HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL
1 BODY AND STRUCTURE
Rot can be pervasive, often interspersed with poor repairs. Check the panel gaps for evenness. Dodgy areas include the heater channels on the inside of the sills and the body mounts, and where the rear bumper mounts to the car.
A short puff of blue smoke on start-up isn’t a problem so long as it disappears as the engine warms. Curing oil leaks from around the front pulley or the flywheel can be involved, so haggle accordingly.
A rattling gearstick is usually a symptom of a worn linkage bush rather than anything terminal, but ensure that it doesn’t jump out of gear when you lift off the throttle sharply from high revs.
4 RUNNING GEAR
Ball joints replaced front kingpins in 1966, offering easier maintenance and better driving characteristics. The steering box suffers on cars fitted with MacPherson strut suspension.
5 INTERIOR AND ELECTRICS
Later cars’ plastic dash trim tends to crack, especially in hot climates, and check for evidence of water ingress. The heater controls need checking for smooth operation; the linkage becomes stiff and can break. Bear in mind, too, that pre1967 cars with original looms will be on 6-volt electrics.