What are common problem areas to check before buying?
Rust, wiring and brakes. Rust outs in the floor, quarters, trunk pan and trunk lid are common. Directly beneath the tail lights and rear quarter panels are also problem areas. These cars do not have the benefit of modern rust fighting technology so finding a rust free car is the exception. Also, cars from states where road salt is used usually have substantially more rust damage than southern and western cars.
The original wiring insulation is rubber, covered with cloth. Again, it is the exception to find a car where the wiring has not deteriorated. Fifty plus years of seasons takes its toll on any material! If the rubber insulation easily cracks when you flex it, be prepared to add replacing the wiring harness to your list of tasks. Original, show quality wiring harnesses are available from multiple suppliers, and the installation is straightforward. I personally feel this is not area to go lowest bid. Be advised the only electrical system protection is a single fuse for the headlight circuit. Most circuits do not have any fuses. A new harness is not cheap, but an electrical short in an old harness could result in your entire project going up in smoke in a matter of minutes.
I have never talked to a P15 or D24 owner how didn’t have his share of stories about the brakes. Leaking wheel cylinders are a common problem. Again, parts for complete rebuilds are readily available from multiple suppliers. For safety’s sake, after you buy a car be prepared to do a complete brake job including wheel cylinders, master cylinder, lines, shoes and drums. Check our Technical section for more information. And don’t forget to repair the parking brake, which is mounted on the rear of the transmission!