Garage squad needed?

Nick Wrote: " I certainly wish there was a way to get Charles’ car together…but as we all know a lot of the satisfaction is in just having it…and in the process, and in knowing the car will long outlast our custody."

I certainly wish there was a way to get my DHC together, as well… There is something to be said for “ownership”, but I CAN guarantee you, there is a helluva LOT more to be said for actually DRIVING the XK120!! (as I did in mine for about eight years) As noted (somewhere), I bought my XK120 DHC in May 1967… it was sitting in front of a “Foreign Car Wrecking Yard” with “RUNS GREAT” scrawled across the windscreens… I took the Jag for a “test drive” on the service road of I-35 North… I had just “wound-up” second gear (to eighty per) when I noticed a stop sign coming in my direction… I laid-in on the brakes, the Jag “veered left” going almost to the Armco Barrier at the outside of the southbound lane… I let off the brakes and the Jag “returned” to the northbound lane… I blew right thru the stop sign!! I said to myself: “Mental Note: Car “pulls” to the left during braking!” I bought the XK120, becoming it’s second owner! I drove the Jag, without making ANY repairs or adjustments for the next 7-odd years… I also used the Jag to tow my motorcycles to the races (I turned “AMA Class C Professional” for the beginning of the 1970 racing season (I’ve also been to 165mph on my “home-built”, 350cc Single Cylinder GP RoadRacer.) I bought a 1970 Datsun 510 Station Wagon to carry all my tools, spares, equipment and to tow my “Two Rail” motorcycle trailer. In 1973 I suffered what was euphemistically called in racing parlance “A Career-Ending Injury”… in my case, a Compacted C-4 and Fractured C-5… in “plane engrish”: a broken neck!! After six months in the hospital, neck braces and basic recovery, I was able to return to my main avocation… “Foreign Car Mechanic”. In 1984 (after eighteen years of marriage), we had our first (only) child!! Wife was considered “Maternally Advanced”! She returned to work and I became “Day-Care Daddy”. I continued working on cars and motorcycles (Harleys) in my shop with “#1 Son” in his “carry rocker” (aka: Bucket) in direct sight of me. Later, I started restoring “Tri-Five Chevys” in a shop where I was the Head Mechanic. I also “restored” several XK120’s… mostly “Mechanical Restorations”, that is, I rebuilt the engines, gear boxes, etc. and made them look and work like new! Around 1999, I “found” the original “Jag-Lovers” website. I saw a lot of posts by folks wanting to restore their Jaguar XK’s, but had not a clue as to how or where to start, there were a few folks offering “advice” to the others via e-mail. At the time, I had a couple of rare items: The “Factory” Service Manual, an XK120 OTS, an XK120 DHC and a MKVII Saloon Spare Parts Catalogues! I joined this “Jag List” and I began offering help to these folks via information on various rebuild processes as well as helping to educate them (warning them of the pitfalls!!) on how to get started (organized) on doing “real” Frame-Off Restorations.
As Mike Balch mentioned, he has been to my house (and shop) several times… as have a number of other XK Owners (all are welcome!) If nothing else, visitors are generally guaranteed a LOT of “Bench Racing” in the form of talking about the mechanical aspects of the XK Engine… not to mention the “Fifty Cent Tour” of my shop…
Charles Ch #677556


I’m still here too, joined in 1999. And I also agree that Charles has been a key asset in the life of Jag-lovers. I have and often refer to the Service Bulletin printing he did years ago. Good luck, Charles, with finishing your 120.

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I have not done a great deal of work on “Barn Queen” lately but am still capable even at my age. We now live a distance from anyone on the list but anyone who has a lust for the outback is welcome to visit the boonies here in southwestern VA.

Steven Ferring;
We share the same boat… one that is TOTALLY removed from “From Polite Society”… or human civilization!! In short, “Out in the toolies”!!
When lived to east Ft Worth, I had the luxury of meeting real owners of XK Jaguars, Out in the “bush”, such is no longer possible… Folks have to drive long miles just to get to my place, now!!
I guess the "upside it, no one can bother me when I’m out working on my DHC… ;-}
Charles #677556.

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Charles I would love to be working on my cars but instead find myself working on lawn mowers. i got into that business because my neighbors realized I can fix things and most had never seen a shop that had the breadth of tools I have accumulated. Winter is my car season.

On the “breadth of tools… accumulated”… I can TOTALLY relate…
When I started-out as a “Heavy Line Mechanic” (a term that simply meant I had to be able to fix everything on that breed of car), I had a MAC “Top Box” and a MAC" Bottom box… and it only contained a smattering of tools!! THEN I meet “The Snap-On Man”!!!
Charles #677556

I too met the snap-on and MAC guys but they were too expensive for my budget at the time. Oddly enough my friends would volunteer me for clean outs of relatives homes that were being put up for sale. Several heirs told me that ANY tools found I could have. If they were valuable I told them but I ran across a bunch that I could use,( mostly sears ).

The Snap-On guy “offered” time payments… I made weekly (weakly??) payments for tools for a couple of decades ;-(
I can’t complain, I bought those tools for a specific task, made money on the deal and not only kept the tool(s) but still use them fairly frequently… In short, they “paid for themselves” in short order.
PLUS, I STILL have at least 80-90% of the original tools… the other 10/20% were replaced under the Snap-On Warranty… I guess when one’s “daily use” tools last the better part of thirty years, AND are still in-use, they have paid for themselves several times over!! That said, I’m STILL using my S-K Wayne Tool Set (3/8" Drive) my Dad bought me for Christmas 1965… He got tired of me using HIS S-K Wayne Tools (1/2" Drive) that he bought USED, from a pawn shop in Tenn. at the beginning of WWII (he was a "Butter-Bar Lt., so not much pay!) Being a [then] B-17 pilot, his Flight Pay allowed them to eat regular ;-}
Charles #677556

I bought a torq wrench from mac and after the second use the ratchet broke. I took him the wrench and asked for a replacement under their warranty but all he would give me was a repair kit that didn’t fit my wrench. I still have it even though it won’t rachet anymore. But that experience soured me on their tools as opposed to sears walk in and get a new one no questions asked. When I got the Riley I needed a british tool set so bought both sizes and use them as needed but do find that a polished handle is tough to use if you have the slightest amount of oil on your hands.

I need to note, I “obtained” the MAC Top & Bottom “Roll-Around” tool boxes when I bought a motorcycle dealership in early '67. In it was a full set on MAC Metric End Wrenches (6mm to 19mm) as well as a set of “regular” and “deep” 3/8" Drive Sockets.
I guess I lucked-out… As mentioned, my parents gave me a 3/8" drive S-K Wayne Tool Kit about the time I started college (circa 1966)… Later I inherited my Dad’s 1/2" drive S-K Wayne tools… BOTH sets have “knureled” handles on the ratchets… so I get good grip when using them… I have both S-K and Snap-On End Wrenches, the latter being ultra-smooth chrome, but in fifty+ years of use (near forty years professionally!), I’ve never had any unusual issues holding on to either of them… That is NOT to say I have never dropped a wrench (or thrown one across the shop!!)
Also need to note, the “head” of my 3/8" ratchet broke many-many years ago… went to the S-K Wayne dealer to exchange it… he did not have my exact “style”, but I got one “nearly” exact, the only difference was a serrated wheel around the outside rim of the ratchet… I paid the few bucks difference and it’s been in near constant use, since. (used the 3/8" S-K today to install/tighten some of the Exhaust Manifold Nuts and used the 1/2" to install all the Intake Manifold Studs on my DHC’s engine).
Charles #677556.