Mike overhauls his E-Type’s cylinder head, Gez finally makes a lid for his NSU’s glovebox, Ivan fits a reconditioned servo to his XJ40, Will starts restoring his Minor Van, Peter takes his Allard for a spin and Scott gets stuck into a new project.
I n last months article I started to go through where I’ve got to with the E-Type. It’s now been stripped and after acid dipping, the shell was mounted on my modified rotisserie and the long job of replacing the bottom six inches of the Jaguar is now under way.
It struck me that my monthly update may appear a bit like the Star Wars films by starting in the middle and working forward then backwards. So I thought it would be a good idea to take you back to the beginning – not to a galaxy far, far away or a long time ago – just back to last year in Evesham!
I like having a project in the hopper while one is drawing to a close and this time I got a bit carried away and bought an imported E-Type in a joint venture with the father-in-law. This all happened while still finishing the Frog Eye and still part way through completing the Austin Healey 3000’s bodywork. This worked quite well, as the ramp became free of Frog Eye for the big dismantle and the timing went quite well, as the E-Type was ready for bodywork repairs to commence as the Healey 3000 was being finished off.
My father-in-law and I had decided on a certain specification and wanted a 3.8 litre Series One fixed head coupé. The reason for this was that the 3.8 Series One included the features and purity of the early E-Types but weren’t as expensive as the first generation flat floor versions.
We hunted for quite a while trying to balance the right price and quality of car and eventually found one in the US. After vetting the seller through some contacts I knew, we eventually agreed to purchase the car and appointed a shipping company to help with the transaction. This resulted with the Jaguar arriving in Southampton Docks a few weeks later and I was pleasantly surprised how cheap the process was when considering the professionalism of the operation.
I must admit it was still nerve wracking seeing the E-Type for the first time, but as the covers were pulled off it was actually better than described! I trailered the car back home and like a kid with a new toy started having a good poke around. We had bought the car as a nonrunning restoration project but I became quickly pleased with how much had already been done to the Big Cat.
Although a lot of mechanical work had been completed, it had received a very poor respray and appeared to have been done a long time ago as a rolling restoration. The more I poked, the better I found the mechanicals to be. After a really good look around, I reconnected the battery to find it had some charge and the fuel pump fired. I then decided to see if I could get her running, so changed the oil, charged the battery and did some more basic checks.
When I was happy, I hit the choke and starter and the E-Type’s straight six fired up after a couple of cranks. I quickly realised that it must have been a runner before being taken off the road, so decided to go all in and get an MoT. Doing so before the restoration enabled me to register it, which provided peace of mind given how much time and money is at stake. With a little bit of pre- MoT work, the Jaguar passed the test a few weeks later, resulting in a very happy father and law and me.
With the car registered, the strip down began and I started at the front and worked to the back methodically removing parts, marking bags and storing in appropriately marked crates to make re-assembly much easier. I took the bonnet off, which is designed to be simple to remove, and started stripping the ancillaries. On the E-Type, the engine can come out from below, underneath or out of the front; the latter being more suited to a restoration project given the level of strip down already needed. With a bit of care and a load spreading bar on the crane the engine was out of the car in no time! Foot off the gas for now!
I got a bit carried away and bought an imported E-Type Jaguar in a joint venture with the father-in-law
The first time we saw the imported E-Type was when it was fresh of out of its container at Southampton Docks.
After trailing the E-Type back from the docks, it was rolled in the garage awaiting a full appraisal, which turned out to be surprisingly good.
The suspension was next to come off and once everything had been removed it was labelled and stored for further attention. Even with the all auxiliaries off, the E-Type’s engine is a big heavy lump and to keep it level we used a balancing beam on the crane. After removing and storing the bonnet, the E-Type’s strip down got underway in earnest. Next job was to remove the engine. Although it looks a big job to remove the E-Type’s bonnet, it can be taken off quite quickly providing enough hands are available.