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  1. #1

    Buying a Williams (Noob Guide)

    Right lets see if we can channel our resources and knowledge and help some of the new members,and those to be, what to try and look for when buying a Williams.
    It should just consist of straight forward facts. If your looking for the differences between them then there is a sticky for that.
    Anyone in the trade your comments and experience is very welcome.

    Here is my experience..

    So, Ive gone back to the future, and i'm on the hunt for my all time favorite car. I'm looking at adds on the net, found this club here also, and me mates are spotting them for sale left right and center. I know from the outset that no matter which one I buy I'm gonna end up throwing money at it. How much depends on how much fun your having or want to have!

    Lets start with the mileage.
    These cars are circa 16 years old. Average mileage per annum on a family car is 12,000 miles. So that would make anything with less than 196K on the clock, below average mileage.

    Some people are more fussier than others but just because it has had 10 owners or more does not mean it is a bad car. Far from it! It could well have been that the cost of maintenance was spread out throughout all the owners, which is a good thing in my book, rather than have say 3 owners that did nothing but oil changes.

    Easily and without argument the most important element of buying your soon to be old classic. Their French, and they rust badly whether you look after them or not.
    IT IS the most expensive and requires the most skilled of pro's to restore the car back to showroom condition (thats if you want it to look, shall we say mint). Look inside the engine bay at the sills, left and right, also get underneath the car if you can and check out the sills. Anything with a sunroof and watch out there is no water puddles in the cabin,or even signs of wet carpet as the rubber around the rear windows do leak on some.
    As for the speedlines, get them refurbed. But for the love of god make sure you get the color right!

    If your not overly fussy about the exterior look, then just watch out for badly corroded parts such as the sub-frame, rear axle, brake calipers and lines and the exhaust. These from my experience were the most expensive to clean/replace.

    Anything with mileage over 80K will probably need suspension renewing. That means shocks(front/rear),top mounts and arb bush's, possibly as well the bottom ball joints and wishbone bush's.
    Steering rack track rod ends will need looking after, aswell as the play issue (on the linkage) with the steering rack itself. Also bearings are a bugger to do without a press so bare that in mind also.

    IDEALLY you should bring along an experienced mechanic or someone you trust knows their reno's,and who can run checks in this area.
    But you can assume that if the service history does NOT indicate a timing belt change,water pump change,aux belt change, clutch plate/cable service, coolant flush then these items will need to be carried out ASAP.

    Make sure your happy with the overall condition of the cabin. Seats,dashboard's even carpets can be found ten a penny.
    Door cards, parcel shelf and gearstick leather surround not so much.

    So I'm back from the future, and it's been 6 years since I bought my Williams. Purchased new for 2K. Spent 6K.
    Condition wise it's as good as I can get it with the resources I have at my disposal today.

    Thinking with my head, if I was buying my first Williams today I would easily be prepared to spend 8K on a perfect example, regardless of phase. (that is without the need for getting the spanners out, ever again)
    Otherwise, i'd buy a fully loaded track day car.

  2. #2
    Part 2.

    Taking the car home.
    If the car has been sitting idle and even sometimes not, the rear brake bias valve will most likely have seized up, possibly the brake calipers aswell. So dont be in a rush to drive it away there and then. There are many a good towing company out there that will happily provide a good service. Also tyre pressures and make of tyres are so important for these cars I cannot stress enough that you check these VERY regularly and before each drive.
    If you have no other option but to drive it away, use your common sense and take it easy. They can bite you in the ass before you even know about it!

    So you've biten the bullet and got the car home. Where do you start? Lets see if we can help save you some time effort and cash.

