We made it through January! Apparently, the wettest January in a decade. As Spring creeps ever nearer, we are really starting to look forward to being able to get the cars back out on the road again. We look around us in the workshop, surrounded by some of the most beautiful cars ever built (more on this later), and are reminded how lucky we are to work in this industry. Not only are the cars wonderful but we are also ever thankful for the support of the classic car community throught these strange times. Bring on the driving season and let us hope that is dreadful pandemic eases enough that we are allowed back out to enjoy our cars.
In this weeks' update we look at a beautifully rebuilt XK140 engine, an XK120 with charging woes, the Auto Express list of the most beautiful cars and some rust repairs in the body workshop.
This lovely XK120 is a very original and charming car. Unfortunately, these cars were never designed to deal with heavy stop start traffic. To keep the engine cool in such conditions an electric cooling fan had been fitted. This is a most worthwhile upgrade but without complimentary upgrades to the electrical systems it can also cause a number of problems.
In the case of this XK the problem manifested itself by causing the car to run out of electricity. When driving in heavy traffic with he fan going, lights on and wipers going the dynamo could not put out enough power to keep up with all this demand and the car ran itself flat. As this XK has a rather nice positive earth radio fitted, a standard alternator conversion was not an option so instead we have fitted a positive earth 'dynator'. This is an alternator which looks like the original dynamo and works with a positive earth system. They are not quite as efficient as a larger modern alternator but if originality is a concern, they are an excellent compromise.
As with any car of this age it is not uncommon to see rust problems in XK bodies. We are lucky that most cars are so well restored these days that these kinds of issues do not come back. On some older restorations however, you will still see corrosion in these old favourite spots. In the case of this XK there was significant paint bubbling around the rear edge of the sill where it joined the B-post and this was starting to work its way up the B-post. As is often the way when you start to investigate corrosion the problems went much deeper than some superficial paint bubbles. With the rear wing removed (these simply unbolt) it was clear that dirt and moisture had been collecting in one of the classic rust traps in an XK where the rear wing bolts onto the B-post. Out of the factory this area was not protected and often adding paint or waxoyle here is overlooked during restorations. Our bodyworker Steve is now well on his way to removing all the affected metal and welding in new sections.
Pictured here is a beautiful, fully rebuild XK engine which has just been put into an XK140 nut and bolt restoration. This 3.4 litre matching numbers engine was rebuilt to the owners' specification. It is fully lightened and balanced, features fast road cam shafts, our uprated main oil seal to stop those classic XK oil leaks, forged pistons, harmonic crank damper and much more beyond that.
We build all our engines in house and have many years' experience in building and developing XK engines. Our background in racing has given us a good understanding in how best to get more power out of XK engines and years of building touring and rally cars has helped us develop powerful engines which are smooth and easy to use. If you are interested in having an XK engine rebuild, be if for an XK, E-Type, MK2 or any other saloon, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.
This XK140 fixedhead coupe was brought into our Hampshire workshop by its new owner to be assessed. The car purchased as a running, driving project with several known faults including brakes which locked on in reverse. We gave the car a thorough inspection for its new owner and then reported our findings. From there a programme of work was planned out with our client to bring the car up to the standard they desire.
Currently the car is on the ramp having a few items done in the engine bay. This include a new crank damper as the old one was perished, new crank and dynamo pullies as both were damaged and new steering rack mounts. The car will also be treated to a few upgrades along the way starting with an uprated aluminium water pump as per MK2 saloon specification and 123 electronic ignition.
This XK came into our workshop for a service and to have a few 'niggles' sorted out. One of these niggles was that the headlights presented a number of intermittent faults and would occasionally blow their fuses. The owner felt it was surprising that there was a fault as the headlights had been upgraded to halogen units in the not-too-distant past.
On investigation it was hardly surprising that the lights had been playing up. When the headlights had been converted to halogen whoever fitted them clearly did not have any appropriate way of joining new wiring to the old wiring. Over the years we have seen all sorts including the dreaded scotchlock, household wiring blocks, soler and tape but it is rare to see bare wires twisted together and just left. It is a good job that the headlight circuits are fused but hardly surprising that this was causing problems.
The extra wiring and three pin connectors have now been removed and a pair of new connectors have been properly fitted to the ends of the original wiring.
Towards the end of January Auto Express published their list of the 50 most beautiful cars ever built. The list is a who's who of luxury car brands with the likes of Aston Martin, Bentley and Lamborghini all making the list. There are a few surprises in the list like the Audi TT making it all the way up to 23rd and probably most surprisingly the Jaguar E-Type only ranked 18th.
We were however delighted to see that the Jaguar XK120 made it all the way up to 3rd place. It was only beaten by the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB in 2nd and the Alfa 8C 2900 Mille Miglia in 1st, both of which are undeniably beautiful cars. What sets the XK apart from these in our opinion is that you could actually own one. The Ferrari and Alfa and stunning but impossibly rare and expensive motorcars likely to spend their lives in private collections or museums. XKs however are outrageously beautiful cars which are within reach and can be used and enjoyed on a regular basis.