It has been rather an unusual and jampacked couple of weeks. We were all saddened to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Her service to this country has been inspiring and our thoughts remain with the Royal Family. We also wish King Charles III all the very best. It is really quite incredible to think that Queen Elizabeth came to the throne before most of the cars we work on here were originally built.
We have also been at the Goodwood Revival, and what a year it was. Please visit the news section of our website for a full report on our weekend at Goodwood. Despite the Revival taking up much of our time and attention, the good work from the chaps in our workshop must continue and as such we have much progress to share with you.
In this weeks’ update, we look at a couple of E-Types, a couple of leaking gearboxes, an XK120 engine rebuilt and more.
This Jaguar XK140 drophead coupe restoration was finished last year. It was restored to a highly upgraded specification featuring everything from a fast road engine and five-speed gearbox to air-conditioning and a hidden stereo system. The car has now covered a few hundred miles and is ready for its first service, thorough check over and rolling road tune. We carry out this work on all of our fully restored cars after they have been completed and the owner has driven the cars for a while. It gives the owner the opportunity to have any subtle adjustments they require made to the car once they have got to know it. It also allows us to attend to the inevitable minor snagging items which you get after carrying out a full nut and bolt restoration.
We will check the car through to ensure nothing has come loose, set up the suspension again as this will inevitably have settled, retorque the cylinder head and change the oil. The car can then head off for a final tune-up and a power run on the rolling road. Any other items the customer requires or which we identified can then be attended to before the car is given a final clean and detail ready to be returned to its owner for many years of enjoyment.
This beautiful Series 1 E-Type has recently been shipped over from the US where it had been restored to a beautiful standard. Being an early 3.8-litre car, it remains positive earth, though it has been upgraded with a positive earth dynator (an alternator disguised as the original dynamo) along with a number of other subtle upgrades to improve reliability.
The car has been brought to us to be converted from left to right-hand drive for use in the UK. This is a conversion we are well practised in undertaking on XK where it is rather an involved process. An E-Type by comparison is rather more straightforward as by design the bodyshells were made in the factory to be able to be built up either right or left-hand drive.
The steering rack was removed and converted from left to right and the steering column moved across. New end sections of the dashboard were fitted to move the rev counter and speedo to the opposite side of the car and the wiring behind the dashboard was altered accordingly. New pedals were fitted on the right-hand side and the throttle linkage and hydraulic pipework were altered to suit. Finally, new blanking plates were painted and fitted to cover the holes left on the lefthand side of the car.
If you are interested in having your XK or E-Type converted from left to right-hand drive please do get in touch for a quote.
When last we showed this XK120 OTS it was a pile of parts and boxes waiting to be assembled. With the chassis build-up complete, our fabricator is now starting to get to grips with the car. The first job was to alter the chassis cross member to accommodate the new five-speed gearbox which is now snugly in position. Next, it was time to start on the bodyshell itself.
The bodywork on these cars is as much art as it is engineering. It requires a very specialised skill set as well as a mindset. Patience is key and one has to remember there are few straight lines to work from. It is as much about making the car look right as it is getting things perfectly square. The starting point is to fit the sills. From there the front end can be fitted onto the chassis, adjusted into position and attached to the sills. Next, the doors were fabricated and spaced to fit the front end of the car. The doors have now been hung as you can see from the photo and work on the rear end can begin.
This Jaguar XK120 has just arrived with us from Europe. The new owner lives locally to us and we were able to help advise him when he was purchasing the car from the Continent. Along with our transport partners, we helped the owner arrange transportation and import the car, ensuring that all the correct paperwork and duties were paid without incurring any unnecessary costs.
With the car safely with us in the UK, we are now setting about carrying out some minor work to ready for the car to be registered and put on the road. We will shortly be putting the car through an MOT inspection which helps to get paperwork to register the car in the UK. We will also be attending to some minor details that the new owner wants such as fitting a leather bonnet strap.
If you are looking to import or export a car or need high-quality transportation, inside or outside the UK, please do get in touch. We are able to offer a number of transport solutions ranging from our open or covered trailers to covered car transporters and shipping containers.
We have been trying to follow this Series 1 4.2 E-Type restoration every step of the way. The last update we shared showed the bonnet of the car being built up. Before that, we shared an image of the car up still on its paint trolly with the front subframe and suspension being built up. Much progress has been made since then. The front suspension has been completed and the rear subframe has been fitted along with its uprated handbrake system. Those who have lived with an E-Type will recognise how worthwhile an improved handbrake is on these cars.
With the car back on the ground and on its wheels, we were awaiting the arrival of the new five-speed gearbox. This has now been connected to the fully rebuilt, fast-road engine and carefully fitted to the car. Some alteration of the gearbox and prop shaft tunnel is required to fit the five-speed gearbox. Once these are completed and the trim is fitted in the car the appearance is completely original and the gear stick still comes out in the same location.
With the engine and gearbox in it feels like the car has taken a real leap forward. We can’t wait to share more progress with you over the coming months.
We enjoy sharing quirky and unusual modifications (or even the occasional bodges) which have been carried out on cars. Being so old many of these cars have passed through numerous hands and some owners or mechanics have some very unusual ideas.
This week we came across this rather unorthodox solution to a leaking gearbox. Rather than remove and repair the gearbox properly someone has gone to quite some effort to fabricate this lovely drip tray. The fabrication and bracketry itself have actually been done rather nicely and it is a well-made solution. It does however make one wonder why you would go to such extensive efforts rather than just fixing the oil leak. The whole thing is rather reminiscent of some of the pre-war, total loss oil systems. ‘….but what happens when it is full!?’ I hear you cry? Well, they have thought of this and lined the drip tray with rags to soak up the oil and stop it from sloshing out. We are not convinced that having oil-soaked rags located near the exhaust is necessarily ideal but it seems to have been ok so far. We will of course be letting the owner know they have this charming bit of hardware under their car and offering to remove it if they so wish.
This XK120 has been subject to extensive restoration by the owner. As can be seen, the work has been carried out beautifully resulting in a lovely bodyshell and paint finish. The owner only ran into problems with the restoration when he came to rebuild the engine. Having had a number of setbacks the owner approached us to rebuild the engine. We are always delighted to help fellow classic car enthusiasts complete their projects, so were more than happy to rebuild the engine.
In the case of this XK120, it is not the original engine but instead, an uprated 3.8-litre unit fitted with twin 2” sand cast SU carburettors. We were able to rebuild the engine to the owner’s desired specification and they were so pleased with our work they asked us to install the engine in the car and get it running for them. With our car trailer and Land Rover we collected the car from the owner’s home and transported it safely to our workshops to have the engine and gearbox installed. Due to the non-standard engine and carburettor arrangement, there were a number of clearance issues including the carburettors fouling the steering column but we were able to resolve these.
The XK150 pictured here is a rather rare original 3.8 S. It is a beautifully restored car and here with us to have a few minor faults attended to. Amongst these was a fairly bad oil leak from the gearbox. Initially, the leak had been thought to be coming from the rear main oil seal on the engine as the oil was coming out from the bottom of the bell housing and this is a common fault with XKs. Unfortunately, a rear main oil seal leak is also a significant amount of work to resolve. Careful monitoring of the oil levels actually showed that it was the gearbox which was losing oil.
The gearbox was removed from the car and the source of the leak was traced to a missing bung at the end of the layshaft. With the gearbox removed we also attended to a number of other minor oil leaks from the box. With these resolved the car now appears to be keeping its oil where it should be. Moreover, by taking the time to properly investigate the origin of the oil leak much time and cost were saved for the owner.