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vulgalour

1987 Citroen BX

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Oooh this thread is going to be good/fun :)

 

I look forward to said fettling :)

 

im pretty sure a family friend used to own a Citroen BX, after 2 Citroen DSs. those 3 cars (plus a 1982 Volvo mum had until 2001ish) where the only classic/old cars I ever rode in for any length of time until my first visit to  Zels place :) (I remember the Yellow headlights and adjustable suspension fascinating me at the time, I also used to think his Citroen DSs could float on water...)

 

Nice to see some SOX street lights still hanging in on there, those look like Geared Philips MA60 180W SOX street lights, one of the biggest daddies of SOX street lights, a Geared MA60 is on my collection bucket list :)

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The first day you actually get stuck into a car is one full of excitement and trepidation.  What am I going to find?  Let's have a dig and see.  First job was to work out just how I was going to get the car on the lift since most of the points I want to put the jack are also points the lift wants to go and I need to jack the car up a bit to get it high enough to get on the lift pads.  I did figure it out eventually and gingerly raised the car into the air knowing just how flimsy the underside of a BX can be.  The sill rails seemed the safest bet so that's what I went with since I couldn't get the pads under anything else.

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There was still plenty of mud and grass underneath from the landscaping the car had done for Dean's access road.  A quick scrub with a soft wire brush got rid of it all and while there's a few spots that underseal needs redoing I couldn't really find what had stopped us getting off the truck.  The exhaust was slightly misaligned so I'm going to go with Dollywobbler's suggestion when we were loading that it was the centre exhaust pipe clamp which looked pretty new with long-ish bolt legs.  One thing I did notice straight away was a plug hanging down near the pipes at the back of the front subframe.  It was easy to see where it came from so I wondered if this might just be the easiest fix in the world for the STOP light Dean had mentioned had stopped working.

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Clean it up plug it in and...

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Who said fixing hydropneumatic cars was difficult?  I'm sure doing the front-to-back pipes will be a breeze now, right?  RIGHT?  Er... yeah.  I spent some time trying to figure out where the leak actually was and where the pipes went.  I could identify the two pipes that had already been replaced and the two pipes that hadn't, one of which looks more scabrous than the other.  The leak itself is hidden from view somewhere above the rear passenger sphere, which lends credence to Dean's assertion that it's the front-to-back pipe over the subframe that's popped, as if there was ever any doubt of course.

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Then I got a bit stuck.  I couldn't trace the route of the pipes because I couldn't see exactly where they went around that bit without removing the subframe.  To help, I removed the back half of the exhaust, which was simply a case of undoing one clamp and unhooking a few rubber hangers.  This allowed me to see better where the new pipes had been put so I could do a better job of tracing.  It looks like one pipe I need to remove goes into the height corrector unit (the round thing to the right), and the other looks to go into the multi-pipe block to the right on the subframe crossmember.  I got the union in the height corrector unscrewed but the pipe itself won't come out of the corrector unit. The pipe feels fragile too, in that way rusty steel pipes do, so I'm concerned that if I put too much force in I'll snap the pipe off and give myself too much work.  Help would be appreciate on how to proceed here, I don't want to fluff it up.

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I traced the lines to the front of the car, and it looks like the both end at the vertical valve/union block to the right in the second image below.  I couldn't see where else they might go and the manual didn't provide much help on removal and routing of pipes.

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I decided to put this part of the job aside and seek advice.  I don't want to remove or damage things I don't need to.  It does look like a fairly straightforward job once you've identified which pipes require replacing.  I'm splitting this update into a couple of posts, since there's a fair bit to get through, this marks the end of the first stage of the update.

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Since I couldn't go further on the suspension side of things, I looked at what I could do.  Since this is a BX, rust is a concern and thanks to the estate I used to have, I knew where to look.  This car doesn't really have much rust to speak of and being white, any rust it does have is going to be very visible.  I knew about some spidering on a rear wing which, unfortunately, is going to involve repainting rather a large section of the wing to correct.  It doesn't seem to need any welding at least, and it is very difficult to see, so this is low priority.

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The other big weakness is the boot.  I put my big boy pants on and started stripping out the boot trims, knowing just how frightening this part can end up being.  Amazingly, it's incredibly good underneath everything.

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There's just two small areas that require some attention.  A small section of sealant has failed on the passenger side, and some rot has begun on the driver's side.  This is all flat panels with excellent access so shouldn't be bad to fix at all. Looking underneath the car the inner arches are remarkably clean, and the rear apron is in excellent shape.  I'll remove the bumper to do the repairs properly and get everything cleaned, painted, and protected to keep it this good once the welding is done.  This was a very pleasant surprise, I was expecting this area of the car to be much worse even though it looks so nice on the outside.

