Take a 30-year-old Fiat to the local garage, and they'll laugh at you: The repairs would exceed the vehicle's value. But find the right manual

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Best Place to Get Your Old Triumph Spitfire Running Again

Take a 30-year-old Fiat to the local garage, and they'll laugh at you: The repairs would exceed the vehicle's value. But find the right manual and that carburetor rebuild can be an affordable, educational weekend project. (Well, maybe two weekends.) Where to find it? Down in Columbia City, where Alex and Ruthie Voss' Books4Cars offers a browser's paradise for a very particular kind of niche reader. For those motorists averse to the dull reliability of today's Hondas and Toyotas, or for those cheapskates committed to passing 200,000 miles on the odometer, doing some of your own mechanical work becomes essential. And there's no better resource than the Vosses' shop and website, which they recently transplanted from Detroit. Their business is international, and they ship from an inventory of 40,000 manuals and automotive books. Some titles are used, necessarily, since old Volvos and Saabs will inevitably change hands. But the wisdom to maintain them is preserved, and you'll never find the PDFs on the web. Only problem is, if you visit the store looking for one manual, you may be inspired by your browsing to buy another project car. Hmmm, an old Jaguar can't be that hard to fix, can it? —Brian Miller 4850 37th Ave. S., 721-3077, books4cars.com

 
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