It is fairly rare for us to have a full complement of nothing other than Jaguars in the workshop but the last couple of weeks has seen us with a lovely mix of XKs and E-Types. In fact, as I write this there is almost exactly a fifty, fifty mix of E-Types and XKs out there. The workshop continues to be very busy and it is about to get even busier with our annual influx of work to prepare cars for the spring and summer.
We are going to be making a very exciting announcement later this month so please keep an eye on our social media and website for updates. You can also sign up for our mailing list by clicking here.
In this week’s update, we look at both an XK140 and an E-Type being prepped for motorsport, we talk art and engineering in 1950s Jaguars, we discuss gearbox rebuilds and much more.
We recently sourced this lovely Jaguar XK140 OTS for its new owner. Although we didn’t have a car which met this customer’s specific needs in the showroom, we were able to find him just what he was looking for in the form of this roadster. It was restored immaculately a few years ago and has been expertly maintained since.
The new owner had a very specific set of requirements as this car will be taking part in a rather prestigious rally. We are now setting about preparing the car for rallying and adding a few essential bits of equipment such as a Brantz rally meter and map light for the navigator. Beyond that it is really just a case of ensuring the car will be as reliable as possible. The performance an XK can provide makes them very competitive in most historic events without the need for extensive modification. We will bring you more news on this car and how it gets on later in the year.
A poor gear change can really let down an otherwise lovely car. We offer a range of options to remedy your gearbox-related woes. For those of you looking for something a little slicker, more modern and to give your classic car longer legs we have our tried and tested five-speed gearbox upgrades.
For those of you who enjoy the feel of the original gearbox (I count myself amongst you) or for whom originality is important we rebuild gearboxes in-house. Gears for the Moss gearboxes fitted to XKs and early E-Types cannot be replaced however all the other components are available. We also have developed a process with an engineering firm to replace worn synchro’s on original Moss gears so can rebuild them so they are as good as new.
Pictured here is an “all-synchro” gearbox from a 4.2 E-Type which is currently in with us for a mechanical refresh. The gearbox was in a bad way and really ruined the driver’s experience. Fortunately, all the gears were saveable and with everything refreshed this gearbox will be back in the car and ready for an enjoyable driving experience this spring.
This Jaguar E-Type is an out-and-out racer and has competed in some prestigious events. Currently, the car is used for track days and is often driven to and from events by its owner. As such, we spent some time a couple of years ago ensuring the car was both legal and safe to drive on the road. It is still a very competitive track car despite this and so remains rather harsh for road use.
On this visit, the car is with us for a rolling road tune to try to remedy a flat spot around 2000 rpm. This car is running triple twin-choke Weber carburettors which are undoubtedly the best option to get the most power out of an XK engine. However, they do require more regular adjustments to keep them in tune.
We were also investigating a fuel smell in the cabin. The smell was traced to a leak within the fuel cell fitted in the rear of the car. It is a bag-type unit fitted in an aluminium box which required the whole unit to be removed and stripped for investigation. We feared that the bag may have somehow become damaged from years of use but were pleased to find that it was simply a failed seal on the fuel sender unit.
This chassis belongs to a Jaguar XK120 OTS or “roadster”. We have featured the bodyshell in previous posts where we showed the pedal box being fitted amongst other things. We are assisting the owner with the restoration of the car which he will be completing himself. We will be returning the car to him with the painted bodyshell fitted to the built-up chassis ready for him to do all the final fitting and get running.
The chassis has already had all necessary repair work done. It has also been upgraded to take rack and pinion steering and rear telescopic shock absorbers bringing it up to XK140/XK150 specification. These upgrades make such a difference to an XK120 and really modernise the driving experience. It has now been cleaned, treated and painted to offer decades of protection. We believe that classic cars should be used so we ensure that they are protected well enough that you don’t have to live in fear of wet roads.
The chassis will now be built up with its suspension ready for the bodyshell to be fitted. After that the rolling project can be delivered back to its owner to be finished off. We will then assist with final checks and commissioning at the end of the project.
This beautiful 4.2 litre Series 1 E-Type Coupe is a new visitor to us though it lives locally so we hope it will become an annual visitor for servicing. It is in with us for a few electrical improvements and a check over. We will be replacing the headlight units, fitting a hazard light switch and investigating an intermittent charging fault. Intermittent faults are always challenging as you can be fairly certain that as soon as the car arrives in the workshop the fault will go away and it won’t reoccur until the customer collects the car again. To avoid this, we endeavour to investigate and test cars thoroughly including road testing.
We may be going out on a limb here but the 4.2 coupe is our favourite of the various version of the E-Types. The coupe shape is undeniably stunning. This combined with the early enclosed headlights and indicators make this a visual feast. Mechanically the 4.2-litre engine combined with the all-synchro gearbox gives it an edge over the earlier 3.8-litre E-Types to drive even if the 4.2 isn’t as collectable. Finally, these coupes are immensely practical with plenty of luggage space. We have one local customer who brings their bicycle in the boot to cycle home when they drop their E-Type off with us each year.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Jaguar seamlessly combined art with engineering. This era of cars was both stunning to drive and look at and this carried on through every element of the cars. The XK engine is an example of this. The revolutionary twin overhead cam engine was designed and developed by the Jaguar/SS team during the Second World War when the Jaguar factory was being used for the war effort. The aim was to produce an engine which produced higher than normal output so would be able to outperform the completion for many years to come and which ‘looked good’. It was then launched in 1948 in the first prototype XK120 at the London Motor Show and the engine delivered on all counts.
The performance from an XK engine was incredible for the time and even a 3.4 litre powered car remains swift by modern motoring standards. The engine was such a success it remained in production in various forms all the way up to 1992. It also looks stunning in the engine bay, particularly with the smooth cam covers fitted to XKs and early E-Type.
Pictured here is the rather attractive cylinder head of an XK150 engine which is currently being rebuilt in the workshop. It is all assembled and ready to be fitted to the bottom end but we felt it looked so nice sitting on its stands we should share an image with you.