Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -


Ford’s Es­sex V6 was used in the SE5, SE5A, SE6 and SE6A. It’s durable with reg­u­lar main­te­nance so you’re re­ally just look­ing for signs of ne­glect. Check for oil leaks, ex­ces­sive ex­haust smoke, and ev­i­dence of head gas­ket fail­ure, and en­sure the cool­ing sys­tem is up to scratch. And ex­pect oil pres­sure of at least 40psi when warm – any­thing less could point to a worn oil pump drive. In 1979, the new SE6B used the Ger­man-built Ford ‘Cologne’ 2.8-litre V6, and they can see off more than 150,000 miles eas­ily. Don’t worry about a rough idle – it’s pretty nor­mal. Do worry about blue smoke.


The chas­sis wasn’t gal­vanised, so ex­am­ine the main chas­sis rails and out­rig­gers, the seat belt mount­ing points, and around the fuel tank (in­clud­ing the tank it­self). The roll-over bar run­ning bolted to the cen­tral out­rig­gers is an­other rust trap. You should also pay at­ten­tion to the area be­neath the ra­di­a­tor and the spare wheel well in the nose.


The glass­fi­bre con­struc­tion means there’s no panel rust to worry about. Metal strength­en­ing in­serts in the SE5 shell can cor­rode and lead to cracks though. Check for cracks and graz­ing, con­cen­trat­ing on stress points such as hinges.


Trun­nions need greasing ev­ery six months to avoid ex­cess wear. Worn bushes can be an is­sue too and while not dif­fi­cult to sort it will be labour-in­ten­sive. Steer­ing and brakes present few wor­ries other than wear and tear and parts are cheap, but the sus­pen­sion needs more care­ful check­ing. Check the mount­ing points for cor­ro­sion as well.


The Borg Warner 35 au­to­matic added from 1970 should be smoothshift­ing. The four-speed man­ual ‘box can suf­fer from crunchy shifts and jump­ing out of gear. Over­drive was added from ’71 and im­proves cruis­ing abil­ity but check it cuts in and out.


In­te­rior con­di­tion is an im­por­tant fac­tor. A full car­pet set can cost £264. En­sure mi­nor trim parts are present and cor­rect and check the electrics too as poor earths and aged wiring cause a mul­ti­tude of nig­gling prob­lems, al­though the elec­tric win­dows in a 5a were al­ways slow. Watch for bro­ken front seat frames and ex­ces­sive creaks and rat­tles.

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