    Cleaning exterior parts.
    Provided engine and gearbox are sound, i'd say 70% of your time will be spent at cleaning and sourcing parts. A sand blaster or someone with one will be your best option. You are also most likely going to require an angle grinder for stubborn bolts. Rear axle, sub-frame, wheels, front hubs, struts, exhaust heat shields are all exterior items that are prone to corrosion and will most definately require cleaning. Some people get them powder coated, some will apply their own protection paint. Either or try and keep colours as close to the original value if you can. Original sub-frames are grey in color. Heat shields are bare metal or white for the fuel tank. If your unsure, ask.
    All exterior trim area's can be renewed using your prefered back to black or whatever you wish to call/use for it. As for windscreens, forget about trying to DIY this. If it's chipped get it polished or replaced by a professional company.

    Inside the engine bay.
    Area's such as the sills could do with added protection. Chances are the slam panel,bonnet holders and bolts for the lamps are showing signs of corrosion so could do with a clean/replacement. Engine mounts are another item that could do with a light sand blast. You'll figure it out on the way. Reno sell the original color paint in spray cans.
    You dont need an engine lift to do any of the major serviceable items. Drop the subframe and gearbox out and with a decent 4 tonne jack you should be able to safely/comfortably move the engine left or right enough to get at the areas you need to service. Also, make sure you have good axle stands that dont dig into the car under-sills.

    Interior and parts
    Nicest thing about working inside the cabin is that the seats are easy to take out. If there is dust or dirt inside the clocks, it is possible to take off the glass cover and give it a good clean. Check the rubber seals on the rear windows. In fact its a good idea to look underneath these as rust is prone to appear under this rubber. Door cards are mostly un-repairable, and as mentioned before the leather surround for the gearstick is next to impossible to find without holes. You may have found a car that has been modified and missing standard items. Dont stress out though, seek and ye shall find!
    Use common sense and shop around for spares and ask for discount if buying new. Luckily, Reno released a good few number of the Williams Clio, and many were purchased and stripped out for rallying from birth, or are turning up beyond economical repair, so spares are in good suppy both at home and abroad from enthusiasts and collectors.

    Hopefully this will get you started. Everything you need to know is on the forum. There is a members guide section also. Trust me, the forum users have asked/answered every conceivable scenario that could possibly arise with the buying/ownership and restoration/preservation and of course modifying of a Williams Clio. That said they still like to be challenged with questions new or old and be reminded how engaging and captivating the Williams to own/drive really is. At the end of the day, it's not how much time or money you have spent on it, it's what the car gives you back in return during ownership. It is one seriously addictive car with the added bonus of being versatile in the modification department. Once your good to go, it's happily capable of being a daily runner, track day car or even just dry stored.

  3. #3
    Forum User Jamie.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Fantastic effort.

    I stickied this - be good if we all put something in.

  4. #4
    Forum User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Croatia, City of Zagreb
    Great guide matey!

    Can someone write a few words about how to take out the dashboard? is it too much of a hassle? cheers!

  5. #5
    Thanks Jamie.

    It should be noted that whilst my guide is a general overview of what you can expect to find when viewing a Williams, and the work required there afterwards,
    arj256 gives a very thorough guide on the viewing process here;

    Markic, top of dash easy, just three screws. If your on about the whole dash, I've been fortunate enough not to have had the need to do that!

  6. #6
    Forum User 2 live's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    out there somewhere
    not forgetting the 2 at the sides ;)

    as you say tho. easy enough to do. the lower dash is a bit more hassle. lol

  7. #7
    Forum User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Croatia, City of Zagreb
    I meant the complete dash guys.
    I was thinking about stripping the complete dash off, clean it, clean the ventilation, and soundproof it abit, to have less sounds from the dash.

  8. #8
    Markic, haynes manual is gonna be your best bet or look around for a Matrix removal guide as it almost involves the same thing.

    not forgetting the 2 at the sides
    2live you been sleepin in the car again to remember that lol

  9. #9
    Forum User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Croatia, City of Zagreb
    cheers mate, I suppose it will be the same thing, as the heater matrix is under the dash :D

  10. #10
    Forum User Wobba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Willy1 217 & 172 Ph1
    Great stuff Fab. I may contribute in my own small way soon


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