Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1 BODY BEAU­TI­FUL Look for cracks and ac­ci­dent da­m­age re­pair on the glass­fi­bre shell, es­pe­cially in the cor­ners. Most ob­vi­ous tell-tale sign is mot­tled or shrunken paint. The nose is very prone to stonechips, and pro­fes­sional re­fin­ish­ing can be ex­pen­sive. Ob­jects in the boot can move around and da­m­age the near­side ex­te­rior wing, mean­ing more star cracks here.

2 CHAS­SIS CHECK Chas­sis weren’t gal­vanised un­til May 1980. A re­built car may have had this vi­tally im­por­tant work done, so check pa­per­work or ques­tion the seller. Felt ma­te­rial be­tween the chas­sis and the body that ab­sorbs wa­ter and causes rust – tap ar­eas with a small ham­mer. A sharp clang is good, a dull thud much less so. 3 ENGINE EXAM En­gines have a (partly jus­ti­fied) rep­u­ta­tion for fragility – look for ev­i­dence within the his­tory of 6000-mile/ six-month ser­vices, plus gen­uine Lo­tus anti-drain valve oil fil­ters be­ing fit­ted. Lis­ten for big end rum­bling when the car is started. Oil pres­sure should be around 35psi at 3500rpm but can go as low as 5psi at idle.

4 STOP & GO Be very wary of any gear­box is­sues – they’re shared with the Citroën SM, so parts are get­ting scarce. They should be slick and smooth – worn ca­bles and bushes make them dif­fi­cult. Whin­ing points to worn bear­ings. Be sure to test the hand­brake – it fre­quently seizes be­cause it can’t be lu­bri­cated, and the lever mount­ings can break.

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