Remember that C31 Laurel I spotted for sale on the roadside a couple of weeks ago? Well, I just couldn’t resist it any longer and now it’s joined my fleet of old clunkers, although thankfully for two thirds of its original asking price. Although it’s only got about three months MOT left, I think it’s a fairly good deal. It’s a bit flaky around the lower extremities, but nothing too serious, and of course being two tone means I can do the necessary repairs and just repaint the lower half. It could do with the bonnet repainting too, but that can wait a while. I think I’ll be hitting the lower flanks with a much paler gold, probably Ford Champagne Gold….

Despite 108,000 miles on the clock, the interior is in beautiful condition. As a 1985 model, it’s a really late C31, so it’s pretty plush inside compared with most of the earlier C31’s I’ve seen. There’s luxurious looking burgundy carpets, colour matched to the dash, steering wheels and door cards, and even the under dash trims are coated in a pale pink flocking rather than the usual plain black plastic finish. The brushed aluminium dash inserts and stereo are a nice touch. Very 1980’s.

It’s actually pretty cool that it’s got the factory cassette player fitted. Bizarrely it works the stereo speakers on the rear shelf, whilst the radio work one under the dash, meaning you can have them both on at the same time. So far, the only things I’ve found that don’t work are the electric mirrors and the interior light, which won’t operate off the doors, only manually. Pretty trivial stuff and no doubt easily sorted. I love the vacuum fluorescent digital clock…

The 2.4 straight six sounds sweet and pulls very well, and the auto box changes very smoothly. The handling is a bit spongy as you might expect but the ride is still decent… it feels a little like a 910 Bluebird. Brakes are surprisingly small, but are vented up front and seem adequate for the job, although I’d steer clear of really punishing them, as I’d wager they’ll cook in no time. There’s no untoward clunks or rattles, and it seems to drive way better than its mileage would suggest it should. I’ll be giving this a quick re-vamp for the summer as soon as a get a moment, complete with a bit of lowering and some polished 14 x 7j Weds Racing wheels.

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