Despite consistent sub-zero temperatures all week we have had little more than a light flurry of snow down in sunny Hampshire. Whether this lack of snow is good or bad news seems to very much depend on which member of our staff you ask and seems to have a strong correlation to whether on not they have young children. Regardless of where you stand on the snow debate it certainly makes it easier to do business if the roads are clear so we're counting ourselves lucky. It is however still jolly cold in the workshop and even with the space heater working overtime there are some pretty cool cats here at the moment. Roll on spring!
In this weeks' update we take a look at progress on an XK150 restoration, XK140 bucket seats, some changes to MOT laws which may affect classic car owners and much more.
Now that we have left the European Union, we are able to set our own rules vehicle inspections. The government are wasting no time in setting out their own rules and released a set of updates on the 11th of January 2021. Although Jaguar XKs and E-Types do not technically have to be MOT'd as they are over 40 years old, we still recommend our customers have their cars MOT'd annually. We have heard a number of tales of people coming unstuck with their insurance companies as their car was not MOT'd when some disaster struck. What's more, a car should be able to pass an MOT in order to be considered road legal even if you do not intend to put it thought the test.
The specific change which may affect many classic cars is that it is no longer legal fit LED bulbs into existing headlight units. The relevant paragraph is 4.1.4. of the MOT inspection manual which can be found on the government website. This means that if you wish to upgrade your headlights to LEDs you have to replace the whole headlight unit with one designed to use LEDs.
We've shown this pair of bucket seats a few times in these updates, from bare shells being padded up to suit the driver and passengers, to being beautifully trimmed. We have now had the car in for its annual service and to have the seats finally fitted. The finished product looks great and is such an improvement in terms of comfort, particularly for the passenger on a long journey. These bucket seats provide much more support and can be positioned as far forward or back as the driver or passenger require to ensure the most comfortable possible driving position. These bucket seats fit in the car with no modification to the structure of the car or the original seats. This means the original seats can be removed and stored so that if the car is ever sold or needs to be returned to standard you simply bolt the original seats back in.
This lovely series 1 Jaguar E-Type roadster is in with us of an annual service, check over and MOT. This is a lovely early 3.8 litre model, though not a 'flat floor'. We are seeing an influx of cars getting ready for the driving season ahead of the Spring. With luck, restrictions will ease enough in the coming months that we will all be able to get out and enjoy our classics. What better way to enjoy a great British staycation than to get out in your cherished classic car?
If your car has been in storage over the winter, or perhaps even longer with all the disruptions we had last year, be sure to check it over carefully before getting back out onto the read. Perished tyres, hoses or brake seals can be a real danger after long periods of inactivity. If you would like to book your car in for a check over or service please do get in touch.
We were doing a few electrical jobs on this Jaguar XK150 and thought having the dash front off was too good an opportunity not to share with you all. In terms of design the XK150 is sometimes viewed as being a less curvy version of the XK120 and XK140 without much material difference. This however is simply not the case and the XK150 was a significant step forward in engineering for Jaguar and was in many ways a true forerunner to the E-Type. The biggest leap forward that the XK150 took was four-wheel disc brakes but there are countless other small details that set the XK150 apart from its predecessors. One of these is the lovely dashboard seen here. On previous XK models that whole dashboard had to be removed (wood, gauges, wiring and all) and then totally dismantled to change a single switch. The XK150 design is so much more refined and user-friendly with the dashboard front being removable providing access to all the switches and gauges.
We looked at this XK150 a couple of weeks ago when work was just starting on the rear hood bow and the hood frame was being prepared to be fitted. Pictured here is progress a few days later (sorry there wasn't room to squeeze it into last weeks update). As can be seen all the door furniture has been fitted along with the windows and window frames. The hood frame has been fitted and had all its wood attached. The frame, hood wood, bodyshell and window frames are then adjusted and/or altered to ensure everything fits perfectly. This should provide a good seal against any water ingress, with hood and window operation. This is also the best opportunity you have to ensure all your door gaps look good. All this is done at this stage before the car is painted to avoid any drastic and potentially costly alterations having to be made after paint.
This months Octane Magazine has a wonderful feature by our long-time friend Robert Coucher on his Jaguar XK140 fixedhead. Robert is the international editor of Octane Magazine, was the founding editor of Octane and is a life long classic car enthusiast. He uses his Jaguar XK140 as his regular transport in London; so having a properly sorted and reliable car is essential. We have carried out a lot of upgrades to his XK over the years including fitting an alternator, cooling fan, 123 electronic ignition and much more. In this weeks article he looks at the uprated timing chain tensioner we fitted to the car. Pop out and pick up a copy and remember there will be further updates on the work we carried out on his car in future Octane issues.