If the belts snapped and he's tried to start it thats pretty much certainly 16 vavles, probably a few valve guides, the possibility of marked pistons, big ends would want doing too to be on the safe side, then fresh oil & coolant, timing belt kit, variator, aux belt kit, head gasket set (plus a skim?).. Roll in labour at £40 an hour or so at a local non-specialist garage, plus the cam locks & variator tool, thats got to be £1500 if not more to be honest.. I think a recon engine makes sense, if the car is known to be a good one besides the knackered engine. If the suspension, brakes, exhaust, tyres & bodywork are all shot, then its a scrap job. If a few of these need attention as well then its borderline.
One other thing to be aware of is that if the engine is coming out, its definitely worth doing a new clutch for the price of the kit, as there isn't going to be a better time..
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