Sunday, June 7, 2009

Caveat Emptor

My brothers and I bought this Sprite for my dad for his 80th birthday last November. It's a very handsome little car and seemingly in very good shape. We knew that the syncros weren't working as well as they should, but that wasn't a deal breaker. The previous owner had the car for about a year and really hadn't cracked into it very far. He had the brakes done, which work very well by the way for 4 wheel drums. But hadn't done anything else. He purchased it as a very nice older restoration. Which is what we purchased it as. We bought it for a very reasonable price. For the last 6 months it's been a fun and reliable car. However last weekend on the way to a car show in Shelton, WA it started smoking and some alarming noises began issuing from the engine bay. Having owned British cars for years we swiftly came to the realization that we'd be rebuilding this engine very soon. The compression test showed that cylinders 1 and 4 had good compression, 130. 2 and 3 were below 100. Minimum is 120. Sounds like bad rings.

Hmm, blue haze in the air and a fluid stripe on the ground. Sadly, par for the course in a 50 year old British car.

It doesn't take very long to remove an engine from a car that only has a handful of moving parts.

Oliver may be in pieces all over the garage, but he still puts on a happy face.

It has the proper smooth side gearbox, but this big missing chunk of the bell housing is not so proper.

Uh, I thought you drained the gearbox.

Ick. Pretty nasty looking exhaust gasket for a "recently rebuilt" engine.

Tomorrow I'm going to start the engine teardown. Judging from the lovely pearlescent oil that turned completely black and gross in 3 (yes, 3) miles, it's not going to be pretty. Should be fun though. :-)


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's to bad. Never trust a person selling a French or British car. Either they recently got suckered by a liar or they are one.

TriumphRacer said...

You kind of have to expect this with an antique car. Or a $500 car for that matter. You never know what someone has done to it. I certainly don't take it personally.

I have a TR6 that's been in the family since it was 6 years old and that was plenty of time for the previous owner to do stupid things to it. It's a solid car now, but literally everything has been rebuild since I've owned it.

Solracer said...

Sounds like my MG Midget. I really got taken to the cleaners by the previous owner even though I got a "good" deal on the car. The person who bought it from me got quite the deal however considering how much time and money I'd put into it. Guess the lesson is that it's ok to buy a British car from someone as long as they are perfectionists because everyone else is just going to do the minimum work to keep it running.