HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL

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

1 STRUC­TURAL

IS­SUES The stain­less steelon-GRP con­struc­tion en­sures that cor­ro­sion won’t play havoc on the sur­face, but the steel chas­sis is prone to rust­ing, par­tic­u­larly around the en­gine mounts and the hy­draulic fluid reser­voirs. Be wary of dam­aged body pan­els, which can be eye­wa­ter­ingly ex­pen­sive to get re­paired. The doors have been known to get stuck, but fix­ing the prob­lem is rarely rocket science.

2 EN­GINES

The 2.85-litre six-cylin­der Dou­vrain en­gine was used in other ve­hi­cles (by Peu­geot, Alpine, Volvo and Re­nault) so parts sup­ply isn’t a big prob­lem. Look for emul­sion in the coolant, po­ten­tially in­di­cat­ing an ex­pir­ing cylin­der head gas­ket, and check the con­di­tion of the alu­minium coolant pipes that run from the front to the rear; the en­gine will rapidly over­heat if they fail. 3 TRANS­MIS­SION Nei­ther gear­box – five-speed man­ual or three-speed au­to­matic – are par­tic­u­larly prone to fail­ure. Lis­ten for sus­pi­cious noises, feel for smooth shifts and, with the man­ual ‘box, back off sharply from high revs to en­sure that it doesn’t leap out of gear. Check the ser­vice his­tory for how fre­quently the oil has been changed. 4 RUN­NING

GEAR Much was shared with the Lo­tus Es­prit of the day, so sourc­ing run­ning gear con­sum­ables isn’t as tricky as you might ex­pect. Disc brakes are used on all four wheels (carry out the usual checks for cor­ro­sion and ex­ces­sively lipped edges) and in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion is fit­ted front and rear. Steer­ing is by rack-and-pin­ion. 5 IN­TE­RIOR

AND ELECTRICS Build qual­ity wasn’t al­ways the best, but re­place­ment items aren’t too tricky to find. How­ever, var­i­ous in­te­rior tweaks were made over time, so his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy can re­quire the en­thu­si­ast’s touch. Later mod­els have a beefier alter­nator, as ear­lier ones weren’t up to the job. In­te­rior trim was ei­ther black or grey.

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