In 1979, my father and I bought a 1956 XK140 MC OTS as a father/son restoration project. It didn’t run, but it seemed to have all its bits and a lot of options. My father retired in the mid 80s, built a shop and proceeded to take the 140 apart while I was living in another city. The defect which took the car off the road was a dropped valve which beat a large hole in #6 piston and the crap out of the combustion chamber before embedding itself in the piston. So far, so good, except my father decided to restore his1969 E-Type rather than deal with the rust and crud on the 140. So the 140 languished to the side and on the shelves of his shop for the next 25 years.
My father died in 2015 at age 94. I am now the age he was when he left the 140 project for his beloved E-Type. As a sick joke (or so it seems at times), he left me this huge puzzle–putting together a car I did not take apart. And just to make it more interesting, there were old E-Type parts on his shelves intermingled with 140 bits and Austin-Healey parts. So I moved everything to my much smaller garage and started sorting. He labeled everything, like the good engineer he was, but his descriptions were not always descriptive enough. Sometimes he just wrote left and right. But what the hell was it? XK 140 Explored saved me.
His goal was always to build a rolling chassis and leave the body work and paint to someone else. So without thinking, that became my goal as well. There were things he could have done that I farmed out, like building the engine, but a rolling chassis was always my goal. Friends asked to come over to see it (when friends could do that type of thing), but I always said wait until the engine is in. It will be much more impressive. That milestone has now been reached. I have yet to start it, and some parts are awaiting other bits before final assembly, but it looks the part. And that feels pretty good.