Guidance and wisdom sought for front collision repair 69 S2

I absolutely concur with Ray and others on this: a good body person can fix that, no problem. It’ll take some work and some good metal shaping/shrinking, but it can be fixed.

I also very sincerely doubt that there is any problem with the side frames or the picture frame. That front end is actually a very good crush structure.

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No personal experience, but from all I’ve heard over the last 15-20 years, I would go to Monocoque Metalworks: Monocoque Metalworks | Jaguar E-Type body panels and shell restoration (

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well, they didn’t paint the inside of the dark. blue one. Just to pic nits


Thats nothing Valarie it will be more work to paint it (color match)

Actually, I didn’t submit any supplemental claims, I think I mentioned I considered myself lucky to have the claim covered in the first place and didn’t want to push my luck. However, I expect Hagerty will assign you a claim rep as point of contact, that is who to ask. My payout covered parts and paint, I wrote my labor off to educational experience. Having read subsequent replies I really expect that the bonnet support frame absorbed the energy and the picture frame and engine frames will be fine, the bonnet is repairable, and a good painter working with a good supplier can perform matching miracles. I used SNG for parts, they have almost everything and it was easier to keep track.

Thursday 11/23 update. Shop has bonnet off and we went through the damage. I thought the bonnet support frame would be more mangled, but it doesn’t appear to be the case. Tech is concerned that there appears to be a ‘droop’ from right hand side down to left hand side. However, this car has always had a ‘droop’, even after suspension work was done, and as long as I have had this car (34 years). I never really noticed it from the front, more from the rear as I approached the car… more noticeable if car is parked in garage where there is a slight slope up to the garage floor. Tried to get a photo of it, no real success. I pointed this out to them, if it’s just the way the car has been all its life. Have never had door/hatch closing issues, wheel/tire alignment issues, etc.

Then I also noted there was a small (@ 3/8 inch) dent in one of the air cleaner trumpets, that lined up with the inner splash shield on the right hand side. I attached this photo to ask if it looks like that splash shield is normally shaped that way.

I looked at engine bay photos of other s2s on BAT, and couldn’t really tell.
Shop is going to check measurements to see if there are alignment issues. They refer to the ENTIRE engine support frame system as the ‘birdcage’, while I was thinking “birdcage” was just the framing forward of the radiator that supported the bonnet.
Items that were not on the original damage claim are the AC Condenser and supply and return lines. From another post, it appears that it is a 16 x 18 parallel flow. Found a possible repl on ColdHose for $89, but have zero knowledge on their product quality. Recommendations welcome. The damaged one is original to the car, so @ 55 years old, probably not going to attempt a repair.

Next up was inspection of the bonnet. Shop felt undervalance was too badly twisted to warrant the time spent to fix it and suggested the Martin Robey assembly. This shop has had good success with the MR part. My front turn signals escaped damage so they are OK. The headlight diaphragms were found to be in tough shape (corrosion), so will replace those (BD28460).

If there is to be any good news, it is that the top bonnet pieces are all workable as are the majority of other interior bonnet parts. The next step for the bonnet is to be completely disassembled and stripped.
Thank you for all of your suggestions and advice. Any parts that are going to be replaced I will ask to have, someone can probably use them for something.


The “droop” is almost certainly torsion bar adjustment. Mine is the same, and has been for several years. For the longest time I didn’t even notice it. I’ve left it that way because to make the adjustment on the left side you need to remove the exhaust system to get access, and I’m just not that ambitious. Not for an almost imperceptible droop anyway.

The more common vernacular for the bonnet support frame is “trapeze”. I’m not familiar with the “birdcage” terminology. What you do need to check for are cracks in the side frames. While the trapeze and picture frame can be straightened and if necessary weld repaired the same can’t be said for the side frames. It’s likely they’re fine given the low speed shunt but still worth a close look. Besides, they appear to be original and may benefit from replacement anyway. Adds a fair bit more to the job, though.

The mud guard looks normal to me.

That underpan can be straightened by anybody experienced with hammer/dolly/slapper/shrinking disc, but probably less economically than replacing.

Nick! Great info on the torsion bar adjustment! Would that be the case for both front and rear? I will look in my Bentley for TB adjustment help.

I was under the impression the bonnet support frame, AKA, trapeze or birdcage, was originally made from Reynolds 531 tubing and repair cautions were the same as with the engine frames. New ones sold by SNGand others are NOT Reynolds 531 and can probably be welded.

Nick is right regarding droop, you can’t tell by relationship to the floor, any measurements need to be taken from reference points on the car. The service manual outlines the specific methodology for determining if your torsion bars need to be adjusted. In the rear ride height is determined by the health of the four coil springs that surround the 4 shock absorbers.

You’re likely right about the 531 Reynolds in the trapeze, but it is still a relatively easy fix because it’s constructed from five straight tubes brazed individually to mild steel and not to each other. Unlike the side frames, any damaged tube can be removed without affecting the metallurgy of the others and replaced - tubing of the right strength and diameter is readily available. I replaced the long horizontal member of mine back in the day because it had partially rusted out on the bottom from moisture accumulating inside while the other four tubes were still solid. I ended up selling that piece and one of the two side frames that was still good to another E-type owner when I replaced all four subframe components with a kit from E-type Fabs. The other side frame was also rust free but had cracks in three locations from a shunt prior to my ownership. The original picture frame, which I have kept for obvious reasons, had a mangled bottom member and slightly bent top member from a PO having used it to jack up the car without the recommended hardwood buffer. Both those pieces in Valerie’s pic appear to be undamaged … but I’d still do a close inspection of the side frames.

Which parts are mild steel? I’d agree the bonnet support frame isn’t subjected to the same high stresses the engine frames are so one is probably allowed more latitude in the repairs.

Everything except the five tubes is mild steel.

Interesting, thanks. I never really gave it alot of thought and always assumed the brackets, flanges and radiator support flat section were also Reynolds 531.

Yup. Reynolds 531 is manganese molybdenum steel and is exclusively seamless tubing, no brackets etc. Replacement tubing of the same diameter and wall thickness is chromoloy which, unlike Reynolds 531, doesn’t react poorly to being reheated and can be welded instead of brazed. It used to be all the best bicycle frames were fabbed from Reynolds 531 but I think that’s gone by the wayside in preference to Cro-Mo steel (and carbon fibre).

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Make sure you get them some DIY will love to have them ,pay you money :moneybag:

Thursday 12/23/23 update: Got a very nice early Christmas gift with the news that only a slight tug on the frame machine rectified the front bonnet support ‘droop’ and that no massive birdcage work will be required. The bonnet was going to be picked up from the stripper today and so the long road ahead is a bit shorter. Thank you to all who have posted with positive support and comments.


My understanding was that only the picture frame was made from mild steel.
All the rest would be made from Reynolds 531.
Now is it easy or possible to manufacture parts that are not tubes (cylindrical or square) from Reynolds 531?
Hence, apart from the picture frame, are some other parts of the front “chassis” also made from mild steel or another alloy: e.g. the bar supporting the radiator, the more complex parts supporting the engine, the various brackets?

There you go progress ……not sure what stripper means …you’re having the bonnet dipped ?

Yes, the bonnet went through a dip. In '94 when I stripped the car in this shop, I used aircraft stripper and a heat lamp (& all protective gear) We sent the bonnet to either a baking soda or ground walnut shell blaster (don’t remember which). Here’s a photo from 1994. These days I don’t think you can get AC stripper.