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Vitesse purchase


Frank E Bouy
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I've been looking at a Vitesse Mk2 on Ebay and wondered whether any members could share their wisdom about trouble spots to look out for.

I've previously (in the dim and distant past!) owned Heralds and GT6, so I'm reasonably familiar with that range, but would value other members opinions.

The car I'm looking at, on Ebay, is in the Stevenage area, so any members in that area may even know the car!

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Hello Frank, The below may help.

Looking at the week points let me first start with rust. As with all cars of this period they all rust if subjected to the winter conditions. The main areas on the chassis are - The side rails and all of the outriggers. And where the main chassis rail dips under the diff. 

 The body mounts - Onto the side rail. And the boot points at the rear of the car. Body - Bottom of both A and B posts. Around the sidelights. All wheel arches. Bottom of doors. All or some of these problems will be present on neglected cars.

 Mechanical problems -  Check gearbox and back axle for noise. And U/J's for wear which shows up as clunks when the drive is taken up. If it is a 2 Litre Mk2 look at the Rotoflex couplers, on the rear halve shafts, for large cracks or breaks.

Being a 1950's design the six cylinder engines are generally hard wearing but check the end float on crank, test by moving the crank pulley in and out, if only a very small movement is present then its OK. High mileage can cause all the normal problems.

 Overdrive was an option and check it comes in after a couple of seconds. Under load the overdrive (D type) can be hard coming in and out which is normal.

Correctly renovated and maintained Vitesse are very reliable cars with few weak points. The separate chassis has made them easier to renovate. Plus the straight six engine makes a superb exhaust noise.

Dave

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well rust obviously is the biggy and although Im no panel beater I believe some areas are worse than others: for example chassis parts, if accessible, arent so bad as the roof leading edge or base of the C posts and valances as problematic as door bottoms.

Mechanically suspension, brakes and drive shafts are all pretty easy to deal with but gearboxes are weak and expensive to replace. Its pretty limited as to what you can check on a test unless youre really going to go to town and get it up in the air and remember since May 2018 they havent needed an MOT.

The engine might rattle a little on cold start up but hot oil pressure on tickover should maintain 15+psi and if the car doesnt have a gauge like mine (and the owner agrees) you could  temporarily screw in a small gauge in place of the oil pressure switch to get a reading. This is useful as it not only shows the state of the pump but also the crankshaft bearings which as they wear cause a drop in pressure. Finally (again with the owners permission) you could try to lever the crankshaft back and forward on the front pulley. Its easier done hot and if theres more than a very slight click in movement the thrust bearings are worn which if left for too long can cause serious damage to the engine.

Hope this helps and you might even find someone on here who for a beer would have a look at the car with you....

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Thanks John & Dave for your helpful comments. And, Pete - Yes I think it is Andy Wilks, at least his ebay name is wilkes107 so I guess it's him.  You say that you've been to examine a few for members. Would you be in a position to assist me? I'm in East Devon and don't want a wasted trip, but from the description that Andy Wilkes has put on Ebay it sounds a tidy car. Would have prefered one with o/d but hey - you can't have everything!

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its possible  , hes about 20 miles from me , 

a number on here have bought from him with varying results/outcomes 

what he does makes a good start point and generally tidy , what he says is pretty straight , but ....a look see is a way, i wont be getting on the floor or going round with a magnet

it will be a view of the car with valuation scores in mind, last one i condemded the gearbox, it was to be changed ..it wasnt.   so he does what it says on the tin but the lids a bit bent if thats  of  any creadance !!!!!

pete

 

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3 hours ago, Frank E Bouy said:

Thanks John & Dave for your helpful comments. And, Pete - Yes I think it is Andy Wilks, at least his ebay name is wilkes107 so I guess it's him.  You say that you've been to examine a few for members. Would you be in a position to assist me? I'm in East Devon and don't want a wasted trip, but from the description that Andy Wilkes has put on Ebay it sounds a tidy car. Would have prefered one with o/d but hey - you can't have everything!

Dont be put off by a lack of overdrive as although many swear by them Im not convinced and so far have resisted installing one. They certainly have pros n cons and your use of the car may decide whether to leave as is, fit one or reduce the diff ratio..... 

