The summer months always bring a level of unpredictability for us in the workshop. With many of our customers away on tours or enjoying their cars over the summer months, we have less pre-booked work. This is generally welcomed as an opportunity to crack on with some restorations, which as you will see from this weeks’ update, we have been. What we also get is quite a lot of unexpected work and often new customers. With people out using their classic cars so much there are inevitably breakdowns or issues that arise which need immediate attention. We often find ourselves being recommended to other classic Jaguar owners when they experience problems on tours and we are always very grateful to our loyal customers for their kind words. We will always do our best to accommodate these jobs which require immediate attention. Few things give us more pleasure than getting someone back out on the road quickly to enjoy some summer motoring.
With the UK and Europe experiencing a heat wave, we are pushing our classic cars to their limits. Please do be sure to check your fluid levels before each trip and if you have an electric cooling fan be sure to check that is working as well. If nothing else, keep an eye on your temperature gauge!
In this weeks’ update, we look at two XK restorations, an E-Type restoration, an AC, one of the most successful touring XKs and more.
This Jaguar E-type has been brought in to us by our friends at Classic Travelling. For those unfamiliar with Classic Travelling, they offer motoring holidays and driving tours for classic, vintage and sports cars of all ages. They provide accompanied small group tours for between 10 and 20 cars on set dates throughout the year. They also offer independent tours for drivers wishing to travel at any time to suit. Their tours are meticulously planned with all the roads checked for suitability in advance so you can rely on having an enjoyable driving trip in your classic.
This E-Type was in with us due to a misfire which got worse when the car was hot. There was also an issue with the upgraded electric cooling fan which once up to operating temperature would flicker on and off rather than running continuously until the temperature came down. The misfire was quickly traced to a combination of HT leads breaking down and an ignition coil in the last throws of life. With these items attended to the car is once again running sweetly.
When investigating the fault with the electric cooling fan the issue was traced to the modern control unit mounted in the top hose just above the distributor. When testing this it was found that there was a lot of interference. This interference was caused by the old HT leads. With the HT leads replaced the fan operated perfectly showing that the electromagnetic interference being created by the old HT leads was interfering with the fan control unit.
If you are in the market for an XK we probably offer a wider range of XKs all in one place than any other dealer. From XK120 OTS to XK150 FHC we have a great variety in stock at the moment. Be it a completely standard car or something modified and upgraded for modern touring we are likely to be able to cater for your needs. Even if we don’t currently have exactly what you are looking for in stock it is always worth visiting us to discuss your needs. Between our showroom and workshops, we have up to 25 cars on site offering an unparalleled opportunity to view and compare different models and specifications in the flesh. If you are looking for something specific our network of contacts in the industry will often allow us to source the right car for you. We also offer an inspection service on cars offered for sale elsewhere.
Whether you are ready to buy or in the very earliest stages of considering an XK please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to share our knowledge, advice and guidance to help you choose the right model and specification for your needs.
Those of you who regularly follow these posts will know that we always try to squeeze something non-Jaguar into our updates. On this occasion, we have this exceptionally rare AC Brooklands Ace which visited on its way to be delivered to a new owner to have an electric window fault repaired.
The AC Brooklands Ace was launched in 1993 having started its life with the 1986 “Ace of Spades” concept car. The wonderful cars were aluminium bodied and were powered by the 5-litre Ford V8 engine shared with the AC Cobra. Although they were extremely striking cars to look at and fantastic to drive, most of the switch gear was shared with inexpensive Fords of the era which did rather cheapen the interior feel. Only 46 cars were produced between 1993 and 1996 when AC Cars, unfortunately, went into receivership. The car was redesigned and relaunched in 1997 however only a further 12 cars were produced.
As if this car wasn’t rare and special enough it is chassis number 1 of 46. The new owner really is getting a very special piece of British motoring history and we think these are great little cars. Indeed, our director was one of the original 46 owners of a Brooklands Ace so we remember these cars rather fondly.
Pictured here is the front suspension being rebuilt on a Jaguar XK150. This setup is identical to an XK140 and, other than slightly different top arms, the same as an XK120. Though the XKs most notable feature was the incredible XK straight six engine, this front suspension set-up was another secret of its success. Compared to other cars of the era this really was advanced and the use of wishbones, ball joints and telescopic shock absorbers created cars which offered a combination of comfort and handling which remains impressive to this day.
