HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL
1 RUST CHECKS
The monocoque chassis steel is thick, but accumulations of mud will accelerate rot. Sills, inner wings, spring mounts and the bulkhead are the main areas to check, plus the fuel tank mounting points. Inside, check the front footwells and boot floor.
Before imports began into the UK in 1977, a 1.3-litre Fiatderived petrol engine was fitted. From 1977, onwards the engines were carb-fed 1.6-litre units, then re-bored to 1.7 litres and fitted with GM injection from 1995. They’re all extremely hardy if well maintained.
Four- and five-speed manual gearboxes were produced, all with permanent fourwheel drive. Listen for excessive whining, and experiment with the locking diff’ to make sure it all works.
The switchgear and dash components will often need replacing. The same can be said for the electrics – water ingress accelerates corrosion of terminals and causes electrical failure. Check that there are no stress cracks in the seat mounts.
5 RUNNING GEAR
Disc brakes are fitted on the front, with drums at the rear. It’s a servo-assisted, dual-line system, but expect performance to be average. Springs, dampers and bushes all take a hammering off road and will often require replacement.