Timing is everything – Workshop update

It has been almost a month since the last one of these updates. As such we have much to catch up on and some of what we are sharing dates back a few weeks. We have just been so busy in the workshop and with other exciting projects it has been hard to find time to pen another update but we do hope you took the opportunity to read the article we published on storing your classic car for winter. If you haven’t yet read it, please click here to check it out. It is worth looking over ahead of laying up your car for winter.
In this weeks’ update, we look ahead to the NEC Classic Motor Show from the 11th to the 13th of November.  We also have a look at timing chains, tensioners, camshafts and valve clearances on XK140s, update you on XK120, XK150 and E-Type restorations and look at a lovely MK1 saloon.

Classic Jaguar specialist

NEC Classic Car Show – Birmingham 11-13 November

With just a few days left to go until the event, we are starting to get ready for the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham. The show runs from Friday the 11th of November until Sunday the 13th of November. It must be one of the biggest indoor classic car events and for us marks the end of our classic car show year. It really does have everything the classic car enthusiast could want to see all in one place. An unrivalled collection of car clubs, dealers and restorers along with a whole hall full of tools and specialist restoration equipment. If you want to know how to do something there is no better place to go and chat with experts.
We love this show as it is a great time to catch up with customers and suppliers as well as to meet new people. Being geographically central it attracts people from all over the country. It feels like it has been an age since we were last there due to the pandemic and we have attended this show every year for as long as I care to remember. If you are coming, please pop by and say hello to us near the entrance to hall 2 and Silverstone Auctions.

NEC Classic Motor Show Jaguar XK140 restoration

Jaguar E-Type restoration

Progress has been marching on with our 4.2 E-Type restoration and we are somewhat lagging behind on these updates. That being said we are deep into the realms of fiddly and detailed work and it is hard to communicate this kind of progress with a single photo.
The latest big job was to fit the five-speed gearbox conversion. This was our first time fitting a Toyota Supra gearbox to an E-Type so took a little more time, planning and test fitting than usual. We have been very pleased with these gearboxes in the XKs we have fitted them to and look forward to testing one in our E-Type.
Pictured here you can see the engine with the gearbox fitted having been first offered up to the car to see what alterations need to be made. Next, we will make the required alterations to the tunnel and cross-member before finally fitting the engine and gearbox and prop shaft. The conversion is designed so that the gearstick will remain in its original location so there will be no external indication that the car has been converted to a five-speed gearbox.
We offer a range of gearbox conversions, from five-speed upgrades for your XK120 to modern automatic gearboxes for your old 3-speed automatic XK150. If originality is more your thing but your original gearbox is a bit tired and crunchy, we also rebuild original Moss gearboxes.

Jaguar E-Type full restoration

Jaguar XK140 timing chain tensioner upgrade

This lovely Jaguar XK140 fixedhead coupe was brought into us with an extremely rattly timing chain. It is not uncommon for XK engines to suffer with a bit of a timing chain rattle, especially on start-up but in this case, it was excessive. The timing chains do need adjusting over time and it is worth having this checked periodically by your garage. After some investigation, it was clear that the fault, in this case, was with the timing chain tensioner. With the front cover removed from the engine, it was found that the tensioner has not been fitted correctly and was knocking against the block and causing what was thought to be the timing chain rattle. The good news was that the timing chain was in perfect order. The old and damaged tensioner has now been removed and replaced with an uprated tensioner. On the early XK engines (XK120 and XK140 amongst others) the tensioner is spring operated. This upgrade brings them up to the same standard as the later XK engines with a hydraulic tensioner.
Whilst it is with us this XK140 is having a few other jobs carried out including having a five-speed gearbox fitted along with a lighter diaphragm clutch and a roller release bearing.

Jaguar XK140 specialist

Jaguar MK1 Saloon cylinder head replacement

This Jaguar MK1 Saloon is a very rare original UK 3.4 litre model. These are lovely cars and although very similar in styling to the MK2 they have much more sedate 1950s styling. Larger door pillars, less chrome and a walnut dashboard gives the car a very much older feel than the sportier-looking MK2.
The car was recovered to us after a long trip where the car had performed faultlessly according to the owner. Unfortunately, on the final leg home, the car started producing large amounts of white smoke. Although the car was running perfectly well, a head gasket failure was suspected so the car was quite sensibly recovered.
Once we were able to investigate the fault, we found that it wasn’t the head gasket which had failed but water was escaping from the cylinder head into the exhaust manifold. With the cylinder head removed corrosion was found in one of the exhaust ports which had turned into a small hole allowing water to escape. Although technology now allows for cylinder heads to be laser welded so many cracks or holes can be repaired the position of this hole meant there was no way to repair it. We were able to source a correct age-related cylinder head to replace it and have overhauled and fitted this. The original cylinder head has been returned to the customer to be kept with the car for the future. Who knows, with the rate at which technology moves forward we may be able to find a way to repair the original head in the future.

