For Sale and Wanted
1970 series 2, 2+2 E Type Jaguar Restoration by Mike Davison
Where does one start when your club chairman suggests you write a few words on restoring your E type. If in places I seem to be teaching people to suck eggs please excuse me. Over the last 20 years I have embarked on a number of different classic car restorations as a hobby rather than doing them up specifically to sell. It started with a mini bought from a friend of my youngest son (Andy). The aim was to build a mini for both road use & hill climbs and rekindle the joy of driving minis in the 70`s. After about 2 years of working evenings we ended up with a British racing green car fitted with adjustable shocks & camber, 6” minilites, 45DOCE Weber carb, Kent cam, 3 branch big bore manifold & exhaust, nitrided crank, stage 3 head , oil cooler, electric fan etc. It did go quite well! After a couple of times out on the road sadly it was hit by a heavy goods vehicle and written off.
The settlement & sale proceeds of what was left of the car funded the purchase of 1970 Triumph TR6 with overdrive from TR Bits in Warrington. (Unfortunately I couldn`t find a reasonably priced TR5 to restore) By this time I was bitten by the restoration bug. The car looked a bit sad on the surface & although roadworthy it was suggested we did not drive it from Warrington to Eaglescliffe. The subsequent 4/5 years was spent trying to bring it back to life as it was somewhat of a rust bucket! A body off restoration. When finished its first major trip out was to Le Mans to see the 24 hour race, something that was repeated some 4 years later but this time to the classic event. It was also a trip with a few hiccups, exhaust caught on a gate stop protruding out of the ground & electrical failure on the outskirts of Calais. Good job we had classic car breakdown insurance.
In 2005 the bug bit again with the purchase of a 1966 chrome bumper MGB GT from a family on the outskirts of Thirsk. The idea was to run it for a few months to see how it performed & then do a minor restoration. Chrissie my wife & I were holiday about 6 months later only to find on our return Andy had started to strip it. Why is it with a classic cars people bodge repairs which leads to twice the amount of work in restoring them. Cutting out rust and welding in new metal is obviously a thing of the past. Leave the rust in place and plate over it is the order of the day. In essence we finished restoring it a couple of years ago , new floor pans, front & rear wings, rear panels , inner, middle & outer sills, wire wheel conversion, adjustable shocks, ss exhaust, converted to negative earth to name just a few items. A change of colour from British racing green to iris blue was also done, still an MGB colour.
A year later after watching a programme on the world’s most beautiful cars the Jaguar E type came onto the scene. Like the TR I could not find a reasonably priced E type to restore until I found a `cheap` one in Auto trader which was located in Scotland. A trip to Ayrshire ensued to find the car a 1970 series 2, 2+2 as a rolling shell, in primer, full of rust but completely stripped of trim internally & alleged to have been in dry storage for some 20 years , a one owner with about 43K miles. We were assured all the bits were there but were they? Should I or shouldn`t I buy it was the question.
The E Type when we first saw it up in Ayrshire
It was obvious some serious work would be needed to the floor; doors, bonnet and rear end not mention mechanicals. (A quick check was done on some prices for spares etc in relation to the potential value when finished) Many people would have said leave well alone but nothing much put me off having done the TR & MGB so a deal was eventually struck & about 3 months later we brought the car down to Eaglescliffe. Going down this route may seem daft to some people but we had a much better idea what we getting into as you hear so many tales about a fantastic looking E type being bought for thousands of pounds only to find it’s full of rot under the carpet or in the boot! Or even a series 2 when its supposed to be a series 1. Mean while it was time for the TR to go if nothing else but to start funding the E type. The E type sat on the drive under a cover that leaked for about 3 years while the MGB was finished. It only moved into the garage which had been extended after the TR had gone & the drive was block paved! During this period a numbers check was carried out with Jaguar Heritage and a heritage certificate received confirming originality. At the time of purchase the only document available was its V5. I had previously watched various of Mark Evans television series on helicopters, MGB`s & E types & his series DVD on restoring an E type was procured to give some back ground of what we were in for together with a Jaguar workshop manual & spares parts book. This is somewhat more informative than a programme recently shown on one of the major television channels the least said the better! A fair amount of research was done on the web, there are few UK sites most seem to be in the USA which of course is where the majority of Jaguar`s 80% export production went. As with other classics there are a sufficiency of spares suppliers ie Robeys, Manners, Barratts SC Parts. Some spares were purchased early on ie new front wings, front floor pans, bonnet underpan , door skins , fuel tank ( the tank looked great on top but once taken out it was full of holes on the underside) & front windscreen.
Restoration work started in earnest a couple of years ago after I`d taken early retirement. You may have gathered by now it has not always been a one man operation, 2 of my sons occasionally lend a hand. Andy has his own garage, North East Auto Tech is local whilst Mark lives in London , he does some of the small fiddily bits.
Pictures taken prior to it going to shot blasting
1. Part of tonneau panel removed as it was full of holes (it was this area that finally determined whether we were going to buy the car, fortunately you could buy a repair panel.
