New building, old cars - Workshop update

It has been a couple of months since we last published one of these updates. Building work followed by moving from our old workshop into our new workshop was rather time-consuming. It was then imperative that we all focused our efforts on establishing the new workshop and working on cars. Since then, we have been sharing articles about the new workshop showing what we have to offer. I am pleased to say we are now settled into the new workshop and we hope to be back to putting out these updates every few weeks. If there is anything you would like to see more of, please do get in touch and we will try to put it into future updates.
In this week’s update, we look at XK restoration work, carburettor rebuilds, a V12 E-Type, an Aston Martin DB2/4 and a Gordon-Keeble.

Classic Jaguar Workshop Havant

Jaguar XK120 OTS restoration

This Jaguar XK120 OTS is currently undergoing full nut and bolt restoration. The owner initially gave us the car to carry out body and chassis repairs with the intention of completing the project himself but was so impressed by our work he entrusted us with more of the rebuild. 
To date, we have completed the chassis and body repairs, had the body and chassis painted and built up the chassis with a number of upgrades fitted along the way and reunited the body and chassis ready for the next stage of the build. The goal is the create a very usable XK120 so the owner has opted to have our rack and pinion steering upgrade, five-speed gearbox, disc brakes and a few other tweaks made. The next stage for this car will be to start to run in the wiring and fit the chrome.
If you are interested in a full restoration or require assistance with any aspect of your home restoration please do not hesitate to get in touch. It is always a pleasure to help fellow enthusiasts to return these wonderful cars to top condition.


Jaguar XK120 restoration

Aston Martin DB2/4 MK3

Amongst the Jaguars in the workshop, there are always a few other marques which sneak in. Here is a rather lovely Aston Martin DB2/4 MK3 though I believe they are more commonly known as the DB MK3. These lovely cars were the first Aston Martin the feature that iconic grille shape which went on to be fitted to the DB5. Produced between 1957 and 1959 they would have been direct competitors to the Jaguar XK150 and although they are very attractive the engineering in the Aston was a decade behind that of the XK. The telescopic shock absorbers and rack and pinion steering of the XK150 really do make it feel like a much more refined and modern vehicle to drive when compared directly to the DB 2/4.
This lovely example was in for a service along with a few upgrades to make it more usable. The addition of electric power steering has really improved the practicality of this car making it much easier to manage at low speed. A dynator has been fitted to improve the charging system but leaves the engine bay looking standard. Finally, the owner felt the car was too noisy so some new exhaust silencers have been fitted to give the car a more refined feel.


Aston Martin DB2/4

SU Carburettor rebuild

A week or two ago we shared a post showing off our new cleaning and blasting machines. Since then, they have been put to good use for any number of projects. Pictured here is the before and after shot of a 2-inch SU carburettor which we recently rebuilt. This carburettor is one of a pair destined to be fitted to a fast road specification engine which we have just rebuilt for an XK140 drophead coupe. The XK140 in question is undergoing a full restoration and we will share more of this car in the coming weeks and months.
As can be seen from the photos these carburettors were in a sorry state. They were stripped and then all the components were cleaned in our degreasing tank. After that, they were blasted in our vapour blaster before being cleaned again to ensure there was no media left in the components. With everything clean and looking nearly new, the carburettors were rebuilt using new components where required. The floats and seals have been upgraded to ethanol-resistant materials meaning that modern fuels can be used without any fear of damage.
If the carburettors on your classic have seen better days and need a rebuild, Jaguar or not, please do get in touch and they will look as good as this in no time.


SU carburettor rebuild

V12 E-Type

We have said it before but we love a Series 3 E-Type. They are a very different creature to the Series 1 and even the Series 2 which were true sports cars. As the E-Type got on in life one could say middle age spread occurred and the car got bigger along with receiving a larger engine. As a result of this, the V12 E-Type is much more of a GT or a boulevard cruiser than it is a sportscar and when viewed as such it is a truly magnificent car.
This E-Type has been in the same family from new and as such has wonderful sentimental value and is exceptionally original. Unfortunately, whilst out for a sunny spring drive it failed to proceed so was recovered here on a Saturday morning. As is so often the way once the car was with us it started and ran without issue. A swift investigation ensued and we found that as the car got hotter the spark became weaker until the engine would no longer run.
Normally these symptoms would indicate a faulty coil or condenser but the Series 3 E-Type has a very early form of electric ignition fitted. In this case, it turned out to be the control module which had failed. With a new ignition system installed this E-Type is once again fighting fit and ready for a summer or enjoyment.


