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Potential Mk2 owner with a few questions for inspecting a car

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I live in sunny Australia having moved from the UK about 10 years ago. My first car was a mk2 Astra back in 1997 and I've always kept a lookout for anything Griffin-badged which might have made its way down under. After nearly a decade a 1984 Cavalier SRi has turned up on my radar which I'm going to have a cheeky look at over the weekend. I can't imagine there will be more than a very small handful of Cavaliers in the country, possibly single figures.

Can anyone offer any pointers as to what to look for when inspecting the car? We are in a dry climate but I don't at this stage know how much of its life the car has spent out here. From the photos I can make out a few bubbles at the bottom of the rear hatch glass and also just under the tailgate lock. There also seems to be a scab/bubbling on one of the rear wheel arches.

Obviously I'll prod the car over as much as possible but can anyone share any tips as to what the really common rust areas are, or is it a case of if it can rust it probably will? What hidden areas are likely to go?

Is there anything else specifically that can be a major headache on these cars? Parts are likely to be a bit scarce over here, although I presume some stuff will be shared with the J-car based Holden Camira.

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Just check everywhere for rot, but if its been over there a long while, you may be lucky. Worst things are rear chassis legs, followed by inner and outer sills, boot floor,  lower rear quarters, and front floor pans, where they are triple skinned. The rest is usually just bits n bobs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought I should really update this thread to add that I ended up buying the car which is sitting in my garage as we speak.

It's a white 1984 SRi, imported at some time in the late 80s and according to the service documentation that came with the car it was originally a fleer car for York Borg-Warner Ltd in Basildon, UK registration B41 AEW. That's still showing on the DVLA database as being due for tax on 1 May 1988 so I guess that gives a pretty good indication of when it came down under.

It's been around the houses a bit - it's definitely been in Queensland for some time before the previous owner bought it and shipped it to Adelaide.

It's in fair condition - the major downside being the condition of the paintwork. It's crazed and peeling, especially on the roof, and has clearly received at least a partial respray at some point, most noticeably the roof and driver's side rear quarter.

However, it's in a really solid condition overall, especially compared to how it would have fared if left in the UK. I doubt it would be on the road now had it not emigrated. The sills are great, the arches are great, the bulkhead (from what I can see) looks good, the floor pans and underside are very solid as is the boot floor and spare wheel well.

If it was to be bodily perfect then other than a respray it would likely need a new driver's side rear door as this one looks to have been scraped at some point and has some filler in it (I'm not a big fan of filler in doors as it's likely to crack over time with the opening and closing) and a new rear valance which also has some filler. There also seems to be a bit of filler in the rear wing immediately behind the driver's side rear door (presumably due to the same damage as whatever happened to the door) and in the passenger's side rear door, but not very much from initial inspection. There's also a little bit of rust appearing under the bottom edge of the tailgate glass and there's a small hole just next to one of the tailgate hinges that hopefully won't turn into anything nasty upon some poking.

The interior's all there and quite presentable but some of the plastics have not fared well in the Aussie heat. The dash is very cracked (although this is hidden by a dash mat) and some of the centre console is a bit loose. Hopefully all bits that can be picked up over time. The recaro seats have been retrimmed in leather at some point - it's a bit hard but I'll hit it with a few doses of leather feed and see if I can soften it up over time. 

It has been converted from an automatic at some point but not with original parts - it's got a Daewoo 5-speed gearbox (maybe a D20?) and the pedal area is a bit of a DIY job which I'd like to sort out. The ratios are a bit out on the gearbox making it's quite low geared so I'd like to source an F16 box as my first priority to make it more standard. I'll be on the lookout for pedals too - although I might be able to source this stuff from local cars like the Camira.

Over time, probably years, I'll sort out the bodywork - but in the meantime it will be good to give it some use :)

Some pictures will follow shortly...



Edited by Llessur
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You can swap the front seats, but not the runners, over if you want to extend seat life. This way you can even up the wear but the runners/seatbelt fixings are specific to side. If you do this there is a sneaky plastic rivit in the middle of the plastic side panel, just pop it and make sure you keep it for reassembly.

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