Swallow, SS and Jaguar celebration at Brooklands – Workshop update

The dust has now settled since the Swallow/SS/Jaguar celebration put on by the Jaguar Drivers’ Club at Brooklands last weekend. This event was to celebrate 100 years since the foundation of the company which went on to become Jaguar.
Despite fairly poor weather the event was a wonderful day which was a testament to both the organisation of the show and the fortitude of the Jaguar owners who braved the rain; particularly those who attended in open top cars. I had the great pleasure of driving a fully restored XK120 OTS for the day and despite getting a tad damp I thoroughly enjoyed the drive! With something in the region of 900 vehicles in attendance, from Swallow side cars, though little Swallow bodied Austin’s and SS cars all the way to modern Jaguars the show was a great succuss by any measure.
We would like to thank the Jaguar Drivers’ Club and in particular Michael Ballard and Jamie Edwards for all the hard work they put in to create such a wonderful show. See the news section of our website for a photo gallery of shots from both the show and the visit to the Robert Lewis collection the club organised as part of the weekend.
In this weeks’ update we look at a nice pair of SS cars, check in with some restoration work and have an Aston Martin make a guest appearance in the workshops.

Jaguar Swallow Centenary celebration at Brooklands

Jaguars at Brooklands

SS1 and SS100

On the subject of SS and pre-war Jaguars we recently had an opportunity to get these two stunners together on the forecourt. Pictured on the left is the lovely SS100 which we featured in a previous update. It has been brought out of our store where it had been safely tucked away for winter, checked through in the workshop and prepared for a busy summer season of use. It is always a worthwhile exercise giving a classic car a thorough check through after winter storage. Long periods without use can result in a number of issues, particularly with hydraulic or fuel systems.
To the right is a rather grand SS1 tourer. By comparison to the SS100, the SS1 is a much more civilised car and a really rather magnificent way for four people to travel in style. This car was featured some months ago when we had recovered it from long term storage and were working to make it roadworthy again. With that work complete the car is now ready to leave us and find a new home.

SS1 and SS100 at Twyford Moors

Jaguar XK140 fully restored

Last week we had our XK140 demonstrator in the workshop to be prepared for the Jaguar/SS show at Brooklands. RGW 498 (or ‘Reggie’ as we call him) was built on the 19th of May 1955 at the Jaguar Browns Lane factory and was originally finished in ‘Suede Green’ with a ‘French Grey’ hood. Little is known of the cars life prior to restoration but we do have one rather tantalising photograph of it competing in some kind of motorsport event in the 1950’s or 1960’s.
Reggie was fully restored here at Twyford Moors and used as a show car during the process. During the restoration the car was returned to its original and rather charming 1950’s colour scheme. Although the car was returned to an original look it was built as a demonstrator and with a view to taking part in tours and rallies. As such this XK features many upgrades to make it more reliable and easier to use including a five-speed gearbox, electric power steering and front disc brakes.
Since the restoration was competed in 2016 the car has taken part in many events and shows including the XK Club Round Britain Coastal drive; our restorations are built to be used!


Jaguar XK140 fully restoed

Jaguar XK140 five-speed gearbox

Pictured here is a five-speed gearbox which we have just fitted to an XK140 OTS. The latest gearboxes we use are sourced from the early Toyota Supra and are ideally suited to XKs. The gear ratios are just right in an XK and provide for very comfortable cruising at motorway speeds. They are smooth and easy to use whilst retaining enough of a mechanical feel not to feel out of place or too modern as you drive. The gearstick remains in the same location and can even be fitted with the original gear knob if you so wish leaving the interior looking completely standard. These gearboxes are robust, reliable and really transform the way an XK drives when compared to an original Moss gearbox. They can be fitted to XK120s (although some modification of the chassis cross member is required), XK140s, XK150s and E-Types. Another bonus with this gearbox conversion compared to the original overdrive gearboxes, is that they can be removed through the car so future clutch changes can be carried out without the need to remove the engine.
If an original gearbox is more your thing, we can of course rebuild original Moss gearboxes and overdrive units. We also offer rebuilds, upgrades and conversions for automatic gearboxes. Whatever your XK or E-Type gearbox problems or desires, we have you covered so please get in touch.


