Photo Help- Sheet Metal Above Rear License Plate

63 FHC- My painter has pointed at that things look a little rough in the area above the rear license plate. Upon close inspection, I agree. I’m trying to figure out how to proceed. I would appreciate photos of this area. My photos are placed below to give you an idea of what we are talking about.

  1. Is there a seam?
  2. Is it spot welded?

Hi Harvey, yes that is factory correct, my 66 FHC is rather crudely finished at that seam. Just fill in and sand smooth, it is not really that visible when painted.

Yep, it’s a nasty, ugly seam weld that was likely done by an apprentice with an oxy-acetylene torch. It was left as-is, and simply painted over.

I noticed that on the first E-type I ever went to see, and thought “Yikes, it’s been rear-ended!”…luckily, the car was at a shop with two other E-types, and they were identical.

My current, original-paint car looks exactly the same. For correctness, I would leave it as-is…seriously.

My 63’ was exactly the same, thought for sure it was from sort of accident damage, but I have seen similar work on multiple coups. Jeff S. Atlanta, GA

Thanks for the replies. I thought there had been a previous thread on this, with the same conclusion, but I couldn’t find it. Wow, that was some crap welding, for sure!

I didn’t see your post until this morning, after I was at work, or I would have sent along a photo. Concur with the others about that area. If no one else has attached a photo and I remember when I get home, I’ll post one.

The design of the sheet metal parts in that area makes it difficult to join that seam. The flange on the horizontal panel can be spot welded neatly to the licence plate panel but there’s no way join the edge of that panel to the tonneau panel other than by an external weld. the parts just don’t fit together very well there.

I was also confused by the ugly welding when I rebuilt my car but I put it down to the fact that the early Coupes were kind of cobbled up quickly since the OTS was the original design. Maybe it was improved on later Coupes.

I replaced all those panels on my '62 and gas welded that seam. Here I was making a trial set-up before adding and spot welding the horizontal panel between the licence panel and the tonneau panel.

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The thread you are thinking of may have been the one on bringatrailer. I recall quite a long discussion about one “very original” car that was being questioned because of the quality of the weld in that area.

David, that may be it. I tried various search terms her on J-L and didn’t find anything.

My painter, who doesn’t have much Etype experience, stuck his hand in there and was kind of grossed out. He was convinced someone had replaced the sheet metal for the gas tank/spare tire and had done a crap job. Now that I think about it, there is another crap weld where the panels join up inside the IRS tunnel.

Whatever, I may clean it up a little.

To digress slightly, he also picked up on the fact that the shape of the rear haunches, right behind the doors, differs on each side of the car (this guy sees stuff that I don’t). I’m going to say that those shapes are dictated by the box sections in behind them. Not much I can do. I’m certainly not going to use filler to make them match.

He also didn’t like the discontinuity in the rear wheel well arches, where the panels come together at the body seam.

I read in Porters book that a crew of 4 built an average of 4 coupe bodies per hour. I may have to lower his expectations.

The box sections do not dictate the shape of that area behind the door. You can move it all over the place with some judicious use of body tools.

Well, if that is the case then that is way beyond my skillset. In my case, the point would be that the factory didn’t take the time to do that. They were going pretty fast, working on a piecework basis.

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I’ve seen some leading under there, and as well thick and imperfectly filed leading over the vertical sides that hold the license plate lights. Its very crudely done, but virtually nobody but restorers notice or care.

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I must admit that I did some filler work on the sides. Having to look at them, and even to get the license plate lights to seat properly, sent me over the edge!

They may have just put together a bunch of sub assemblies because Jaguar didn’t make the whole body by any means. The roof and rear quarter sections, hatch etc. was built by the Pressed Steel Company. I was doing some electrical work at their the factory in about 1964 and watched the production line in progress. Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me.

My '62 had a longitudinal machine welded seam along the top of both rear fenders which is probably where the roof section was joined to the lower body.

Inside the shell, there were pop riveted gussets whose purpose was presumably to hold parts in position before they were MIG welded. These type of instances probably lead to the rumour that the early cars were mostly hand built.

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Clive, you are correct. The work that I was describing was performed by an outside vendor. I don’t remember who but Pressed Steel makes sense.

What everyone else said: it was a very badly finished seam. When I did Tweety I leaded it in to make it smooth.

Here are a few photos of mine. Although it has been repainted once, I believe the seams to be original, crappy lead filling and all.


Looks like all I’ve ever seen.

Once again, thanks for all the input. The “dark underbelly” of an Etype!

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