To the castle...
When I booked my E-type into the Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival, it seemed comfortably far off in the distance. There would be more than enough time to finish off the winter job list, admittedly one that had managed to spill over into spring. Then suddenly the event was only a week away. Cue a marathon of late garage nights.
There was no single major job to deal with, but a frustratingly long list of minor ones that seemed reluctant to be well and truly crossed off. Like refitting the dashtop panel that I’d had recovered by ace trimmer Tom Hampton (07703 176934). Years ago he told me that the art of being a good trimmer is knowing the right glue to use. Which is where the previous restorer had, er, come unstuck because mine has spent the last seven years unglueing itself, and developed a couple of minor splits.
By the time the Festival came around I’d refitted the dashtop and reglued various other bits of minor trim, including the driver’s side A-pillar, replaced the incorrect brake and clutch low-pressure hoses that had been sweating hydraulic fluid with the correct EPDM material, fitted the reconditioned speedometer, encouraged the lethargic screen washer into more convincing performance and changed the car’s fluids.
As I joined some 900 other Jaguars crawling along the tree-lined Long Walk leading up to the distant vanishing point of Windsor Castle, my attention flicked between the spectacle advancing slowly through the windscreen and the scene inside the car. After years of being irritated by the peeling trim and a speedo needle jumping around like a VU meter in a recording studio, my eyes returned time and again to the snug dashtop and guessfree speed readings.
I tried not to share my personal victories with everyone I met at the event, where there were some rather more interesting things to see, from a cute Swallow saloonbodied Austin Seven to a couple of XJ220S. There was familiar Jaguar royalty scattered on the grass – the ex-duncan Hamilton C-type MDU 214, and D-types 774 RW and prototype OKV 1.
My highlight was ECD 400, the E-type that Graham Hill drove to victory at Oulton Park in April 1961, scoring the model’s maiden win. In an age where such precious cars are increasingly hidden away, it was great to see a few stone chips on the nose and wear to the driver’s footwell carpet since restoration. Owner Sir Paul Vestey remains a driver – and seems to know the right glue to use, judging by the sag-andpeel-free trim inside.
On the run home I noticed that my tachometer needle and interior lights had given up. Neither would compromise the following week’s MOT test, but they’re on the same circuit as the headlamp flash, and that will. More garage time ahead then.
Windsor Castle has impressive off-road parking Phil was loving his E-type interior, then the tacho failed