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2 hours ago, Colin Lindsay said:

That one appears to have a very lurid blue underside (It's hardly blue stonechip or underseal, but you never know.....)Was it blue originally?

The paint looks nice in the pictures, but it also looks very thickly applied, especially in some areas of the engine bay.

I have overdrive on my Vitesse mk2 and wouldnt be without it , the diff is 3.89 ratio and at some time would like to replace with a 3.63 ratio

Paul 

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I've just read the description, it actually says 17th CV from end of production, mine is 12th CV from the end so the same stat applies.

It's MOT history is very mixed, of significance 2014 with no MOT since 2016.

As for O/D, well a seller would say that but I can assure you it will not be long before you want to have that upgrade if you intend to use the car a lot, want a quieter life, better engine longevity and fuel consumption to name a few pluses. 

O/D units are a very worthwhile upgrade and enhance the driving experience plus taking the strain off the running gear. As for going wrong, they are more reliable than not.

Just some observations.

Good luck.

Richard.

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hmmm I knew the OD would be controversial! Ive done 30+ years without one in this Vitesse (had one previously with OD) and admittedly dont drive fast so noise is mostly wind not mechanical. Also I think our gearboxes are even less robust with OD fitted plus Im not convinced about improved fuel consumption because of the losses due to the OD oil pump and extra gear losses.....

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I've no idea if it helps fuel consumption; all I know is that in my GT6 the revs drop dramatically and you can hear the stereo again... in these days of modern cars we're used to lower-revving engines (one of ours has six gears) so if I see a rev counter sitting about 4000 rpm I'm automatically looking for another gear. 

I bought an overdrive conversion for my 1200 Herald - single rail gearbox and gearstick from a Spitfire - but sold it again without ever fitting it; I'll stick to the standard non-overdrive in that car as it somehow suits more sedate driving.

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the blue is hammerite or similar applied at some time in its  previous resto.

Im going to view the car for frank on monday

i like overdrives and no problems with wear and tear, most gearboxes give out due to age and enthusiasm, i guess giving t som whelly in 3rd and clicking up to 

re intro the torque band is the wear from enthusiastic Geronimo overtaking not down to the fitting of the OD

much cheaper to replace the diff   with a 3.63::1   less fun but nicer cruising

Pete

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15 minutes ago, Colin Lindsay said:

I've no idea if it helps fuel consumption; all I know is that in my GT6 the revs drop dramatically and you can hear the stereo again... in these days of modern cars we're used to lower-revving engines (one of ours has six gears) so if I see a rev counter sitting about 4000 rpm I'm automatically looking for another gear. 

I bought an overdrive conversion for my 1200 Herald - single rail gearbox and gearstick from a Spitfire - but sold it again without ever fitting it; I'll stick to the standard non-overdrive in that car as it somehow suits more sedate driving.

yes I reckon in a GT6 OD is probably worthwhile as its a more aerodynamic shape so at speed mechanical noise is more prevalent than wind. The Herald/Vitesse on the other hand is about as slippery as a brick so 60mph is enough for me😁

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37 minutes ago, Pete Lewis said:

 you cant hear the radio anyway , 

Pete

Is that 'you can't hear the radio anyway' or 'YOU can't hear the radio anyway'? :) The hearing aid was a freebie from the NHS, it's never used....

In the GT6 I have two 6 inch speakers in the rear trim panels and two four inch in the glove box cubbyholes, so can hear it quite clearly, even at speed. 

The standard factory speaker (single grille thingy) in Heralds and the like is only for sitting parked in a picnic spot somewhere...

 

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Ray and I went to view the car, you can ignor all the past mot history this is a nice tidy example now.

yes thes some tlc in odd internal places like a worn stg wheel and blue hammerited fuel tank floor internal need a repaint , alloys have some lacquer  marks , needs a remote shift kit 

but first impression is very tidy straight car  never mind the missing strg lock or where it fits in the last 17 ,

ive told frank to go ahead  join the club and get insurance and i can do the valuation for for him  ...job done 

 

Pete

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