WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

KEEP IN TRIM

Re­fur­bish­ing the cabin is fairly straight­for­ward thanks to su­perb parts avail­abil­ity, but the costs will soon mount. Bud­get ac­cord­ingly if trim is dam­aged or de­crepit, and watch for musti­ness that in­di­cates damp creep­ing

CHECK FOR WEAR

Sus­pen­sion-wise, the B can suf­fer from leak­ing lever-arm shock ab­sorbers, worn front wish­bone bushes and sag­ging rear leaf springs. All can be fixed without break­ing the bank, but rot around mount­ings is a pricier prob­lem. Front king­pins need to greased ev­ery 3000 miles. Also check for cracks around the steer­ing rack mounts, and slop­pi­ness that in­di­cates wear in the rack it­self.

HEALTHY STOP­PERS

The Lock­heed disc/drum brakes are trou­ble-free (un­less ne­glected) and easy enough to over­haul, al­though it’s worth en­sur­ing that lack of use hasn’t led to cor­ro­sion of the rear items. The sys­tem was servo-as­sisted as stan­dard, too, so a hard pedal or lack of ef­fi­ciency points to a leak some­where. Lastly, it’s worth ex­am­in­ing the orig­i­nal Dun­lop wheels if they’re still fit­ted; they used an al­loy cen­tre and steel rim so there’s the risk of gal­vanic cor­ro­sion.

WATCH FOR ROT

No­table cor­ro­sion on the out­side will be much worse deeper in, so be very wary. The usual spots need scru­tiny – inner and outer wings, whee­larches, door bot­toms, bon­net, and tail­gate – but pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the sills. Re­place­ment in­volves cut­ting off the bot­toms of the front and rear wings, so watch for bodges and badly-fit­ted cover sills hid­ing epic rust. Many ex­am­ples have been re­stored but qual­ity work is cru­cial, so check for filler and ill-fit­ting pan­els; door align­ment is hard to get right, too, and will ex­pose a shoddy restora­tion if the door catches the B-post. in and floor cor­ro­sion. Make sure that the electrics haven’t been sub­jected to bodgery. Also worth not­ing is that late ex­am­ples could fea­ture non-match­ing trim as stock dwin­dled, so ask the clubs about the cor­rect spec­i­fi­ca­tion if you value orig­i­nal­ity.

YEP, MORE ROT

Floors, out­rig­gers, jack­ing points and spring hang­ers all like to dis­solve; and re­mem­ber to check the state of the body pil­lars, bat­tery trays, fuel tank, and the nu­mer­ous box sec­tions. Rot also at­tacks the scut­tle and wind­screen sur­round. A reshell is pos­si­ble, but ma­jor surgery will see costs well into five fig­ures. Chrome bumper mod­els were the most nu­mer­ous (around 750 rub­ber-bumper cars were made).

TRANS­MIS­SION WEAKNESS

The ex­tra torque can stress the stan­dard gear­box, so watch for jump­ing out of gear, worn syn­chro­mesh and general whines and rum­bles. Chipped teeth on sec­ond and third gears are usu­ally in­di­cated by a tick­ing when driv­ing. A five-speed con­ver­sion us­ing a hardier trans­mis­sion is a com­mon fix. You’ll also need to check the op­er­a­tion of the Lay­cock over­drive as dirty or in­cor­rect oil or wiring is­sues causes prob­lems, and watch for a worn or oil-con­tam­i­nated clutch and clonk­ing prop­shaft UJs. If the back axle is noisy, bud­get around £500 for re­plac­ing the crown-wheel and pin­ion with re­man­u­fac­tured items of the cor­rect – and V8-spe­cific – ra­tio.

TOUGH BENT-EIGHT

The V8 is re­li­able with proper care, so look for reg­u­lar oil and fil­ter changes; ev­ery 3000 miles is best – it staves off wear in the rocker shaft and pre­vents sludged hy­draulic tap­pets. The rear­most cylin­ders are of­ten worst af­fected by the lat­ter so lis­ten for a rat­tle when driv­ing. Oil pres­sure should be 40psi when warm. Cor­rect coolant strength is a must to pre­vent cor­ro­sion of the all-al­loy en­gine, and look for signs of over­heat­ing or com­pro­mised cylin­der head gas­kets, along with leaks from ra­di­a­tor or wa­ter pump. Poor run­ning is of­ten worn SU carbs or a tired ig­ni­tion sys­tem. An af­ter­mar­ket elec­tronic fuel pump can im­prove mat­ters. Do es­tab­lish whether it’s a gen­uine V8 or a con­ver­sion.

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