WHAT TO LOOK FOR
BROWN RUST FOR ALL TO SEE
Watch out for rust – this might seem obvious when said aloud, but most of these cars won’t have had an easy life. Many may have been forgotten about, left outside to battle the elements and rust will have set in. Front wings, behind the headlights, around the filler cap, in the boot floor and round the rear window edge are the obvious places to start. However, you should check ever inch of the car for problems. The construction is very lightweight, meaning that the thin panels are easily dented and any tinworm will significantly weaken the structure.
SIMPLE INTERIOR, CHEAP TO FIX
Cabins are simple. This means there’s theoretically less to go wrong, but the cheap trim is known for falling off or breaking – don’t let this put you off, you can always find bits for them. The interior light leaking is quite a common problem, with one quick fix involving removing the aerial and sticking some grease under the mounting. A leaking heater is a more complex thing to fix though.
A crunching noise while changing gears should ring alarm bells. It’s usually caused by very worn gear linkages. Gearboxes can be found easily, though.
This chirpy and cheap car has five different engine variations, ranging from a 1.5-litre iron block diesel to a 1.4-litre 100bhp OHC beauty. All are long-lived (especially the diesels) although oil leaks are common. Check service history for oil, coolant and cambelt changes. Diesels can survive for well over 150,000 miles if properly maintained.