2. Front bulkhead panel & closing panel removed to reveal lower frame mounting bracket & expose front portion of holey floor pan……
3. Outer sill removed to reveal front sill reinforcement bracket.
4. Outer sill removed to reveal rear sill reinforcement & extent of rust local to it.
5. Outer sill & rear sill closing panel removed to reveal extent of rust.
6. Left Hand door showing previous bodge repair.
7. Right Hand door with skin removed
Multicoat of Middlesbrough carried out the work, contact details www.powdercoatinguk.com . At the same time they also did some powder coating of various items and through Cleveland Chroming zinc and yellow plating of suspension components and numerous other parts. One piece of useful information that I got after looking at various websites was to have a ‘rotisserie’ to support and move the shell about. As these are somewhat expensive to buy new we fabricated our own utilising existing fixing points on the shell where possible. Whilst not sophisticated it does the job.
After the shell had been shot blasted and given a coat of etch primer
8. Old quarter panels, back panel & number plate light panel removed with the start of trial fit of boot floor.
9. Trial fit of new back panel, number plate light panel & fuel tank (Fuel tank sits on 3 locating brackets).
10. Trial fit of quarter panel against original boot floor & repair section to inner wheel arch. Also shows some of the repairs done to the end of the inner sill together with the new sill reinforcement panel.
11. New tonneau repair panel with start of lead loading the joints.
12. The 3 x 2” SU Carb bodies after refurbishment. Butterflies and spindles still to be fitted.
13. Some of the front suspension components and anti roll pieces after zinc & yellow plating.
14. Inside of shell after shot blast & etch primer showing new front half floor pans fitted, bulk & sill closing panels ( in black)
Various repairs done to lower sections of the inner sills to sort out previous bodge repairs. At some time in the past the gearbox tunnel had been cut out and welded back in but on checking fitment of the radio/speaker console found it to have been fitted dimensionally incorrectly. As a result it had to be cut out again and rewelded back in, this time more accurately! One is always conscious of when you come to reassembling a car after painting that it wouldn’t go together!
After having taken various photos, the whole of the front end was dismantled & stripped, wheels removed, rear sub frame & suspension removed. Because the restoration was being done at home it was far easier to cut out certain badly corroded panels before shot blast rather than after. Experience with the TR & MGB indicated that although the outer sills looked OK they should be removed to see what lay behind. Its` as well we did. At the same time the bonnet was taken apart which confirmed our earlier decision to buy 2 new wings & under pan leaving the centre panel, air duct panels, headlight diaphragms to shot blast & refurb.
The shell, doors, bonnet centre panel etc went to Multicoat of Middlesbrough for shot blasting & a coat of etch primer to give us a sound base from which to start. Consideration had been given to having the shell etc dipped & electro coated by the likes of Surface Processing in the West Midlands but projected cost ruled it out against any benefits that maybe gained. When the shell etc came back from the shot blasters close inspection of the bonnet centre panel indicated problems. These I might add were not due to Multicoat but it revealed the fact the bonnet had been repaired & botched before. Discussions with various people led over a period of time to take the decision to scrap the centre panel. Have you tried to get a new centre panel for a series 2 ? All sorts of options were looked at, the end result after 12 months was to purchase a complete second-hand bonnet from a reputable source in Dartford and use the centre & other panels from it along with the new ones already bought. This was still more economical than buying a complete new bonnet.
In the interim period Mark had taken the carbs & linkages, brake servo & master cylinders, foot pedals and pivot housing, wiper mechanism, cooling fans & heater unit along with the rev counter & speedometer to refurbish them. I in the meantime worked on the shell, stripped the rear sub frame, suspension, drive shafts etc. Despite the fact the car had been dry stored it was felt prudent to renew all the bearings, universal joints, shock absorbers, coil springs & rubber mounts. The rear diff has been stripped & new diff case & side gear thrust washers, diff case bearings & oil seals fitted. (if bearings are not regularly rotated you can get flat spots & deterioration in the actual bearing surface, this is more likely if the oil has been drained out. Oil seals can also deteriorate). All the brake callipers as you could imagine were seized so had to be stripped, this involved breaking the seals between each half. New stainless steel piston & seal service kits have been bought and stainless steel flexible brake hoses. The small `O` rings that seal the calliper oil way were extremely difficult to source as they do not come as part of the service kit. FPE of Darlington have helped in this regard by making new `O` rings from a sample. The `O` rings are actually square section , had they been round they would be readily available. On the rear brakes of course all the hand brake components had to be stripped, again new parts have been purchased for these, those parts salvageable have been zinc/yellow plated. New standard discs have been purchased & Kevlar pads but standard pads for the hand brake. One of the differences between the series 1 & 2 was the fact Jaguar upgraded the brakes so the callipers & disc specs have been left as original. The upgrade kits you can buy (4 pot callipers) are primarily aimed at the series 1. You can however get 4 pot ones for the series 2 which I think are based on the XJ6 but cost a fortune and possibly not worth it. After all the series 3 brakes are basically the same as the series 2 except they have vented larger discs. New front & rear coil springs and adjustable Gaz shock absorbers all round have been purchased together with poly bushes for the anti role bars & links, front suspension & rear lower wish bones. New wheel bearings all round. New fulcrum bearing kits.
This may seem completely over the top but to keep track of what has been ordered & project progress I have developed a Microsoft Access database which comes in handy ! especially when you bulk buy grade `S` UNF bolts, nuts etc. (There is a proprietary piece of software for classics you can buy that does a similar job.) I`ve even gone to the extent of buying certain second-hand original bits from the USA when I couldn`t get reasonably priced equivalents over here. Mention an E type and the price goes up.
TO BE CONTINUED……………..