WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

ALU­MINIUM AND STEEL

Check for rot in the F-sec­tions (com­bined door pil­lars and body sills), in­ner and outer sills, front wings (par­tic­u­larly be­hind the wheels), boot floor, front and rear shrouds and – on Coupés – the area where the roof meets the rear shroud and wings. The doors, bon­net and bootlid alu­minum pan­els over steel frames and should meet the other pan­els evenly.

BLACK STUFF, BAD NEWS

Mi­nor oil leaks – most com­monly from the rear of the crank­shaft – are not un­com­mon, but ma­jor oil leaks or ev­i­dence of the en­gine strug­gling to main­tain oil pres­sure of around 20psi at idle and 50psi at speed are bad news.

COM­MON GEAR­BOX IS­SUES

Gear­boxes get nois­ier with age and non­syn­chromesh first and re­verse gears suf­fer the most, with lay gear clus­ters and layshaft nee­dle roller bear­ings of­ten dam­aged as a re­sult. Se­cond and third gear synchro baulk ring wears out caus­ing wear to the gear dog teeth. Worn gear­boxes of­ten jump out of third gear on the over­run. Rear axles also get nois­ier with age but rarely give any trou­ble, but fail­ure to ad­here to reg­u­lar greas­ing ac­cel­er­ates wear to the front sus­pen­sion swivel pins – they can seize onto the trun­nions.

DUMB­ING DOWN

Many MGAs have been fit­ted with cheaper com­po­nents to keep restora­tion costs down, so watch for ny­lon car­pets in place of the Wil­ton wool or trim trans­planted from the later MGB. Many cars have had their elec­tri­cal sys­tems con­verted from pos­i­tive to neg­a­tive earth to al­low for mod­ern ra­dios to be fit­ted.

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