Corrosion check : Pinifarina Spider

Assume the worst. Better to buy a good car than restore a rusty one. Again, the good news is that most panels are available. Long tail 1600 and 1750 cars present most problems for replacement parts, but have the highest values to offset the difficulty. Check that a series 2 Kamm tail EU car didn´t start life as a series 3 US car, worth much less. Hood condition is important, as is the interior trim, but these can be fixed.

Convertibles leak by nature,  so the Spider is usually the most rust-prone of the 105 series cars. They also tend to have more short-term owners than other models, so cost-cutting maintenance can be normal. The Spider also is the most dependant of the 105 series for integral rigidity, so a rotten car can be unsafe as well as unpleasant to drive. Now that many Spiders have been restored, it is very difficult to know the actual quality of the  repairs. Many horrors can hide underneath a nice smooth exterior. Again, buy carefully!

Early long tail cars apart, the Spider is generally the least valuable of the 105 series (US imports particularly). For this reason, assume the worst of any cheap car and be prepared to pay the price for a car with known provenance and a history file to demonstrate that the car has been well-restored. Time warp survivors  are almost non-existent.

One early check, if allowed by the vendor, is to jack the Spider up on one side at the rear jacking point and to open the door. If you can´t open the door, or if you can´t close it once open, walk away. The car has not got sufficient strength in its sills to be rigid (either corrosion or improper repair) so the chassis is flexing.

 

Underneath (Front to back)

 

  • Check any rust prevention measures/underseal integrity
  • Check front valance and cross member under radiator (supports front anti-roll bar)
  • Check front wheel arch behind wheel. Are splashguards in place? Evidence of repair?
  • Check that an S4 is fitted with plastic arch liners, which should be completely sealed.
  • Check fit of engine cross member to inner wings for corrosion/damage.
  • Check mounting points for steering box for splits
  • Check chassis frame for corrosion/repairs
  • Check sills. Outer sills for correct welding/filler, inner sills for corrosion/repairs.
  • Check drain holes min sills are present and not blocked.
  • Check jacking points for corrosion
  • Check front spring pans for corrosion
  • Check footwells for corrosion/repairs
  • Check where rear suspension trailing arms attach to body shell for corrosion/repairs
  • Check boot floor, spare wheel well, fuel tank for corrosion/repair/leakage
  • Check rear valance for corrosion/repair/drain holes
  • Check behind plastic bumpers on S3 and S4 cars

 

Body work (front to back)

 

  • Check front valance and wings for corrosion/repair. Nose is very easily accident damaged.
  • Check behind plastic bumpers on S3 and S4 cars
  • Check area where bonnet hinges for corrosion/repair
  • Underbonnet should be painted in body colour.
  • Check inner wings underbonnet for corrosion/repair at front and rear of engine compartment
  • Check front scuttle panel, drained by 2 hoses, must be unblocked, in good condition.
  • Check front scuttle panel under windscreen for corrosion.
  • Check front wings behind wheels for corrosion/repair. Minor bubbling can indicate significant corrosion.
  • S4 wheelarch liner should reduce this, but must be fitted properly
  • Check sills.If replacement, are they welded correctly behind front and rear wings?
  • Lift carpet/mats to check inner sills for corrosion/repair/rough surfaces. Integrity of the car depends on sills.
  • Lift carpet/mats to check front and rear footwells for corrosion/repair/damp. Drainage grommets present?
  • Check doors for fit /locking/panel gaps. Also check for corrosion/repair/sagging hinges
  • Check A post for corrosion/repair
  • Check rear wings for corrosion/repair or distortion (particularly longtail) around wheelarches.
  • Check inside fuel filler flap for corrosion/repair
  • Check boot lid and boot flange for corrosion (particularly long tail) check condition of seals.
  • Check if boot lid stays in lifted position once open  (special hinge bolts are broken)
  • Check boot floor, spare wheelwell, fuel tank for corrosion/repair/damp
  • Check rear panel for corrosion/repair (particularly long tail models)
  • Check rear valance for corrosion/repair
  • Check behind plastic bumpers on S3 and S4 cars

 

Soft top

 

  • Check for rips, tears, shrinking, faded colour
  • Check plastic rear screen is clear/intact
  • Check functioning up and down, should be easily achieved by one person
  • Check fit around side windows
  • Check seals and fit between windshield and hood rail (which is often rusted but not visible).
  • If new hood is fitted, buy the best quality and fit professionally.
  • If a hardtop is fitted (nice to have, difficult to store) are all fittings present and correct?

 

Interior

 

  • Water ingress make Spider interiors are less resilient than other models. Check for damp/ musty smells.
  • All interior trim is available, door cards can be more difficult.
  • Check seats slide well on runners
  • Leather is not unusual on Spider
  • Dashboard often cracks on sunny climate cars (US imports particularly)
  • Rubber mats fitted in general until 1977
  • Check window winder and quarter lights operate smoothly
  • Early LHD longtail (and all RHD) cars have floor mounted pedals. All LHD from Kamm tail onwards fitted hanging pedals
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