Jaguar XK140 five-speed gearbox conversion

Jaguar E-Type Series 3 ground clearance

This V12 Jaguar E-Type is in with us as it has been having ground clearance issues with the exhaust catching on even the smallest of speedbumps. This appears to be a fairly common issues with E-Types and particularly with the Series 3. It is partially due to their design as the exhaust has to hang quite low where it passes under the body. This is then made worse by tired and saggy exhaust mounts or old suspension springs and bushes causing the car to sit too low. The final piece of the puzzle is that we suspect speedbumps and other traffic calming obstacles are more common and more severe these days than they were when these cars were designed.
This E-Type is a classic case of having the whole car too low, measuring approximately 2” too low across the car. We will be fitting a new set of rear coil springs as pictured here to the car and then adjusting the front torsion bars up to get the car set back to the correct ride height. After that the suspension geometry can be reset to suit. With this work complete and an extra couple of inches clearance, the car with still have to be taken over speedbumps with care but the car should be able to clear most obstacles without too much trouble.


Jaguar E-Type Series 3 ground clearance

Aston-Martin DB2/4

This wonderful Aston Martin DB2/4 has been an annual visitor here for over five years now. We have got to know this interesting car rather well over those years and it is always a joy to see it back.
Sold in July 1955 this is one of 565 Mark I models however the keen Aston enthusiasts amongst you will notice that the front grill is not that of a Mark I. The first owner returned the car to Aston Martin on numerous occasions and in 1956 he had them fit what was to become the Mark III grill along with front disk brakes. The car has been fully restored but is very original throughout and with its unique period upgrades this has to be one of the most interesting DB2/4s out there.
On this occasion the car is visiting us earlier than its usual annual service and MOT visit as it has been suffering with binding brakes. The fault was traced to the master cylinder which is in the process of being replaced and so the car should once again be in fine fettle before too long.


Aston-Martin DB2/4

Let there be lights!

As promised, here’s another update on one of the Jaguar XK140 drophead coupes which we are currently restoring. When we last checked in with this project the chrome work had been fitted along with the windscreens and exhaust system. These new stainless steel exhaust systems are great with a six-branch manifold and catalytic converters. They look smart, provide better gas flow giving more power and they reduce tail pipe emissions. What’s not to like!?
The window frames and winder mechanisms have now been fitted to the doors along with the wooden door trims. All this takes a lot of care and many adjustments to ensure that the quarterlights and window will meet the windscreen and hood properly so they can open and close smoothly, seal properly to stop water coming in and look just right. The window glass will then be custom cut to provide the perfect fit. New under dash panels have been made out of aluminium rather than the original card. This stops them sagging over time and creates a nice crisp finish to the car’s interior.
As can be seen from the picture the electrics have been finished and everything has been connected up and tested. It is always great to get the point where the lights can be switched on and the car starts to come to life.


Jaguar XK140 nut and bolt restoration

Jaguar XK120 OTS windscreen

This XK120 OTS is in to have its drivers side windscreen glass replaced. The old glass had blown along the outer edge. This happens when moisture is able to get in-between the laminates of glass and causes it to become cloudy. This will usually start in a corner or an edge and gradually spread inwards. This problem occurs more with the OTS as the screen isn’t held in by a rubber around the edge but instead the chrome surround bolts together and has to be filled with sealant before each part is put in place. If there is a small gap in the sealant it can allow moisture to find its way in. Additionally, where the frame bolts together if the screen is not the correct shape or the screws are slightly too long this can damage the edge of the glass and allow moisture in.
With the old glass removed this can be used as a pattern for a new screen to be made with a slight alteration to try to avoid the same fault happening again. With the new glass ready everything will be sealed up and reassembled ready to be returned to the customer who can finally enjoy a clear view out of the windscreen.


Jaguar XK120 OTS windscreen replacement

Jaguar E-Type restoration

This Series 1 E-Type has just come to the end of a full nut and bolt restoration. The owner restored the car himself and we have to say he has done a first-class job. The car has been well put together mechanically, electrically and cosmetically. The paintwork is lovely and the panel fit is great.
The owner bought the car into us for a check over, to have the suspension geometry set up, an MOT test and to advise on any work required to get the car in top driving condition. Although we found a few slightly loose bolts and a minor fault with the headlights we have been very impressed with how well put together the car was and it has required little work. Having been checked over on the ramp and passed an MOT the final job is for us to adjust the valve clearances and this wonderful E-Type will be ready to head back to its owner and be enjoyed this summer.
We are always happy to help enthusiasts with any aspect of a home restoration if there is a particular area that they are unsure of. Whether it be the electrics, rebuilding the engine or the bodywork we are here to help to get another classic back on the road!


Jaguar E-Type website