WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

The key in­gre­di­ent of the TA is its ash frame, so the most im­por­tant thing to do when cast­ing your eye over one is to check it for rot. A lot of it’s hid­den away – so get yours up on ramp. If you can see rot around the dash­board and run­ning boards then chances are it’ll need re­new­ing.

KNOCK ON WOOD

If the body pan­els or doors are sag­ging than there’s a chance the chas­sis is twisted, putting them out of align­ment. The bon­net’s a good place to check, as the cen­tre hinge should align with the joint in the scut­tle. Have a look too or cor­ro­sion, par­tic­u­larly around the gear­box area where the strength­en­ing area can crack with age.

TWIST AND SHOUT

Most TAs and TBs will have been re­stored at least once, so look through the pa­per­work to see what work’s been car­ried out and how well it’s been looked af­ter since. Cor­ro­sion hot spots to watch out for in­clude the wings, the door bot­toms, the rear bulk­head and the area around the fuel tank, where mois­ture gets trapped be­hind the felt mount­ing pads. There’s very lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the TA and TB in terms of body­works.

THE BODY BEAU­TI­FUL

The TA’s MPJG four-pot is a fairly sturdy unit if it’s looked af­ter but the

HOW’S THE EN­GINE?

cylin­der block and head can both crack, so look for signs of wa­ter and oil mix­ing or a may­on­naise-like sub­stance when you open the ra­di­a­tor cap. Look for an oil pres­sure of about 60psi when the car’s warmed up, and check it’s able to run with­out fluc­tu­a­tions in tem­per­a­ture.

Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the con­di­tion of the leaf springs, where reg­u­lar greas­ing of the bushes is vi­tal. It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to check the con­di­tion of the sus­pen­sion com­po­nents at the rear of the car, where the bro­ken or worn mounts risks let­ting the spring strike the petrol tank, with pre­dictably dan­ger­ous con­se­quences. It’s worth check­ing the steer­ing box for wear too – it’s not un­usual for it to be over-ad­justed to cor­rect ex­ces­sive play in the wheel.

SPRING­ING A SUR­PRISE

Make sure you check the con­di­tion of the sidescreens – even if they’re not fit­ted at the point of sale – and put the roof up to check the fab­ric for rips, scuffs and tears and the mount­ing points for signs of a good fit and cor­ro­sion. Have a look too at the con­di­tion of the leather too and look for cracks and dirt get­ting in. While plenty of own­ers pre­fer to keep this pati­na­tion, it’s worth fac­tor­ing in the cost of hav­ing the trim over­hauled if you find any more sub­stan­tial dam­age.

CABIN FEVER

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