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Up front I wanted to check out the only other bit of rust of note which was the inner wings.  This is another common BX weak point and worth exploring.  There was some foam-backed stuff applied to the inner wings and when I noticed it was holding on to water I decided the best thing to do was to whip it all off and deal with whatever was lurking underneath.  Absolutely no point pretending it would be okay and letting it fester since I have the luxury of time and space to sort this out.  Amazingly, it really wasn't that bad at all, just a bit ugly.  The damage that is there appears to be localised to the bit where the vertical inner arch meets the horizontal, with a little bit in the nose on the passenger side.  The driver's side nose piece seems very solid.  I also had a look at the front crossmember that was advised at MoT and that too looks like it only needs a fresh bit of underseal to replace the bit we accidentally removed and is otherwise very solid.  I will remove the front wings, lights, and bumper to rectify all of this since it's all very easy to dismantle and then make sure there's plenty of paint and protection applied to keep it good afterwards.

 

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This was a very pleasant surprise.  The floors and sills are amazingly sound throughout, with the exception of the few spots that need a fresh bit of protection from the scraping it got loading and unloading.  There's no crusty tender bits underneath.  I knew it was a good solid car, I didn't expect it to be quite this solid.

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Probably the thing that this car has suffered the most with is sun damage and it's made some of the interior parts brittle.  I'll be keeping an eye out for spares and refurbishing what I can.  In the meantime, I'm going to be very careful with what's in the car.  Unfortunately, even with the best will in the world sometimes brittle plastics will just break.  When I removed the parcel shelf to inspect the boot, a couple of rivets holding the hinge bar broke and, as I was removing the parcel shelf itself, one of the plastic hinges that holds onto it on the back seat shattered.  I also found a random bit of broken plastic that looks like it might be from one of the front seat back trims, I just haven't found the bit it matches yet.

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The rest of the trims came out without incident.  While all of the various switches in the BX work perfectly fine, the passenger window over ride on the driver's side could do with either a repaint or a replacement, as could the switches and part of the dash pod.

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I've also got to add a bit of sealant to the rubber seal corners to get them to hold down.  In the photo it looks rusty, which is odd because it doesn't in person.  I'll use a bit of the usual polyurethane sealant and some tape to hold this down for a few hours to a day and that should sort it, the seal is very flexible still, it's just lifted in the very corners.  Dean did make me aware of this at purchase, I'm not worried about it since it's not hiding other problems.

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Up front there's just generic floor mats, in the back we've got some nice Citroen branded rubber ones.  I'd like a matching front pair eventually I think.  I'd like to replace the mudflaps all round with fresh ones if I can, the front ones are missing and the driver's rear one is damaged.  I'm holding out for the right ones, and they're low priority since there's other things I'd like to spend on first.

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The engine bay is probably one of the cleanest diesel engine bays I've ever seen.  There's lots of space to work around everything and see everything.  I suspect the rocker cover seal is leaking, as usual, so I'll be replacing that.  Otherwise, nothing really appears to be amiss and it's going to be fairly easy to make and keep this area spotless.

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There's a few original details on the car that I really like that have survived really well.  I want as much as possible to return this car to the original specification and keep it that way, which is giving me a bit of a quandary over the badges and stickers on the boot since while not original, they are a part of the car's history and character.  They'll stay put until I make up my mind.  I really need to get a front number plate to match the rear, the font is just superb.

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Other than poking and prodding I wanted to achieve something today and I'm a bit too brain-fried to deal with welding.  I needed something easy, something that would make a nice big change for minimal effort and which I could do with existing products so I didn't have to go out and buy something, or wait for an order to arrive.  I know, let's sort out that rear spoiler and wiper arm!

 

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After cleaning, priming, and masking I got it all painted with lovely fresh satin black paint.

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I might do it again, I can do better than this.  It's a marked improvement at least.  I do need to reseat the wiper arm a bit higher too, I put it back on in the wrong place.  A little victory, at any rate.

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Normally I'd be pulling everything apart for a deep clean and documenting that but I don't need to and that's weird.  The wheel is clean, the stalks are clean, there's no grubby bits anywhere.  Even the wiper blades are fine.  It's like somebody before me really liked this car and looked after it.  I'm hoping to get in and get on with the welding over the next couple of days, I'll have to figure out what colour it is (I think it's Polar White from memory, but that might also be the Xantia, which is a different white) so I can use a white that matches on the repairs.  I'm sure I'll find more jobs to do once I get stuck in a bit more, and I do plan to do things like the cambelt and check the brakes, etc. as a matter of routine.

