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Buyers Guide

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Some help for those new to buying a Sinclair C5, and possibly a useful reminder for those that aren't  ;)

This has been compiled from replies to various questions I've been asked 8)

First piece of advice is ,if at all possible,to always go & view the C5 you are interested in as all C5's seem to photograph really well - even the mingers  :o

If you have no option but to rely on pictures, then ask the seller to forward you some of the underneath to check for corrosion and chassis damage. Ask for a few with the boot removed to help view the motor,control box etc., plus a view from each side,front and rear to check for body twist,holes and other general damage (stickers,scratches etc).

Depending on what can be seen in the pictures you receive, here are some questions to put to the seller ;

- does the c5 power up and run properly ? any belt slip (loud buzzing noise)

- is there a Pod included ? Does it light up and function properly ?

- is the boot missing ? ( if you can find a replacement don't forget you will
also need a lock and key as they aren't always sold together).

- are the centre caps for the wheels missing ?

- is the motor missing ? Is the motor mount still fitted , and what
about the gearbox and "fingers" (brown or cream coloured - see link below) ? Is the control box still there ?

- are indicators fitted, if so are they complete and undamaged ? (They are
very difficult to source and you will have the holes in the body if they've
been previously fitted & removed).

- are mirrors fitted, if so are they complete and undamaged. (If previously fitted & removed, there will be holes left in the bodywork).

- are the front & rear lights still fitted, any damage ?

- you might want to consider if the tyres/tubes/brake cables will need
replacing. "Offside" rear wheel bearing cages are know to corrode and collapse, do the wheels turn freely ? Are they damaged ? Do the brakes work smoothly ?

- is the chassis rusty or bent ?

- is the chain rusted solid, is there a chain tensioner fitted ? Is it complete with clips and undamaged ?

- any holes in the floor (usually found just behind the front wheel).

- does it still have a front shroud (aka front wheel cover).

- has the front wheel melted (check the rims)

- is the wiring standard or been messed about with

Whether a C5 is worth buying as a restoration project depends on how much you are likely to get it for, and when/if you can find the missing parts. It is always surprising just how much stuff comes up on Ebay, but you may have to be patient. Adam Harper has most stuff still available, just a question of how much a restoration may end up costing.

You should also read C5martins excellent guide ;

..and view the various posts within the c5alive forum to get a feel for what goes wrong and how we keep them running.

Link to the Download section for the unofficial C5 handbook (unofficial service documentation);


This is how the rear wheel should sit within the rear wheel arch;

This is how a bent chassis affects the rear wheel alignment ;

Example of bent front forks causing the front wheel to "tuck under";

...how the front wheel should sit;

..the tyre should sit much closer to the  "nose" of the bodyshell, also checked by seeing if the rear part of the front wheel shroud rubs against the bodywork on full steering lock.

Damage to the front fork stem can also cause the same problem with front wheel alignment, check the following topic for some more pictures of what to look for ;http://c5alive.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1882.0

a couple of piccies of the damage caused by riding off kerbs,hitting large potholes etc etc;

Another example of chassis damage, worth keeping an eye out for when purchasing a c5 !;



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