Buying an 1100/1300


For years the humble 1100/1300 range has been shunned by many a classic enthusiast as a donor car for a mini project. However, if you want a classic that incorporates all the engineering master pieces of Issigonis on a slightly larger scale you'd better take a look at the 1100/1300. Ok, you're about to jump in and make a purchase. But beware, as with every other Issigonis creation there are rust traps and of course there are those bad examples.

Just ask around at car shows, and they'll be someone there whose willing to tell you about how they bought an 1100/1300 for 1000 and then spent 3000 having it restored.

Buying a car these days couldn't be easier, but there's a few traps to watch out for. On-line auction websites are an excellent way to purchase a car. Don't always rely on feedback for the seller, and don't always go by the photo's. Is there any proof to say they were taken recently? How do you know that what you're viewing is a sound investment? Will it require thousands spending on it to get it through the next M.O.T. Always view a perspective purchase before placing a bid. You could end up with A LOT more than you bargained for.

When you go to view a perspective purchase don't forget to take a few items with you. I'd recommend taking the following: A jack, something to kneel on, a torch and a bottle of water (which can be still or fizzy - you decide J).

So with everything in order here's what you should be looking out for:




As with most cars of this era you'll find that the bodywork needs to be carefully examined. Rot is endemic and once it takes hold it's difficult to eradicate. Things aren't helped by the low prices a lot of 1100/1300s achieve, in fact it can mean a car is bodged just to get it from M.O.T. to M.O.T. not a particularly good route I think you'll agree. It's worth asking the question "What have you done to the car while you've owned it?". Usually you'll be greeted by a full response of everything the car has had done to it in this period of time. If, however, you notice the seller has a blank look or simply shrugs their shoulders, you might be wasting your time.

Assuming that you are comfortable with what the seller has told you I would begin by inspecting the bodywork from the waist down. Pay particular attention to the bottom of the doors, sills, and anywhere where stones are likely to be thrown up by the road wheels.

Inspect the bottom of the doors for rust bubbles. New doors are no longer available and skins can be difficult and expensive to have fitted. It is important to STRESS that just because the door does not fit correctly doesn't necessarily mean it's been repaired to a low standard.

Next cast your eye along the sills. This is part of body which runs directly underneath the doors and to the rear wheelarch. These should be the colour of the car (not be covered in underseal). While you are inspecting the sills, you will need to look at the underside to see where the panel ends - if it stops half way into the floor pan you've got a cover sill on your hands. My advice is to walk away and find another vehicle, as this can be a very costly repair, approximately 600 per side.

So, you're still there. I'm guessing that you're a quarter of the way to deciding whether or not to part with your hard earned cash. You need to spend time examining the wings, especially around the headlamps and the seams where they join the valance. Road dirt has this habit of collecting here and thus resulting in years of build up, and eventually holes.

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