Classic Jaguar experts Jaguar MK1 saloon

Jaguar XK150 restoration handover

It is always a very special day when we are finally able to hand a full restoration over to a customer. This XK150 was all the more special as it had been delayed due to a number of factors stemming from the pandemic. Those of you who follow our updates may well recognise the car from previous posts. Pictured here is General Manager Ian Mills and the cars new owner as they were going through the finer point of the car. We always spend a good hour showing new owners around the cars ensuring they are familiar with the switches, gauges and how to check fluid levels etc. This is all the more important when the car has been upgraded as there are often additional switches and fuse boards.
This XK150 drophead coupe looks stunningly finished in Pacific Blue with a blue hood and grey interior. It has been tastefully upgraded for modern use leaving the car looking standard to the casual eye but providing improved performance, reliability and comfort. These upgrades include a fast road engine, five-speed gearbox, electric power steering, alternator, electric cooling fan, aluminium radiator, upgraded suspension and much more.

Jaguar XK150 full restoration handover

Jaguar XK140 camshaft timing and valve clearances

Pictured here is the engine of a Jaguar XK140 fixedhead we currently have in with the cam covers being refitted. This XK140 has undergone a partial restoration at home by an enthusiast. He has now brought the car to us to have a check-through, a few finishing touches carried out and to be started and got into a drivable condition. The main jobs we were tasked with were to complete the wiring which had been run-in but not connected, get the doors and windows fitting properly and check through all mechanical components.
When checking the engine, it was found that some of the valves had no clearance and that the cam timing was slightly out. Our mechanic has set about getting the timing set correctly and reshimming the cam buckets to ensure all the clearances were correct. Form there the engine has been compression tested and checked for oil pressure. The final stage will be to get the engine started and tuned up.
It is always a pleasure to help fellow enthusiasts with their restoration and a delight to see another classic car back on the road. We have helped with countless home restorations; be that simply by checking over and setting up suspension or carrying out the bodywork or engine rebuild. If there is an area of your restoration you require help with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Jaguar XK140 campshaft timing


Jaguar E-Type check over

This Jaguar E-Type is a 4.2-litre coupe. The E-Type coupe has to be one of the most iconic and attractive cars of all time. Although the early 3.8 cars are the most sought after we think that the additional performance of the 4.2 engine, combined with the early enclosed lights, early side lights and the all-synchro gearbox make the 4.2 pretty hard to beat in the E-Type line-up.
The car pictured here was on its way to us as the owner wanted a check over and report when it broke down. We were able to recover the car with our trailer and Land Rover and had the car and its owner safely with us in short order. Investigation found that the fairly old electronic ignition system had completely failed and the car wasn’t getting a spark. We suspect the cause of this was the incorrect type of ignition coil had been fitted. With the customer’s permission, we are fitting a new electronic ignition system and once the car is running again will carry out a full inspection.

Jaguar E-Type specialists

Jaguar XK120 body restoration

We thought we would share more progress on this Jaguar XK120 OTS restoration which we are in the process of building the body for. When we last shared an image of this car the sills, front end and doors had been built up and fitted. As described in our previous update the sills are the starting point. From there the front of the car can be fitted, followed by the doors and then the rear end. It is painstaking and precise work getting an XK body fitted correctly. With a mix of straight edges and curves meeting to create the door gaps, great care has to be taken to align and alter each panel to get the optimum fit. No two of these cars are the same and, in many cases, they aren’t quite the same from one side to the other.
With the body nearing completion the owner flew over from Sweden to visit us and see progress with the car. We also took advantage of this visit to temporarily fit the steering column, and a seat and let the owner sit in the car to set up the pedal box. The owner is well over six feet tall and would struggle for comfort in a standard XK120 so is having an extended pedal box fitted. This provides extra legroom and comfort even for those all of shapes and sizes!

Jaguar XK120 body restoration