Hello again, time for an update!
We looked at 3 cars in all, all claimed to be restored and very good, all between £3k and £4k. First one was rejected, mainly because of inexpert welding (floor repaired by welding plates to the bolt on inverted 'U' shape sill finisher!). Second one rejected as it only had half a cross member, and similar strange welded repairs.
Then came No. 3. Viewing was a heavy investment, around 400 mile round trip, and with limited time to view. A very pretty 1954 S2 2dr with the old style dash and cheese grater grill. I'd spoken to the seller at length, who told me the only issue was some corrosion at a spring hanger which 'may be an MOT advise in a couple of years'. The car looked very very pretty. Getting around underneath (in the rain), one side looked very good, the other looked okay at front, but a few failing 2nd rate plate repairs further back. The spring hanger was well beyond what was described, with plenty of daylight to be seen!
All else seemed okay, a few niggles (needed a couple of tyres, light switch failed, no horn... the sort of little things that can be sorted out pretty quick and at easily estimated cost). I wasn't sure of it, but we took a gamble, negotiated a sizeable drop in price, and bought the thing for £3.5k including low loader delivery.
Since it arrived, I've sorted lots of little bits out. Good discovery is that having had it checked out by a local specialist, my bodywork assessment seems to have been pretty accurate, it's booked in to have the bad area of floor including the worst plates cut out and new metal butt welded in. A little more expensive than I'd hoped for, but within our budget.
Bad discovery is that at speed (about 35 to max speed of 45!), the engine sounds tired - those scary bearings down low are knocking. I'm hoping the later 948cc it's running will hold out until next year for replacement. I missed the problem on test drive - I think in part as the test drive was narrow lanes so slow, and it was desperate for a service so running generally roughly.
Other jobs to do - it's got 4 new wings that look lovely but haven't been painted inside. Similar for the boot lid which is already showing a little rust on the inside lower edge where it's not been treated. So, it needs some thorough cleaning, treating / painting / injecting. Carpets and sill finishers are already off but the remaining interior trim will come out for more thorough inspection and preventative treatment.
I have a feeling it's got the wrong diff. The axle looks correct, but the speedo reads 1.5 x over (approx), and 1st gear is entirely redundant. The chap doing the welding will have a look at the digits on the diff while he's underneath and, if I'm right, we can plan for a replacement.
In short, perfection wasn't found for my budget but all things considered I don't think it was a bad buy... not great, but not bad. We're enjoying tinkering and relearning servicing and fixes. I think it'll be a keeper, but if not, I reckon that once the floor's sorted I should make back my investment selling honestly.
One question for now, when I last ran Minors I could buy exactly the lubricants listed in the manual... but things seem to have moved on. I'm happy with 20/50 for engine and gearbox, dot 4 for rad, and I've got a big tub of LM still in the cellar. In understand that Castrol EP90 is a good alternative to the Hypoid 90 I used to use (may even be the same stuff), but can anyone tell me if the same Castrol EP90 is okay for the steering too? I know I could use grease, but for now I'd like to work to the book if I can. Thanks.
Have a nice weekend,