Tactical fail received at the MOT center: last day for inspection today so I just had to get any result to be able to drive the car around legally. Surprisingly the open recall didn't cause any grief despite the warning letter I got from the state, and the car just failed due to the blowing exhaust and the lights having various issues. I'll try to whittle the list down to three and see if it'll pass the recall work dealership's inspection.
In the earlier pics you might see that the front grille had some fading and hazing going on. Since I pulled it when working on the front end today, I decided to see how little work it would need. Turns out, not much.
I sanded it with some foam backed 1500 grit I had lying around until it felt smooth enough to paint with a matte black rattlecan.
It looks so much better! Maybe perhaps because I knew it was kind of crappy before, but now it doesn't stand out.
Inspection passed: the driver side headlight still points wrong as the beam doesn't fully illuminate the roadside the way it's supposed to. However, that's still only a demerit as is the blowing exhaust center muffler (bought a new center pipe which is probably close enough) and the inop rear fog, meaning the car only had three strikes today which is fine. I also had the Takata recall performed earlier today, so the car is reasonably legal and non-lethal ish.
Sold! I posted it online when the car passed MOT and some weeks later a guy called very eagerly that he wanted to come see it tonight. He had had some JDM oddballs earlier and this was within budget, so he drove cross country with a friend to come see it. That's that, then.