Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

In­spect the chas­sis rails to see if they run straight along the car’s length – if there’s any rip­pling or wa­ver­ing it’s a sign of pre­vi­ous ac­ci­dent dam­age. It’s also worth snoop­ing around the chas­sis out­rig­gers for signs of cor­ro­sion, as Austin-Healey didn’t rust­proof these ar­eas from new.


Take a look at the swage line run­ning down the car’s pro­file – it’s a com­pli­cated bit of the 3000’s con­struc­tion with sev­eral over­lap­ping pan­els, so if it’s mis­aligned it’s a sign of bodged re­pairs in its past. You should also check care­fully for signs of cor­ro­sion along the top of the front wings, the area be­hind the doors and the outer sills.


Watch out for overly heavy, vague or sloppy steer­ing on the test drive, which of­ten in­di­cates the steer­ing box wear­ing out. Jack the car up and gen­tly rock ei­ther wheel up and down to check for signs of ex­ces­sive move­ment, which can help to di­ag­nose poorly king­pins. Ide­ally, these com­po­nents should be greased ev­ery time the car’s ser­viced, so ask when it was last done.


The C-se­ries is a fairly tough unit that can take big mileages but it’s im­por­tant to make sure it’s been looked af­ter. The oc­ca­sional drip of oil shouldn’t lose you any sleep but be wary of a 3000 that can’t keep an oil pres­sure of around 50psi when out on the open road.


Plenty of the 3000s that have al­ready been re­stored have been decked out with leather trim to re­place the orig­i­nal vinyl, so don’t be sur­prised if the one you’re look­ing at isn’t quite fac­tory-spec. If it hasn’t, it is pos­si­ble to buy re­place­ment trim sets and seat cov­ers. Look too for car­pets that are har­bour­ing damp – if left un­treated it can spark cor­ro­sion on the floor­pan be­neath.


Have a look at the car’s rear-end stance – sus­pen­sion mod­i­fi­ca­tions on the MkIII mod­els mean a big gap be­tween the tyres and rear whee­larches is nor­mal, but if the car’s lean­ing to ei­ther side it’s a sign the spring hang­ers are cor­rod­ing. Get this sorted out, as it’ll af­fect the car’s han­dling.


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