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The foam back stuff in the engine bay I stuck down to hide the rust spots for the last MOT. Didn't know about the home in the boot floor by the arch though, luckily an easy repair. The brake pipe will be stuck in the compensator valve due to the little rubber seal that they use. You just have to get in there and give it a good wiggle to release. If you take the rear arm out on the passenger side it makes life a little easier with regards spotting the pipe routes. Personally as your going to replace both of the still original pipes I'd cut one and then push it up behind the subframe so you can then spot which valve it goes to. Replace, then do the other.

I'm glad the stop light was an easy fix! I did say it might be that switch on the subframe, although I do wonder if that plug got removed when it was grading the entry!

I tried for ages to get some original rubber mats for the front, then when I sold the xsara van I forgot to remove the original Citroen mats out of that.

Yep someone did love the car before you lol, glad your happy with it.

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It might be best to drop the subframe down on the left side.It needs to be supported on that side with a trolley jack and the mounting bolts removed from inside the boot.The ones on the other side can be loosened but not removed.Then gently lower away taking care not to strain any pipes etc.Its amazing how much easier it is to see what's going on with the gap between body and subframe opened up 6-9".

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Dean:  That hole in the boot I only noticed because I went looking for it, you couldn't really see it from outside because there wasn't really anything to see.  I'm astonished at just how clean it all is underneath really, even the subframes are in good shape with none of the usual rusty bits around the seams.  It's quite remarkable.  I reckon the plug got snagged when it was moved, everything was pretty clean apart from the shroud on the plug, I'm glad it was such an easy fix!  I'll cut the originals so I can unfeed them from the front and then I can trace them to the back easier, I hadn't thought to do that, it's not like access is difficult so I'm putting it down to brain fog.  It seems to have popped the pipe in the one place you can't see anything, right up between the floor and the arm.  Those front arches really aren't that bad either.  I could just cover them in something like you had and get through the next MoT no bother since you can't see any rust that way, but I'm as well fixing it properly while I can I reckon.  I was looking at the shapes needed for that wing section you mentioned too and I think I can just fab it up from what I've got, all of the rusty bits look like flat pieces so replacement should be easy and cheap.

 

art:  I'll drop the subframe if I need to.  I'm hoping I can get away without doing it so I can avoid straining any pipes or fittings.  Everything looks nice and easy to get to so hopefully it'll be fairly straightforward, however I go about it.

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I did the pipes fairly recently, and a few photos are on my BX thread linked below. I'll check for the parcel shelf hinge too in the stash I picked up last summer...

 

I would be inclined to just cut off the failed pipe close to the union, and use a well fitting 6-point socket on the union rather than a spanner. I've had to weld a nut on once, and found that LHM heated by a welder spurts out under a surprising pressure, and ignites to form a miniature blowtorch.

 

EDIT - just re-read that the union is undone but the pipe still stuck - yes, they can do as they are a reasonably close fit. Presumably the pipe is to be replaced, so no big issue if it fractures, surely?

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I was just worried about breaking the pipe off and somehow damaging the bit it goes into.  It seems my fears were unfounded and I'll just get some tools on it to pop it out.  Feeling more confident about pipe fettling tomorrow from the info provided here. I'm quite pleased at how good the interior plastics are on this one, fading notwithstanding.  I'll be checking out your BX thread in a bit, I know there's useful info in there, especially since you've recently done the pipes.

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Great to see this! Another happy shiter.

 

I loved my silver 1600 Meteor, great looking car and like a gateway drug for old Citroens. I WILL have a CX one day.

 

Looking forward to see this one getting some loving.

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Is it just an artifact of the photo, or in that night time interior shot is the Citroen logo on the steering wheel actually glowing?

 

Seems like something which wouldn't surprise me now, but back then would definitely have caused surprise.

 

Well, from anyone other than Citroen anyway. They're just oddball enough to have done something like that "because they could."

 

Always reckoned the one on this era BX was the best looking implementation of a single spoke steering wheel, it's just so perfectly proportioned and angled.

 

Let me have a dig in the garage, I reckon I might have a set of electric window switches buried in there somewhere still. If they're still in there they're yours.

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.... I WILL have a CX one day.....

Hopefully won't be taking you the 2.5 years it took me to find mine.

 

Somewhere out there is a barn full of CXs all owned by a fella named Dan Pearcey. S1s, S2s, Berlines and Breaks, he seems to have them all. Word is that he might even sell one or two of them in future. Here are just a few of 'em gathering dust.....

 

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Take your pick?

