It's OK for hobbyists doing low annual mileage
The second-worst fault to-date was a short-circuit in the rotator inside the distributor cap at 35,000 miles. This occurred on a motorway when I had no breakdown cover and cost me £100 overall. I later discovered there was a design fault with the original rotator.
The wiper motor failed at about 40,000 miles.
The worst fault was that the rear oil-seal fell out at circa 70,000 miles, after it had been leaking for the previous 30,000 miles. This entailed the engine needing to be separated from the gearbox in order to repair. It cost £200 to fix.
Currently the wiper linkage is showing signs of age and will need attention, but is still usable.
Headlining is sagging, but I doubt I will get it fixed as it's not that serious.
New rear wheel arches were required at 50,000 and 70,000 miles due to rust.
Annoying rust spots inside the rear side window trim - inaccessible without replacing the entire window - means the paint gets discoloured by water runs. When one of the side windows accidentally broke, it provided an opportunity to do something about it. My insurance company picked up most of the hefty bill for repair.
The pipes to the internal radiator rusted out, as did the radiator itself at circa 65,000 miles. As no new pipes were available, I had to make some replacements myself. Corrosion built up on the internal heater fan switch located on the heater, so the heater fan did not work. Both the above required removing the fascia, which I did myself. Would have been very expensive otherwise.
It failed the MOT emissions test in 2008, but there did not appear to be anything to tune in the engine except the idle speed. Lowering it made it pass. The engine seems to be one that is virtually incapable of adjustment or tuning.
Despite a lot of rust-prevention, it has needed frequent welding. I have done all the welding myself however, but would have cost a small fortune if done privately.
As the car has never been garaged in its entire life, so I suppose I can't complain about the rust now it's 20 years old, though I envy Japanese car owners with similar age cars who appear to have rust-free cars.
The fuel consumption with the 4-speed automatic gearbox is appalling - not even close to 30mpg - but having the car converted to run on LPG was its life-saver, otherwise I probably would have got rid of it or replaced the auto-gearbox with a manual one a long time ago. As I don't do that many miles now, I can live with it.
I have found insurance to be quite cheap. I have never paid more than £170 per year fully comprehensive since I got it.
The worst expense now is the road-tax at £215 per year, but only 4 more years of it now.
The car has been quite forgiving so far, on my haphazard servicing. I have never had it professionally serviced but I have changed the oil quite often, and various other things like plugs, leads, brake shoes, cylinders, cam-belt. air filter and water pump.
When I bought it in 1999, I envisaged a further 10 year life span. Now I'm thinking about a further 10 year life span for it in 2011 due to all the time invested in keeping it going, plus the fact that it is not a depreciating asset, and is even appreciating in value. The main issue is that quite a few parts, especially trim parts, are no longer available, and some Motor Factors do not even stock mechanical parts any more.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th June, 2011