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It’s an ST24 killer, and even the best-look­ing ex­am­ples aren’t ex­empt. Rust will mur­der a Mk2 Mon­deo, eat­ing away the struc­ture un­til only the Ford badges re­main.

Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but a rot­ten ST24 is a scrap ST24, and you’ll be lucky to find any car that doesn’t need weld­ing some­where. Gone are the days when some Mon­deos were in­ex­pli­ca­bly far bet­ter than oth­ers – to­day they’re all at risk; even the youngest ex­am­ples are al­most 20 years old, af­ter all.

You’ll need to un­der­take a thor­ough in­spec­tion, start­ing with the most ob­vi­ous spots: the rear whee­larches, fuel filler flap, rear cor­ners, in­ner whee­larches (ex­tend­ing to the rear seat belt mounts) and down to the sills. If your po­ten­tial pur­chase has an RSAP, feel be­hind the side skirts, press­ing on the sills along their en­tire length. Be­ware, be­cause rust here may have spread to the floor­pan, which will mean a wal­let­bust­ing ex­pe­ri­ence: the floors, chas­sis rails and boot floor can dis­in­te­grate due to rain­wa­ter leak­ing into the cabin, and re­pairs are ex­ten­sive.

If you see ev­i­dence of pre­vi­ous weld­ing, don’t be dis­suaded – as long as it’s been done well and re­ceived rust treat­ment af­ter­wards, it should go on for an­other cou­ple of decades.

Mon­deo doors are renowned for rot­ting, and it pays to check the frames. Win­dow weather strips are par­tic­u­larly prone to cor­ro­sion; they cost around £90 but when rusty they tend to scratch the glass, which is in­con­ve­nient to re­place.

You should also check around the wind­screen seals for tin­worm, which is par­tic­u­larly tricky to re­pair be­cause the (bonded) glass would need to be re­moved, and hatch­back rear screens are unavail­able.

Yes, al­most any­thing can be re­paired, but it’s gen­er­ally more cost-ef­fec­tive to buy a bet­ter ex­am­ple in the first place. So, un­less you’re look­ing for a par­tic­u­lar colour or spec, seek out the ti­di­est ST24 for your bud­get.

In terms of model choice, the sa­loon is stiffest, the es­tate is ex­tremely ca­pa­cious, and the hatch­back makes a nice com­pro­mise; it’s also the most plen­ti­ful. Don’t be sur­prised to see a sa­loon or es­tate with­out the RSAP, which was unavail­able on early ex­am­ples and a delete op­tion on late ST24s; pay less for a car with­out the kit.

Fi­nally, don’t for­get the ST24 is a Mk2 Mon­deo, with bumpers seem­ingly made of eggshells; a roll of gaf­fer tape to bodge them up is an es­sen­tial item in any Mon­deo owner’s tool­kit.

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