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Got cracking on the welding today.  I've started in the boot.  Unfortunately, I couldn't remove the rear bumper because the fixings were being the usual pain and since I was concerned about breaking things, I left the bumper on and just worked from inside the car instead.  This way I got the repair work done in the time I had spare instead of spending all day fighting with the bumper.  It's not a factory style repair, I just let in a suitable patch with a 90 degree bend rather than mimicking Citroen's construction.  Sploshed some zinc rich primer on once welded (no close up, it looks like I used a pigeon) and then had just enough time to seam seal it on both sides after this photo was taken. Happily, the passenger side spot didn't need any welding as once it was cleaned back the metal was good and it just needed a bit of fresh sealant to replace the bit that had lifted.

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I would have liked to got the boot repairs painted and all the trim back in but it was too dark and too cold in the unit to really see what I was doing so I'll leave things as they are for now and come back to it tomorrow, most likely.  I did discover the colour of the BX is Alpine White rather than Polar White and Halfords stock a reasonable match for the areas I'm working on, so I grabbed a can of that today.  I didn't have time to do more welding work, and couldn't do more painting work, so I started dismantling the worst part of the car I knew about by first pulling out the headlight and indicator pod and then unbolting the front wing.  I was please to see the wing is actually in very good shape, with just some very minor rust staining to treat and repaint to keep it this way.

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With the wing off, I got to see a bit of rust that I wasn't aware of, but wasn't surprising, which is where a couple of skins join.  It should be a straightforward repair since access is very good, the cleaning up is likely what will take the most time on this.  The reason it's a funny shape like that is that's the line of a seam where two panels overlap.  This is a fairly common spot, as far as I'm aware.  The other side of this is a panel seam with a smear of white sealant over the top of it.

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In the engine bay side, I got my first proper look at the extent of the damage by peeling off the white sealant and some of the wing in one go.  These inner wings have been painted at some point, which has since shrunk and cracked.  The rust doesn't appear to have gone beyond where the sealant was applied so I shouldn't have to dismantle very much to clean this up.  It looks much worse a job than it really is since most of the pieces required are very simple shapes and access is surprisingly good for the most part.

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I expect the other side will be a similar, but less bad, story. Better to deal with this stuff now and have it done.  I'm hoping to get in tomorrow and get some progress on the front end and get the boot repair painted and all the interior back in, I don't want to have too much of the car apart at a time.

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      It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
      This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.

      As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
      All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
    • By Zelandeth
      Well I've been meaning to sign up here in forever, but kept forgetting. Thanks to someone over on another forum I frequent poking me about it recently the subject was forced back into my very brief attention span for long enough to get me to act on the instruction.

      I figure that my little varied fleet might bring you lot some amusement...

      So...we've got:

      1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate (now fuel injected, as I reckon the later cars should have been from the factory...).
      1989 Saab 900i Automatic.
      1987 Skoda 120LX 21st Anniversary Special Edition.
      1985 Sinclair C5.
      2009 Peugeot 107 Verve.

      Now getting the photos together has taken me far longer than I'd expected...so you're gonna get a couple of photos of each car for now, and I'll come back with some more information tomorrow when I've got a bit more time...

      Firstly...The Lada. Before anyone asks - in response to the single question I get asked about this car: No, it is not for sale. Took me 13 years and my father's inheritance to find the thing.


      Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.

       






      Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...









      Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.







      Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.

      Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...



      Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.

      Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.



      Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."

      I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...
    • By TripleRich
      Hi all, new to the forum.  Thought you might be interested in what I've got myself into
      I'd been after my first classic car for a while.  If it's big and made in the 70s I'm interested.  Looked at few things like P6s, Zodiacs, Victors, SD1s and various other things.  Problem was I didn't want to spend a boatload of money on something that looked alright but underneath was actually a total heap.  The solution was to buy a complete heap in the first place and spend the money fixing it.
      So in January I went ahead and bought this from a colleague at work who was moving away and needed to get shot of it.

      It's a part finished restoration (I prefer not started) and it needs a whole load of help if it's going to stand any chance of using a road again.
      Pros
      It's right up my street.  Granada Coupes are quite odd and certainly stand out from the norm.
      It still has the original engine, box, interior and most trim.
      It came with loads of panels I need to repair it (mostly original Ford stock).
      It came with so many spares I could probably build a few Granadas and still have stuff left over.
      It was cheap.
      Cons
      Most of the front end has been cut off.
      Most of the body structure is quite rotten.
      It's going to take me ages.
      I work at a restoration company and my boss kindly allows me to keep the car there.  So I've got access to all the gear I need to restore it.  I've been busy on the car for a while now so will post more pics over the coming days.
      Cheers 
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