HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL

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

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.

2 EN­GINES

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.

3 GEAR­BOXES

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.

4 IN­TE­RIOR

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.

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