I like to discuss here two condition categories:
A car in this condition is free of any defects on the inside as well as the outside.
Drive train / body
· The engine is fully functional, newly built and running smoothly. No blue smoke comes from the tail pipes. Listen for unusual mechanical noises and if possible undertake a compression test.
· On the lift, carefully check out the underside of the car.
· All rubber suspension bushings and axle bearings should be new. When turning the steering wheel, there may not be a recognizable play. The underbelly and all the axle components are newly painted and preserved.
· Check the brake discs for wear and check for minimum thickness, the brake calipers front and rear should have been overhauled. At the rear axle, at the hubs, the oil seals should have been replaced.
· The differential cannot show any traces of oil, since the replacement of these oil seals requires the complete dismantling of the differential, followed by the readjustment of the gears.
·The manual transmission usually does not have any problems.
· The "Niveaumat" shocks (self-leveling rear suspension) should be the original version and should be fully functional. They are again available as a re-manufactured part. A test drive will easily show if the car leans to one side.
· Looking from the bottom, rocker panels, wheel arches, front and rear valance panel, A-pillars, floor panels and door edges must be rust free.
· On the A-pillar check if the reinforcement cap is in its proper place. Restoration shops often forget about it!. Check the spare tire well for rust.
· The paint must be smooth and without blemishes, it might be possible to measure the coating thickness.
·All lights must be flawless, the chrome trim rings and trim pieces should be in a good chromed condition and look like new.
· The tires should be the least of your worry, the replacement when old (damage from standing too long) is not very expensive.
· The front and rear, and side windows should have no scratches; the window rubbers seals should have no cracks or show signs of deterioration.
· On the inside the headliner should have been replaced, because the foam rubber underside deteriorates and the original head liner starts sagging.
· The interior and the dashboard should show no damage, carpets in the passenger area and the trunk should be as new. All switches and levers and add-ons such as a radio, must operate.
A vehicle in this condition is #2 and can currently demand between 40,000 and 50,000 Euros (as of 2011)
Now it becomes much more difficult. If the V-8 is in a #4 and/or #5 condition, the most important factor becomes the condition of the body's sheet metal. Most important, the car should be complete - all the parts still in place.
· The front valance should only have surface rust on top and bottom. The hood has mostly small rusted through holes at the corners. Fenders and head light housings are always almost rusted through. Most of the time indicator lights and chrome rings are still usable.
· Front and rear bumpers are made from stainless steel, check here for damage.
· On the site: Only the wheel arch edges should show rust. The floor inside should show no rust damage . The sills are mostly rusted through.
· The A-pillars are a problem. To repair these areas the fender needs to come off or cut transversely. The A-pillar cap is often rusted away. This reinforcement cap is generally no longer available. However this cap section is mandatory for the reinforcement of the door hinges (see again Figure 5). The repair is costly.
· Also look at the underside of the doors. The rear wheel arch is mostly rusted inside.
· The glazing should be complete and intact.
· The rear apron in the area of the rear lights and check for rust holes at the seam to the floor panel. The trunk lid is mostly rusted through in the lower corners and this is difficult to repair.
· The paint is not important, since it has to be removed anyway. Old and new paints usually do not tolerate each other, the bodies when shipped from Italy, had already rust on them just from the transport across the Alps.
· Sheet metal parts are often tinned at the edges at the transitions to other panels to facilitate the fit (original).
· The motor may be frozen since it was standing for a long time, but it is often possible to have it rebuilt. It cannot, however, have any components missing, because they are very hard to get! The engine compartment must always be checked for completeness all auxiliary equipment and accessories.
· The dashboard and the gauges should be in a useful condition and the interior should be complete.
· Replacement door cards are available but the complete restoration of the entire interior is costly.
· The head liner is usually sagging, but there are replacements.
A V-8 in this condition will run between 6,000 and 8,000 Euros
If the fenders, wheel arches, valance panels in front and rear, doors, floors and side walls and the floor are rusted through and the car is not complete, the V8 is in a condition #6. Such a car is really only suitable as a parts donor because the sheet metal work can be very expensive, unless you do it yourself.
Spare parts situation
Due to the small number of cars produced, already 45 years ago dealers had very few spare parts in stocks. There are almost no sheet metal parts to buy. Exceptions are few remnants of reproductions front fenders and rocker panels. It will be necessarily to find a specialist in car body repair since these very rust-prone cars with all their nooks and crannies are difficult to repair.
For the drive train the spare part situation looks better. Engine parts are still available and many are reproduced. Also new replacement transmissions are still available. For the front axle, almost all parts are being reproduced, for the rear axle the original Niveaumat shocks are being reproduced. There are also still many decorative items and accessories available. The prices are generally quite high, as demand and quantity is very small.
I recommend you always bring along a competent consultant. The better car is usually the better buy. I like helping when I can, with info, tips and parts, often I know who is offering a V8 or even I may have one for sale.