Me and a mate have co-owned this for sometime now. Lovely car - two owners from new, 56K on the clock, really straight, blue velour interior.....
I was going to get it on the road around a year ago now (how time flies!), but like most cars I own, there was a minor problem.
Nice! Creeping rot on the rear strut tops seems to be a major killer of this generation of 626 - it is hidden under plastic covers and isn't really discovered until big holes appear. There was also some on the other side (not quite as bad).
Unfortunately, this was enough to put it on hold whilst other cars were tackled. If it was a rough car, we could have just scrapped it - the work required to put those strut tops right was quite a sticking point. But it was just too nice, so we ran it around every so often, whilst ultimately pondering its fate. It was a real problem - a hell of a lot of work for a car that seemingly doesn't hold much mass appeal, but we liked it too much. I'd never be able to have a clear conscience if I led it towards its death.
A few months ago we decided to bite the bullet and get it welded up properly. Felt a bit guilty with the chap doing the welding - as always, these jobs always seem to be more work than initially expected and he spent many hours getting it up to scratch. But now it's all welded up - practically the entire rear strut tops have been recreated with nice solid metal! Also the sills were sorted out. I'll have to get some new pics.
The only other thing it needed was an anti roll bar link, which I frustratingly found was a dealer-only part. I hate getting parts from the dealer, no matter who it is, it seems like ordering an old part is enough to cause them some upset. I ordered it in with the local Mazda dealer and picked it up from a fairly humourless lot who probably wished I was there to "scrappage" my Charmant against a Mazda 2 or something. Hopefully I won't have to darken their doorstep again when I get to work on my 323.
Whilst in a parts ordering mood, I also obtained a cambelt. We weren't sure if the cambelt has been done during its life (they're due at 56/60K), but judging by the condition of the belt it hadn't been done recently, so better safe than sorry! Also an oil filter as it was due an oil change.
With all those things done, it'll be going down for an MOT (roadworthiness test for non-UK readers) next week. If it passes, it'll be a superb bit of timing - I can spend Christmas away from my family reassembling the trim in the interior and driving around playing cassettes. That's right, it's got a cassette deck - I'm moving up in the world.
Plans are just to leave it stock, though if I see a set of these strange hubcaps going cheap I might be tempted:
We'll just have to wait and see if there's a Christmas miracle now.