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Here are my 2 cents, having worked on a reduced number of 99 and 900 but spanning the whole build period from one of the last (10-20 chassis numbers or so from the end) 1st face/chrome bumpers 99 to the last c900 sold in my region. Also a mid-80's 900, my current '79 900 (one of the first, so an updated 99 really) and my '76 99 combi coupé - my favourite when it comes to looks :love:

Rust is a problem on both models. It will hugely depend on where the car has spent it's life. Salt or no salt. Garage or no garage... Welding new metal in is about the same pain in the **** for both, but totally doable with reasonable skills. When it comes to replacement sheet metal, most of what's available for 900 fits the 99 too - doors, sills, wheel arches. Mechanical parts are extremely similar from 1976 to 87 (suspension, gearbox, clutch control, wheel hubs), and what's not identical you can mostly swap. In Europe we have the added problem of the carb/injection differences when it comes to fuel tanks, fuel lines routing, pumps etc. I believe this would mostly be irrelevant on post 76 models for the US as I believe carbs were a rarity there during this period (if available at all??)...

The biggest issue for anything before 1981 (900 AND 99!) are a) interior parts - torn seats, missing trim bits, seatbelts, etc; b) exterior trim, and c) engine parts - N/A pistons for the B-engine, oil pump, camshafts, timing chain guides, etc. Much is available for the H engine, especially if turbo (I just found out N/A pistons are a problem too...) and trim is still plentiful if you loo around for the 81-> models: they were built in numbers and for more than 10 years, plus they did not dissolve in rust like many examples of the late 70's...

The pre-76 era is another realm entirely: all the interior is specific. The engine bay is outfitted totally differently. Clutch control is different. Gearboxes are different. The B-engine is (I believe) useable on a later car but it will require different parts in some cases. The triumph engines are virtually impossible to rebuilt due to lack of parts, unless you want to spend hours on swedish auction websites.

If you go for a 99, make sure the interior is as pristine as you want it, and that rust is not beyond repair - it's more frequent than on mid-80's 900.
 
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