ROT IS THE ENEMY
Examine the bottom six inches of the body for signs of corrosion. Floors, door bottoms, sills and valances are all known for harbouring rot, as are the A-pillars, wheel arches, and the edges of the boot and bonnet.
DOES IT RUN SMOOTHLY?
Check for evidence of regular maintenance within the service history and watch out for oil leaks and oil pressure that drops away after the engine has warmed up – it shouldn’t drop below halfway on the gauge. Oil on the engine block points to worn O-rings below the camshaft bearings.
CHECK THE CABIN
Door panels on neglected cars warp, while damp carpets suggest that the roof isn’t watertight. Seat covers wear prematurely on Series 4 cars and failed electric windows are often down to over-flexed wiring.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
A sloppy feel on the road points to tired dampers and suspension bushes, particularly those for the front wishbones which often perish. A complete overhaul gets pricey, so budget accordingly. A gearbox rebuild is on the way if the synchromesh is playing up on second and third gears.