Inspecting a Classic Car: Checking the Interior

Posted by Steve White on Sep 30, 2009

By inspecting a classic car’s interior, you will know how well the car was maintained by its previous and present owners. It is important to check every part of the interior as well as all the gadgets that are available, ranging from the a/c and the audio system to the lights and steering.

To ensure that a classic car is safe for use, you should check to see if all the lights are working, and these include head lights and tail lights, high beams and low beams, brake lights, parking lights, reverse lights, turn signals, hazard lights, fog lights, interior lights, and dashboard lights. You should also make sure that the lenses are not clouded or cracked. The horn should also be functional.

The next thing to do is to inspect the condition of the seats and the seat belts. Look for rips, stains, cracks, and faded color on the seat upholstery, and make sure that the seat belts are operational. Then, check the carpet and floor mats, as well as the interior trim, door panels, sun visors, and headliner. The heating, ventilation, a/c, defroster, and defogger systems should be in good condition, and the audio system should be working too.

Other things in the classic car that you should inspect include the clock, lighter receptacle, glove box, fuel door release, rear view mirror, the steering tilt and lock, as well as the door handles and locks.

Most Wanted Classic Cars: Morgan Plus 8

Posted by Steve White on Sep 28, 2009

The Morgan Plus 8 is an iconic car that was introduced by British auto manufacturer Morgan in the year 1968. Although production of the Plus 8 had continued until 2004, many British and American auto enthusiasts still regard the earliest models as some of the most fascinating classic cars of all time.

The chassis of the Plus 8 was designed based on the Morgan Plus 4, which was combined with a Rover alloy block V8 engine that was acquired from Buick in 1967. All the early Plus 8s featured the Rover 3.5 L V8 engine, which had two SU HS6 carburetors to fuel a compression rate of 10.5:1. The compression rate was reduced to 9.25:1 in 1973, and this caused a decline in engine output as well. Three years later, the engine was upgraded, and the compression rate reached 9.35:1. An EFI version was introduced towards the end of 1983, and it improved engine output to 204 bhp. Since the Plus 8 was a lightweight car with a powerful engine, it was capable of reaching impressive speeds.

From 2000 to 2004, the GEMS system from the Land Rover Discovery II was used to fuel the Morgan Plus 8. The Morgan Plus 8 is considered an important car in the history of the Morgan car manufacturing company, because its long-standing popularity ensured the company’s survival over the years.

Inspecting a Classic Car: Checking the Exterior (Part 2)

Posted by Steve White on Sep 26, 2009

When you are inspecting a classic car’s exterior, you should look out for rusty spots. It is best that you do not buy a car that has rusty spots because the corrosion will show up again even if you repair the spots. Rust spots do not only ruin the appearance of the car; they are also an indication that many components underneath the bodywork, such as fuel lines, brake lines, and others, are corroded. These components may be so badly corroded that the classic car is not safe to drive.

One way to check for repaired corrosion spots on a classic car is to use a magnet. Place the magnet over areas of the car where corrosion is most likely to occur, such as the arches around the wheels, the lower parts of the door panels, and others. If the magnet does not stick, it means that there is body filler underneath the paint.

The next thing to do is to inspect the tires. Check all four tires to see if any of them is different from the rest, and take a look at the tread wear. A new tire should have a tread depth of 0.31 inch; if the tread depth is 0.06 inch, the tire needs to be replaced. Also, check for cuts, cracks, bubbles, and other damages. Irregular wear pattern on the tires indicates possible suspension or alignment problems.

Inspecting a Classic Car: Checking the Exterior (Part 1)

Posted by Steve White on Sep 23, 2009

After test-driving, you can proceed to check the exterior of the classic car. The exterior condition will reveal important details about the car’s history, including the damage it has sustained in the past and the major repairs it has undergone.

The first thing you should do is take a walk around the car to get a rough idea of its overall exterior condition. Then, look for defects such as scratches, dents, rust, cracks on windshield and windows, worn wipers, cracked or broken mirrors, and others. Check the paint and the alignment to find out if the car has been seriously damaged in an accident. If the body lines of the car are perfectly straight, it means that it has never been involved in an accident. On the other hand, rippled reflection on the paint job shows that a car has sustained serious damage before.

Take a few steps back and look at the paint job and gaps on the classic car. If a panel has a different color from the rest of the car or there are gaps that are too wide or too narrow, it is also an indication that the car has undergone major repair works. It is best that you do not buy a classic car that has been seriously damaged before, because all sorts of mechanical problems, such as premature corrosion, noisy wheel bearings, alignment problems, and air conditioner problems, may occur later on.

Inspecting a Classic Car: Test Drive

Posted by Steve White on Sep 21, 2009

One of the most important parts of the process of inspecting a classic car is the test drive, because it allows you to assess the performance and handling of the car. Many car buyers do not test the true limits of the cars they want to buy, and they may find out later that the classic cars they bought do not perform well under certain circumstances. Take your time when you are test-driving a car, and don’t hesitate when you feel that you need to test certain capabilities or features of the car.

Throughout the duration of the test drive, you should pay attention to noises, vibrations, jerks, and any signs of poor condition. Check the automatic or manual transmission to see if it shifts smoothly or makes any transaxle noise, and then, test the acceleration and engine performance as well as steering and brakes. Make sure that the steering is not off-center. If possible, test the classic car on the highway, so that you can find out how stable it is when it is running at high speeds. Also, bring it to a bumpy road to test suspension.

It is also important to check the gauge operation when you are test-driving. Make sure that the speedometer, tachometer, and odometer are accurate, and take note of the temperature, battery, and oil gauges when the car is cold and hot.