WHAT TO LOOK FOR

GROT SPOTTING

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

Check ev­ery­where for cor­ro­sion, in­clud­ing the bulk­heads, sills and chas­sis rails. If the drain holes are blocked the in­ner sills will prob­a­bly be as rot­ten as the outers, so ma­jor weld­ing will be needed. The outer pan­els are more rot-prone than the struc­tural ones, so in­spect ev­ery­thing for filler or fes­ter­ing steel. Home in on the valances, front wings (around the head­lamps and along their trail­ing edges), the door bot­toms and the rear whee­larches. Also scru­ti­nise the un­der­side of the in­ner wings which fea­ture a box sec­tion that’s welded in to pro­vide ad­di­tional strength. They tend to rot badly, weak­en­ing the car’s front end. Also lift the car­pets if you can, to check for bodged floor­pans and sills; if there’s sig­nif­i­cant cor­ro­sion vis­i­ble when you check the footwells, ex­pect worse out of sight.

EN­GINE EX­AM­I­NA­TION

The 2912cc C-se­ries straight-six is smooth, long-lived and easy to main­tain as well as re­build. Thanks to its fit­ment in the big Healey it’s easy to tune too; gas-flowed heads and a hot­ter camshaft can make it breathe much more ef­fi­ciently when done prop­erly. It’s not cheap to over­haul though, which is why most own­ers fit a used en­gine, avail­able from around £500. Sim­ply en­gi­neered, blue smoke when you start up or ac­cel­er­ate through the gears be­trays worn pis­ton rings and/or cylin­der bores. If the en­gine is re­ally worn it’ll be knock­ing from the bot­tom end, es­pe­cially when start­ing up or pulling away. Also keep an eye on the oil pres­sure gauge; ex­pect at least 25psi at tick­over and around 55psi when cruis­ing.

TRANS­MIS­SION TRI­ALS

Un­til the MkII cars ar­rived in July 1964 there were three­speed man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions; later man­ual gear­boxes got an ex­tra ra­tio. The ear­lier man­ual boxes have syn­chro­mesh on third and fourth only; later trans­mis­sions were all-syn­chro units. All cars fea­tured a col­umn change un­til 1961; from this point on the three-speed man­ual came with a floor-mounted change in­stead. The man­ual gear­boxes are tough but once worn they whine loudly and gearchanges will be crunchy be­cause of tired syn­chro­mesh. A used trans­mis­sion is your best bet; £500 bags some­thing de­cent. The Borg-Warner au­to­matic gear­box was a DG unit un­til 1964, then a Type 35. Both are strong, most prob­lems stem­ming from poor main­te­nance, so check the fluid level; be wary if it’s black and smells of rot­ten eggs. A worth­while used trans­mis­sion costs from £100, but good ones are scarce; a re­build costs £750 plus.

WHAT LIES BE­NEATH

Steer­ing boxes leak while power-as­sisted cars can suf­fer from leaky

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