Freshly machine-polished and looking fabulous, the XR3i’s Caspian Blue paint might be the most obvious indicator of its quality but it’s far from being the only one because the underlying metalwork is just as impressive.
With tight and consistent shutlines, ripple-free flanks, and a thin white pinstripe that lines up perfectly across all the panels, it’s remarkably well screwed together, even now.
Of course, it’s got a pair of big, round spotlights plus a pair of rectangular foglamps to bolster the factory lighting, lighting whose lenses are all clear and undamaged.
The chunky rear spoiler is still black and free of obvious aging, as are the lower wheelarch trims front and rear.
The glazing is all good too, including the rubber seals. The rear window even still sports a ‘Grays of Guildford’ sticker, the firm thought to be the original supplying dealer.
Speaking of apertures, the factory glass sunroof opens and closes as it should and appears to seal well. The internal sunblind is still in place and operative too, which is little short of a miracle.
Even touchpoints like the door mirrors and extremities are undamaged, which is always a good sign.
The 15-inch alloy wheels (part number 9057884 and taken from an RS 1600i) are in great shape with no dents, dinks or other damage. They are also fitted with a matching set of 195/50R15 Pirelli P1 Cinturato tyres, all of which still have oodles of tread left on them.
We will never get tired of telling you that experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.
As for flaws, there are a few thin scratches from the car cover that protected it in storage and some of the black plastic trim is also a little weathered and faded.
Also, given originality is where the money is, you might like to source some O/E alloy wheels, defraying some of the cost by selling the - rare and quite expensive – ones that are fitted currently.