WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Epic Battles -

MINI

Check for rot in key ar­eas: the floor, in­ner and outer sills, and the rear sub­frame mount­ings and the floor around them.

Check that the car has re­ceived reg­u­lar oil changes – nec­es­sary be­cause the en­gine and gear­box share the same oil. Some gear­box noise is fine but be­ware cars that jump out of gear. Lis­ten also for tim­ing chain rat­tle and worn big ends.

Most im­por­tantly, check your Mini’s au­then­tic­ity. Coop­ers have been com­mand­ing huge prices for years, but so now are early cars. Is your po­ten­tial pur­chase the car the ven­dor says it is? Has it been re-shelled at any point? Has any work been car­ried out pro­fes­sion­ally?

FIAT 500

Rot is the big en­emy of th­ese lit­tle Fi­ats and can strike in many places. The floors are a known grot-spot, like­wise the body seams and edges. Watch out for bad weld­ing and bodged re­pairs, and don’t be scared to lift car­pets or (if pos­si­ble) get the car on a ramp.

En­gines are ex­tremely ro­bust, though oil leaks are com­mon, par­tic­u­larly from the rocker cover, where the gas­ket can fail. Tim­ing chains also wear and core plugs can drop from the crank­shaft.

Many 500s on the Bri­tish mar­ket are re­stored Ital­ian im­ports. Check that any work has been done to a good stan­dard and make sure all the pa­per­work is in or­der.

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