A busy final weeks of 2021 – Workshop update

As 2021 draws to a close we would once more like to thank all our customers, staff and suppliers for their support this year. We have had a fantastic year and it has been great to be back attending shows and seeing friends and customers out and about in their cars. We will be sharing some of our highlights of 2021 ahead of the new year but for now we will remain focused on what we have been up to in the workshop.
As ever we remain very busy with restorations, servicing and upgrades everywhere you look. Our last day working is Thursday the 23rd of December. We will remain closed over the festive period to give our hard-working staff some much needed downtime and reopen on Tuesday the 4th of January. If you need to contact us, please feel free to email or use the contact form on our website. Messages will not be checked regularly but we will endeavour to get back to you.
In this weeks’ update we will have a look at disc brake upgrades, a couple of restorations, gauge repairs and more.


Jaguar MK5, XK120 and E-Type

Disc brake upgrade

We have become well know over the years for restoring the most practical and usable XKs out there. This is in no small part down to the suite of upgrades and modifications we have developed, along with trusted manufactures, over several decades. We continue to improve and refine the upgrades over time and to research new ways to improve these cars without compromising the look or character of the car.
Over the past three decades disc brakes have been an enduring and popular upgrade for XKs. Indeed, disc brakes and XKs have a long history tracking all the way back to Dunlop trialling them in the early ‘50s. Dunlop disc brakes were famously used on the 1953 Le Mans winning C-Type. Before that in 1952, and less famously, XK120 chassis no 660001 was allocated to the Dunlop test fleet to be tested with their prototype disc brake system.
Ultimately it was not until 1957 and the introduction of the XK150 that the XK range got the much-needed disc brakes as standard. It is clear however that Jaguar recognised the need for improved braking systems for their high-performance ports cars very early on and were willing to put much effort into helping develop them.
If you would like to discuss our range of upgrades or book your car in for a disc brake conversion please do get in touch.


Jaguar XK120 disc brake upgrade

Jaguar XK140 Le Mans recreation

This Jaguar XK140 fixedhead coupe was restored and rebuilt by its owner and is something of a tribute to the only XK140 ever to compete at Le Mans. PWT846 was entered in the 1956 Le Mans and was running in an impressive 11th place in the 21st hour when it was wrongly black flagged. The car was entered privately and driven by Roger Walshaw and Peter Bolton.
The lovely restored XK140 pictured here has been styled after PWT846 with the bumpers removed, adding spotlights and bonnet strap.
The car was brought to us by the owner almost complete with just a few mechanical, trim and cosmetic jobs to be finished off. He had experienced difficulty setting the clutch up and the carbon release bearing had become damaged leaving him unable to select gears. Fortunately, the car has been converted to a five-speed gearbox so with a bit of creative thinking we were able to change the clutch without removing the engine. We took the opportunity to upgrade to a roller release bearing and a diaphragm clutch providing greater reliability and a lighter pedal. We also fitted the car with a front disc brake conversion using four pot aluminium callipers. We then checked through all systems on the car, set her up and road tested the car ready to be returned to its owner.


Jaguar XK140 FHC restoration

Classic car gauges

We have a great deal of experience dealing with classic car gauges and instruments. Be it a faulty fuel gauge or a time clock which is only right twice a day we have a solution to fit your needs. We can rebuild and calibrate nearly all XK gauges and those that are beyond repair we are able to source suitable alternatives which look as close as possible to the originals.
One gauge we have had particular issues with in recent years is the dual oil and water gauges. Repairing the water temperature gauges and making them accurate is a particularly difficult and specialist task. The capillary is filled with liquid ether which is both toxic and flammable. This has to be filled in a sub-zero vacuum chamber and then soldered to produce a seal. Although they can be repaired accuracy is not guaranteed. For those who prioritise accuracy over originality we now offer an upgraded modern unit which looks almost identical but is very reliable and accurate.
Pictured here is an XK120 speedo which we have recalibrated and fitted with one of our dual KMPH and MPH faces. These dual faces are ideal for those using their XK for international touring allowing you to easily keep to the speed limit wherever you are.


Classic car gaguges

Jaguar E-Type hood and trim

Progress continues with this Jaguar E-Type OTS which we have been carrying out a partial restoration on. The restoration journey for this car started out as a simple respray at another garage. The car was stripped down to a bare tub, resprayed and then progress stopped for several years. The owner has now entrusted her to us to finish off within a limited budget so refurbishment rather than restoration has been the goal wherever possible. The brief here has been to built a smart and reliable car without doing more than was essential. Of course, we are not willing to compromise the quality of our work so where we have felt further work was required, we have discussed this with the owner.
With most of the mechanical work complete and the car wired up we are looking forward to getting the car running and driving. Unfortunately, we are experiencing a slight delay on the new aluminium radiator and stainless-steel exhaust system for the car. As with so many sectors at the moment we and many of our suppliers are plagued by supply chain issues so we are experiencing some delays. 
We will not let this hold up progress on the car. This week the hood frame has been fitted and set up. We are now finishing of the interior trim and then the hood can be trimmed.


Jaguar E-Type restoration

Jaguar XK140 oil leak

This XK140 fixedhead coupe came in as it was suffering with an excessive oil leak. The owner suspected the oil filter housing hand had attempted to stop the oil leak there and requested we fit an upgraded oil filter system. This is a great system with adapts the original oil filter housing to allow a modern ‘spin on’ oil filter to be fitted. This in turn does away with the rather problematic seal at the top of the oil filter which often leaks if not installed with great care. It also makes servicing quicker, easier and less messy. All good news.
With the car in and up on the ramp it became clear that the oil leak was in fact coming from the rear main oil seal, the sump gasket and the cork seal at the rear of the sump. Short of an engine rebuilt there is little that can be done about a leaking rear main on an early XK engine due to the design. When we rebuild an engine, we offer the option of having a proper modern lip seal upgrade but this requires the block to be machined. The sump gasket and rear cork seal however are relatively straightforward to resolve.
With the sump off all the mating faces are cleaned up and new gaskets installed with an appropriate sealant. Once tested we found this resolved the vast majority of the oil leak coming from the car. If your XK is dropping excessive amounts of oil why not get in touch to book an inspection. 


Jaguar XK140 oil leak

Jaguar XK150 restoration

Work continues at pace on this XK150 drophead restoration. With the door mechanisms in place the doors have been set up. Sound deadening and insulation has been installed throughout the car. This reduces the amount of heat coming in from the engine and exhausts as well as giving the car a much more solid and refined feel to drive. The hood wood is in place now and the hood fit has been rechecked since the body was off the chassis for paint. The rear wings will be fitted shortly along with the wing beading and the light units are being bolted in and wired up.
The dashboard wood is in the process of being trial fitted, altered and adjusted along with the chromes to ensure a perfect fit ahead of trimming. The battery boxes and splash panels have been bolted into place under the car with a generous coat of cavity wax applied first to minimise the risk of corrosion for decades to come.
Once we have finished fitting the external chromes parts, we will connect up the wiring, which was installed some weeks ago, and test all the electrical systems. Then the car will be put on its wheels and head through onto one of the mechanical ramps to be set up, started and tested before trimming.


Jaguar XK150 restoration