HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL
1 BODY The shell is made of GRP (thinner on A-spec cars). Ripples and poor panel gaps suggest dodgy repairs, ageing or crash damage. The chassis corrodes around the cross members, front suspension turrets and steering box mounts.
2 ENGINE Replacement alloy cylinder heads are no longer available, so check coolant condition and level, and look for leaks. Oil should be around 40psi while driving. Blue exhaust smoke is likely as a result of worn valve guides. 3 TRANSMISSION Manuals are preferable to automatics, which can suffer oil leaks and high rebuild costs. Listen out for a noisy rear axle which can develop clunks.
4 INTERIOR Replacing trim and dash equipment is all possible but costly. Check for signs of water ingress (past or present) – corrosion, stains and damage to electrics. Corroded electrical terminals are a pain so be sure to check the condition of the wiring loom. 5 RUNNING GEAR Original steering is by worm gear, though rack-and-pinion conversions are available, and the Girling brakes can also be given a servo conversion, so get a grasp of what’s original and what might have been modernised. The front trunnions need regular greasing and can be very expensive to replace if they seize or wear out.