Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -


These cars re­sist rust well, but if the front or rear screens have leaked, it will af­fect the bulk­heads and footwells; look from in­side the en­gine bay and in the car it­self. Other known grot spots are the dou­ble-skinned rear whee­larches and the rear in­ner pan­els. Look in­side the boot for a rot­ten spare wheel well and check the edge of the bootlid too. On es­tates, scru­ti­nise the split tail­gate care­fully. Front wings, around the whee­larches and head­lamps, plus the lower edges of doors, can suf­fer from cor­ro­sion and, nat­u­rally, check all along the sills too. The bon­net edge and seams around the grille are also vul­ner­a­ble.


En­gines are tough, but the early 1580cc unit isn’t as strong as its suc­ces­sors as it has a three-bear­ing crank rather than the later five-bear­ing one. Reg­u­lar oil changes are the se­cret to a long life, as is us­ing the cor­rect Volvo oil fil­ter with a non-re­turn valve. Lis­ten for noisy bear­ings plus loud tim­ing gear. Check the tem­per­a­ture; if it’s run­ning cool, then it may be a failed ther­mo­stat. Nee­dles in the orig­i­nal Stromberg car­bu­ret­tors can wear, so many own­ers up­grade to SUs in­stead. Warm oil pres­sure should be 40psi at idle, or 50-55psi on the move.


Most cars have a four­speed man­ual gear­box, but three-speed­ers and au­to­mat­ics are just as re­silient. A man­ual car with over­drive is a wise choice. The rub­ber in the cen­tre of the prop­shaft wears out in time; un­for­tu­nately, choos­ing which one of the three pos­si­ble re­place­ments is the right one to fit is a chal­lenge.


Sus­pen­sion bushes, espe­cially for the wish­bones, wear out. Coil springs have a ten­dency to break too. Ear­lier cars have a rear radius arm that rusts badly, so get un­der­neath and check it. On es­tates, the radius arms are heavy duty but can still fail.


In­te­ri­ors are sim­ple and hard wear­ing, though cer­tain items of trim can be dif­fi­cult or ex­pen­sive to source. That in­cludes ex­te­rior items such as the com­plex bumpers. Elec­tri­cal is­sues are usu­ally bad earths, cor­ro­sion or a blown 30amp fuse in the en­gine bay.

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