WHAT TO LOOK FOR
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.