This suspension set-up does however have a couple of weak spots which can require some attention and this car was just such an example. Where the wishbones bolt onto the underside of the chassis is a known spot for XKs to rust. XK chassis are generally very robust and don’t suffer badly from corrosion but this spot is worth looking out for. Fortunately, with the correct jig to align everything, it is fairly easy to repair corrosion in this area as has been done on this car.
The other thing that compromises XK suspension is worn and perished suspension bushes. The old rubber bushes break down with age and this can be made worse if they have got overspray on them from the car being painted. This car has had the suspension rebuilt with freshly powder-coated parts and polyurethane bushes.
In our previous update, we promised to share more on the progress of this Jaguar E-Type restoration. This car is a 4.2 Series 1 OTS. It was a running and driving car when the restoration started and as such is wonderfully complete. The car had been restored in the 1970s and the work had been done well, however, there were several issues with the paint so the decision was taken to strip the car right back and start again. Fortunately, under the paint, the body was in very good condition so very little work was required on this wonderfully original car.
A few weeks ago, we shared a photo of the rebuilt engine waiting to go in. Before that can be fitted, we need to get the body off of the paint jig and back onto its wheels so work has begun building up the suspension. All the parts to rebuild the car were stripped down, cleaned, repaired and prepared as required ahead of time. The rear subframe has been rebuilt and is almost ready to fit. The owner has chosen to have uprated brake callipers and an improved handbrake system fitted so we are just waiting for those parts to arrive before the subframe can be fitted. For those of you who know E-Types, you will be aware that the handbrakes leave something to be desired so this upgrade is well worthwhile.
We featured this Jaguar XK120 roadster or OTS restoration a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the work on the bodyshell has been complete. Much work has gone into making this body ready for paint and the owner asked for some additional work with a view to bringing the car to his desired specification. We have created an extended footwell on the drivers’ side to accommodate a pedal box making the car more comfortable for taller drivers. Those of you who have driven a standard XK120 will know that space is at a premium. We have also converted the car from left to right-hand drive. Finally, as can be seen on the front of the chassis, we have converted this XK120 from the original steering box to rack and pinion steering. This is a great upgrade on an XK120 and effectively brings them up to the same specification as the XK140 and XK150.
With the bodywork complete the body can be lifted off the chassis and put on one of our custom-made painting frames. This allows better access and movement for the bodyshell to be properly painted. Most of the strength in an XK comes from the chassis so it is vital when lifting the body off of an XK that the bodyshell is properly braced. There is not enough strength in the sills alone to stop the body from flexing. With the body lifted off the chassis can be pushed out and the body will then be lowered onto and secured to the painting frame.
This Jaguar XK150 drophead coupe has been undergoing a full nut and bolt restoration with us for some months now. The car has previously been started and driven to ensure all the mechanicals are operating properly and has since been trimmed. The car is now looking stunning with its blue hood and grey interior. Although it now looks very nearly complete there are still many detailed jobs to be done before the car is finished.
The hood chromes have been carefully shaped and fitted in bare brass and will now be sent to be chromed. This is the only way to ensure the best possible fit. Now that the hood has been trimmed and is under tension the windows can be fitted and set up for a final time. Again, this is the only way to ensure that they operate properly, fit well and keep the weather out. The windscreen chromes are currently in the process of being fitted along with any number of other small finishing trim items. Once all this fiddley work has been completed the car will once again go into the main workshop for a final check though, set up and road testing. All this takes time but we believe this is time well spent to ensure the best possible finished product.
This Jaguar XK140 drophead coupe has probably covered more miles all over the world than any other XK. If you were to include the miles it has covered in shipping containers travelling to far-flung destinations it has possibly covered more miles than most cars. The car has tackled challenges around the world as far afield as Myanmar (formally Burma), South America and Africa as well as many more relaxed tours closer to home. We have cared for this wonderful XK for many years and it is a matter of great pride that the owner continues to trust us with a classic car which clearly has such need of reliability. It is also paramount that this car is more robust than your average XK as some of the terrain and conditions it encounters are truly challenging. It is a testament to the owner’s fortitude and mechanical sympathy that the car has made it through some truly intense challenges including excessively dusty desert roads, rocky dirt tracks and extreme altitude which causes the car to run rich due to the lack of oxygen.
To make it reliable for these kinds of challenges the car has been extensively upgraded and improved over the years with much guidance and input from the owner who is best placed to know what is required for these kinds of events. The car features everything from a 3.8-litre fast road engine to a custom-made sump guard. The electrics have been improved for reliability and the car features custom switch gear to the owners’ specification. Everything has been done with a view to reliability and also to ensure that the car can easily be worked on and repaired anywhere in the world.