Jaguar E-Type Series 3

Jaguar XK140 hood chromes

We shared photos of this XK140 in a previous post when we were still in our old workshop. At the time we were setting up the hood frame and fitting and shaping the hood wood ready for the hood to be trimmed. It is vital that the hood frame and wood are set up properly before going ahead with the trim. Ensuring the hood fits properly above the windscreen and that the windows meet the top edge of the hood frame nicely is difficult and time-consuming work. It is also important to ensure that the doors open and close properly with the hood both up and down. It may come as a surprise to some how much movement there can be in the bodyshell of an XK but the vast majority of the strength on an XK is in the chassis, not the body, so if the hood frame is under too much tension it can pull the door shuts together.
Since then, the hood has been trimmed in this stunning burgundy colour which we think looks great with the white paint. The finishing touch is to fit the hood chromes. These are trial fitted and shaped in base brass to ensure they give the perfect fit before being chromed ready to give a perfect finish.


Jaguar XK140 hood chromes


We are making a bit of a name for ourselves working on Gordon-Keebles. Indeed, this example belongs to the President of the Owners’ Club. With no marque specialist out there and as we learn more about these cars from working on them, we are quickly becoming Gordon-Keeble experts. These are exceptionally rare cars with just 100 produced so it is an honour to be trusted with them. Gordon-Keeble was founded by John Gordon, formerly of Peerless, and Jim Keeble in 1959. The car is based on a square-tube steel spaceframe chassis with independent front suspension, all-round disc brakes and a Chevrolet V8 engine. The prototype body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and built by Bertone in Italy however when the car went into production the body was changed from steel to glass fibre and produced in the UK. Only 100 cars were produced between 1964 and 1967 in which time production was moved from Slough, to Eastleigh and then finally Southampton.
The marque is notable for having a tortoise on its badge. This is reputed to be because, during a photo shoot for the cars, a pet tortoise walked into the shot. It was felt that the irony of a slow tortoise made it an appropriate bonnet emblem.


Gordone-Keeble specialist

Jaguar XK150 chassis repairs

This Jaguar XK150 OTS has spent some years off the road and was in to be recommissioned for use. It is a rather lovely and original car but in need of a good deal of tlc. Although XKs do not fundamentally suffer from any particular or severe rust problems like all classic cars they can succumb to tin worm over the years. When these cars were first produced, I do not believe it was ever thought that they would still be in use 70 years on and the rust protection given to them was limited. In many cases, if you could not see a part of the car, it was not painted. These days of course we take a very different approach and paint, protect and wax every cavity of our full restorations.
When inspecting and servicing this XK we found that there was significant corrosion where the front suspension mounts to the chassis. With the car up on the ramp in our fabrication workshop, the suspension was removed to ascertain the extent of the corrosion. We found that both the suspension mounts and the anti-roll bar mounts were no longer fit for purpose so these sections of the chassis were cut out back to good metal and new sections welded into place.


Jaguar XK150 chassis repairs

Jaguar MKII Saloon

These Jaguar saloons are truly magnificent cars. From the MK1 through the S-Type, MK10 and all the way up to the XJ series, these sporting saloons really do offer a wonderful combination of performance and practicality. The engineering that went into these cars was truly advanced at the time. Taking the magnificent XK engine and putting it into a ground-breaking monocoque-designed body with wonderfully advanced suspension was a work of genius. They can also be rather challenging to look after. Subframe and suspension bushes in particular are often overlooked and can really compromise the ride and handling of these cars.
This example has been in storage with us since before the pandemic. The owner was ready to have their car back and get some use from it this year so we collected it from our local storage facility by our trailer and brought it safely to the workshop. With it here the car was thoroughly inspected and serviced ready to get back onto the road. On this occasion, little work was required other than some attention to the brakes and a tune-up. It is vitally important when bringing a car out of storage to check it over properly before heading out on the road. It is always wise to pay attention to the braking system along with rubber components such as fuel lines, coolant hoses and tyres.


Jaguar MK2 Saloon

Jaguar XK150 servicing

Here we have a lovely Jaguar XK150 fixedhead coupe which is an annual visitor to us for servicing. We believe that the XK150 FHC offers a wonderful combination of practicality and value amongst the XK range. Though it doesn’t provide the open-top motoring experience which many desire from a classic car it makes up for it by being a wonderfully comfortable and refined car.
Finished in Pearl Grey with Red leather interior this car oozes 1950s charm and class. The addition of black painted wire wheels gives it an understated yet purposeful look. As you can probably tell we have a particular fondness for this car.
This year, along with a full service with fresh oil, filter and spark plugs, this car required a couple of new brake cylinders. Although XK150s have disc brakes all around the brake cylinders unbolt from the callipers unlike on more modern cars. We prefer the change these as full axle sets to ensure even breaking across the board.
With summer almost upon us we are very busy in the workshop with servicing work. If your classic Jaguar is in need to attention before summer motoring please do get in touch.


Jaguar XK150 servicing