead of their time compared to other classic sports cars from the same era. Interestingly, proprietary safety and performance upgrades have been the focus of Roadster Salon’s engineering and development team for nearly a decade. While my Dad was fiercely loyal to keeping his restorations as original as possible, he grudgingly admitted that the Spider had Read the full article


2016 Fiat Freakout - 1st place

Roadster Salon was the proud recipient of the 2016 Fiat Detroit FreakOut

2014 Fiat Freakout - 1st place

Roadster Salon was the proud recipient of the 2014 Fiat FreakOut Award, sponsored by Fiat of Chicago!


Garage Style Magazine Issue 23

Roadster Salon, Rich and Rob were all featured in the Winter 2013 issue of Garage Style Magazine. Read Full Article

Garage Style Magazine Issue 25

We’re humbled by this really wonderful write-up on an experience purchasing a Fiat 124 from Roadster Salon, featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Garage Style Magazine. Read Full Article

Auto Italia Issue 221

Auto Italia is brought to you by a group of journalists and photographers united by a passion for Italian cars.

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