Let me tell you about my E-Type restoration project

Hi all,
I have occasionally told some of you about my XK140 restoration here, but today I want to tell you about my ongoing E-Type project, as I have very recently reached a stage, where final completion is still very far away, but maybe as of this week just very slightly within sight.

Sice the late noughties I have been on the lookout for an XK120-140 project that I could restore in my spare time. Knowing that that was a project not to be rushes into, I took my time, knowing a suitable project will show up one day - which it did, my XK140 Coupe. However, while I was on the lookout for an XK a 2+2 E-Type showed up here in Germany with a price tag that didn’t cause too much damage to the savings account, and looked like a good project to gain some experience on.

A 1969 2+2 in pieces, without an engine and loads of previous owner (po) bodge jobs. What a great place to start. I’ll start off by showing you a few pictures of her arrival

First of all I started on the calipers as I thought I couldn’t do too much damage here, as replacemants are readily available. This was real fun and I developed my own way of cleaning parts using vinegar essence, which is awful to work with.

Next on the to-do list was the front suspension. These parts were basically in good shape , but needed a good cleaning and some well done zinc plating. The next picture shows my collection of cleaned and overhauled parts that I was able to do myself.

So working on smaller parts was lots of fun but the day eventually arrived when the body had to be taken to the local coach builder to be sorted out. At first I thought I would take care of the most obvious parts like the rear wings (fenders) which had awful weld lines where panels had been replaced and7or added, but leave some of the work done by the PO which might not be pretty, like the floor panels, but would still get me past the TÜV, the german mot. Unfortunatley, as things progressed and the coach builder performed his amazing skills, the difference between what the PO had done, and what the coach builder did was so apparent that I made the decision one day, to completely re-do the entire body and bonnet to a standard within reasonable reach. Ouch! It stayed at the coach builders workshop for two years. Of course he didn’t work on it the whole time,
but I’ll just say, it kept him fairly busy.

The arrival:

here you can see some of the PO’s expert work

the local coach builder here is old school and does his own lead loading

But somewhere along the line I realised the POs work on the floor panels would just not cut it, so replacement panels for most of the floors were ordered. Here they are installed, all new floor panels.

I decided I would prefer a manual gearbox for my E-Type and found one with overdrive that came form a 420DS, which I thought was cool. This was taken to Hermann’s in Essen for a complete overhaul.

But it meant that the gearbox tunnel had to be completely modified. After all those new floor panels were installed, taking out the gearbox tunnel was a bit of step backwards.

Parts for a manual gearbox tunnel were ordered and installed after a lot of trial and error.

Of course the front engine frames were corroded beyond repair so a new set was ordered. We took great care fitting these as we knew the whole car would depend on accuracy here.

Fixing the bonnet also required a lot of attention to detail.

So it happened: I hit the ‘create topic’ button too early. There’s more to follow…

Chris, in Germany


Part Two:

After working on the bonnet for many weeks it could be mounted to the engine frame on the front of the body again for the first time in about 10 years or so.

In the mean time I found an E-Type engine (a real one, with a 7R number) in the UK that I bought and had completely overhauled by a local vintage car restoring company that is very well known for its impeccable reputation (and it shows on the invoices - ouch!)

I knew this would never be a matching numbers car, but having an engine with an E-Type number would be the closest I could get.

The IRS parts were also cleaned up and the whole thing overhauled to ‘as new’ standard.

By now I had a very large collection in my basement of restored parts that was constantly growing.

So after two years’ of work the body could be moved to the local painters’.

Here it also stayed for another two years, as it was constantly being moved around in the workshop to make room for other projects that were more urgent. Also; work was halted every few months as I also had urgent things that needed to be attended to.

As of early May this is what she lookes like.

And here she’s being moved to the vintage car restorer’s place wher reassembly will get started. The deal is to get her back on her wheels again. Then she will be brought to my house (for the first time) where I will start on the wiring looms.

Thanks for looking.

Chris, in Germany


Very nice work Chris!!! Thanks for sharing.

Beautiful! I never get tired of seeing old cars looking like new. I am personally not a fan of “patina.” That’s just a fancy word for some other dude’s neglect and wear and tear.

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Very Nice Chris, keep us posted.

That’s awesome! You brought it back from the brink and correctly!!! Good on ya!

Well done, good to see serious effort going into this rebuild. Congratulations on getting the correct spec engine.

Excellent job of sticking with it. Restorations are always full of surprises, but when you reach a milestone and can again see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction for the hard work you’ve done.

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Day one of reassembly. This is where the fun starts :smile:

All thos nice clean parts

More tomorrow - hopefully. The owner of the workshop said it shouldn’t take too long to get her back on her wheels again. I’m hoping to make several visits there this week, so I’m hoping to make regular updates here.

Looking really good. Question, shouldn’t the subframe mount spacer/shim be on the inside of the chassis leg?

Looks great…looking forward to see the progress!

That is beautiful! Is is black? in the one picture it looks like it’s a very dark blue.
Very nice craftsmanship!

In that pic, it almost looks like a grape juice color?

Looks really dark navy blue to me. And darn, look how shiny the inside of the roof panel is.

I don’t know, it looks like there is some dust or fingerprints on the underside of the boot in the 2nd last photo. Or they might be a reflection of a dirty floor (gasp!).

I think you’re having me on :slight_smile:

That reflection is from the dirty floor, I will try to do better in future :smile:

The colour really is dark blue, mixed to an original 1969 Jaguar Dark Blue recipe, although I can’t remember where I got it from, so maybe this is fake (news). Some people swear it’s purple but I have been told and am convinced myself that it is not purple, but dark blue. But in some lighting conditions it can really look like black.

Day two of reassembly:

This is what the inside looks like:

followed by a few shots of the completed IRS, with radius arms and fuel line…

…from where we move to the front suspension:

I am really proud of this picture for a very small reason; the lower cross member of the picture frame was really badly mangled by all previous owners jacking her up the wrong way. The workshop manual (and maybe even the owner’s) says to use a piece of wood (square in section) along the bottom member, between the two flanges. I’ve seen the most ridiculous applications here, where people just use a wooden plank, which can also create havoc to those flanges. The idea is to use a square section that fits precisely between them and therefore distributes the loads straight on to the member. I am going to get myself a nice piece of old german oak for this that I will for ever keep in the boot of my car. I asked the coach builder to fix that mangled cross member as good as he can and I think he did a tremendous job here.

some pictures of the front suspension

I’ve been told today that they might even have the wheels on by late tomorrow afternoon. For me this is a milestone, as I don’t know when she was on her own wheels the last time, maybe around 2005/06. Don’t worry, I’ll let y’all know what happens.

Chris, in Germany

Saubere Arbeit!

It’s pretty common to see the bottom of the pictureframe mashed from people using it as a jacking point, and the IRS tieplates have usually also taken a beating.

Make yourself some lifting pads for both the front and the rear.

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One other thing.

If they’re not already in, put the windscreen jets WITH TUBES ATTACHED in 1st thing tomorrow morning.

Do not let anyone suggest that they can wait.

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Really looks good!

What is that on the left side of the cockpit floor, against the inner sill, behind the cross member? It sort of looks like an inertia seatbelt reel.