[E-Type] Abbey panels

I visited Abbey panels today; they’re part of the Loades group, who are
automotive parts manufacturers near Coventry. They’ve worked
extensively with Jaguar over the years - body panels for C, D and E types,
and the XJ-220, and make their pre-production models. A fascinating day,
(organised by our local Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club branch) - we saw lots
of skilled hand-forming panels using the “English wheel” (two polished,
hard rollers; you run an area of the sheet between them, and it thins
the metal, so increasing it’s area locally - so as you do it, you develop
a convex surface on the sheet). At least, I think that’s the theory.
It takes several months to learn how to do it properly.
We also got to sit in XJ-220 chassis #1. Very nice car - except in reverse
(no rear vision at all!). No test drive round the factory though!

They were working on a batch of E-type bonnets (hoods to the US).
These are the official Jaguar part, which is orderable through the
Unipart organisation. There was some serious hand finishing going
on to dress out the spot-weld dings one the curved front - an impressive
level of skill.

The original part, at launch time, was something like 19 pounds 10 shillings
(old money), about 30 dollars. They didn’t have any old stock at old
prices though!

Paul Gover