As we enter another lockdown, we have a wonderful range of XKs for sale, all safely stored in our showroom. Our driver has been out and about collecting and delivering customers cars whilst observing social distancing. The workshop remains open and we will continue to care for all the beautiful classic cars which cross our path. Please do get in touch to book your car in.
This week we will look at an XK120 in for servicing, ongoing XK150 bodywork, some hidden electrical upgrades, covered transportation and more.
Audio systems in classic cars are the always a hot topic. A modern radio can really distract from the look of an interior. Over the years we have fitted quite a number of different stereo systems in an attempt to find an ideal solution. We have fitted modern radios hidden in glove boxes or, in the case of XK120s and XK140, hidden behind the dashboard drawer. These have proved effective but they make removing the dashboard difficult. We have tried the best aftermarket radios but they lack the intuitive controls one really needs on a car stereo system. We have fitted period radios upgraded to receive FM and even Bluetooth. These look lovely however the small amplifiers limits audio quality at higher volumes (which is vital when driving an XK with the roof down) and again the controls can be complicated.
The advent of Bluetooth technology and the roll out of 4G and 5G mobile internet has now given the opportunity to simplify matters and create the ultimate hidden stereo system with no visible parts in the car. Our latest system utilises a Bluetooth receiver and an amplifier hidden in the passengers footwell connected to four hidden speakers. The system simply switches on and off with the cars ignition. There are no switches or knobs to adjust. The driver or passenger connects their phone to the system via Bluetooth and then streams music or radio using their app of choice (e.g. Spotify, iTunes or BBC Sounds). All controls including the volume work from the from phone.
The Jaguar XK120 fixedhead coupe was the second of the XK range to be produced. Following the unprecedented success and demand for the XK120 OTS it was felt that a more practical version of the car would be a good seller. Launched in 1951 the fixedhead featured luxuries such as winding windows and walnut veneered dashboard and door cappings. Given that the XK120 fixedhead is essentially the product of taking a car designed to be a limited run roadster and plonking a roof on the top, it truly is an extraordinarily beautiful car. Many, including our own director, consider it to be the most attractive of the whole XK range.
This lovely left-hand drive example (the XK120 fixedhead was officially an export only model and only 195 right hand drive models were produced) is in with us for an extensive programme of works including a power steering upgrade. Pictured here, Jonny is in the process of servicing the car and tuning the carburettors.
Tyres are an often overlooked but, a vital part of your classic car and the driving experience. To state the obvious, they are the thing that connects your car to the road after all. Poor tyres can really compromise both the driving experience and safety. We often have classic cars come in with tyres which are decades old. No kidding! Some will be showing signs of age with cracked side walls but others will look fine and have plenty of tread left. Many classic cars cover few miles per year so tyre wear is minimal however tyres do degrade with age. We recommend changing your tyres at a minimum every ten years even if they are not worn out.
This Jaguar XK140 fixedhead is lucky enough to have this lovely new set of Blockley 16" radials being fitted. These are our tyre of choice as they offer a good combination of excellent road holding and comfort. They also have a nice vintage look which suits cars of this age. Modern radial tyres are a huge improvement over the traditional crossply fitted in period. Not only do radials improve handling but they are also much safer, particularly in wet conditions.
This XK140 DHC came into our Hampshire workshop for its regular service and MOT. Whilst here it has had a number of upgrades including our footwell lights. These lights are hidden away flush to the under-dash panel so as not to intrude into the interior. They illuminate when the driver or passenger's door is opened, together with the original interior light at the rear of the car. When illuminated the strong white light floods the footwell with light. This allows driver and passenger to get and out of their XK easily, find the seatbelts and stow bags safely. The white lights can also be controlled by the interior light switch on the dashboard.
When the panel lights are switched on the footwell lights emit a soft red glow. This will not affect night vision when driving but is enough to allow the passenger to find things in their bag or to locate changing points, battery isolators or extra switches. Please watch the video to see the show!
Work continues on this Jaguar XK150 fixedhead bodyshell. The majority of the welding work is now complete. Everything from door skins to headlight pods required some form of attention. Now our fabricator Steve has started to fit all the parts to the bodyshell. He has started by fitting the doors, boot lid and bonnet. Next the windows and other components will be fitted. Once everything is on the car the painstaking process of adjusting, fettling and altering can begin. This process allows us to get those all-important gaps just right. Irregular door gaps can really let down the look of a finished restoration. It may take time but it is vital to get it right at this stage.
Come rain or shine our driver Richard is out and about with our trailer and Landrover Discovery. If you have any concerns about getting your treasured classic car to or from us please get in touch. We can arrange transportation be it locally around Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey, nationally across the UK or even internationally working with our transport partners and good friends at Straight Eight Logistics. This is especially valuable now that autumn weather has set in and perhaps, we will see gritters before long! We have recently invested in a new and improved covered trailer and with our driver Richards many years of experience transporting cars, we know how to care for classic cars. Rest assured your car will be traveling in comfort and safety. We have well bedded in Covid secure measures in place which we will continue to operate and as necessary strengthen thought lockdown two. Stary safe, please!