Shop for Jag restoration in or around Pittsburgh,PA

Today I had the opportunity to visit with my uncle, who is the very proud owner of a 1 owner 1968 Jaguar E-Type Series 1.5 FHC. The car is is pretty amazing condition externally, but it hasn’t been started in at least ten years. The list of things that the car needs is fairly long given that it wasn’t really stored for long term downtime. The fuel tank has/had fuel in it, the oil hasn’t been touched and is likely in a sludge pile in the sump, the brakes are likely corroded given that they appear to be locked (car can’t be pushed), two tires are flat and I highly suspect the other two have serious flat spots. Before the car was stored the carbs needed rebuilt and I recall an issue with the fuel pump, but my uncle isn’t sure.

Given all the work I’ve done on my car and the stories I shared with my uncle, he is getting excited about the possibility of restoring his car to being a driver. We discussed the dollar range of cost this would likely take and he is able to swallow that kind of number. I have offered that if he trailered the car to me, I would do all the work for the cost of parts, but he isn’t ready yet to move it that far. He asked if I could find him a shop in the Pittsburgh area or surrounding Ohio area that he would be able to send his car too for this kind of a restoration to running order. I told him I didn’t know of any shops, but that I had access to the ultimate resource of knowledgeable folks to ask. Feel free to post or send me a PM of reputable shops with a good track record and are knowledgeable in E-Types. The guy who did past work for him has aged out of the business and unfortunately I pointed out that for some reason his Series 1.5 has Series 2 silencer/tail pipes. He mentioned that the guy told him he couldn’t get the right tail pipes but could put on what he had, which of course are wrong on this car. My uncle didn’t realize that Series 1 pipes are readily available, as I just installed a set on my Series 2……

Any help will be appreciated, I’d like to see my uncle driving his first new car out of college again….


One of the best, in PA…


Thank you………………………….

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Hi, I second Terry Lippincotts garage.

Bob I went to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix several years ago and the local JCNA club was also having a big gathering there that same weekend. There was a big E-type turnout at that time. Looks like they have it on their calendar in a few weeks. Might be an opportunity soon for your uncle to go talk to some local Pittsburgh folks.

68 E-type FHC

+1 on Lippincott’s. My car spent 6 months there.

I know Lippincotts is very good but it is about a 4 hour drive from Pittsburgh.

Jim Boffo of Boffo Motors in New Brighton, PA rebuilt my rear differential over the winter and did a very nice job. He had a bunch of Jags in the shop at the time so it seems business is good….

Additionally the Jaguar Club of Pittsburgh is full of great people……if he needs a hand with something let us know!

I have suggested my uncle join the Pittsburgh Jag club. I live in Texas and belong to the JOANT (Jaguar Owners of North Texas). While he is open to joining, he has only performed basic maintenance on the car himself in years past. He mentioned that if I lived closer he would let me do the work, which I would thoroughly love to do, but he wasn’t keen on the idea of trailering it to me for the work. But he isn’t interested in doing the work himself, he claims he’s too old to learn everything he’d need to know and prefers to have someone who knows what they are doing to do the work.

I’m going to look into both shops for him, since I pretty much know what to ask given everything I’ve done to my Series 2. His goal at this stage is to get the car to “Stop and Go” not perform a concours level restoration, although the body and paint are in amazing shape.

Based on what I’ve seen and what little I know, I think that he needs the following tasks done:

  • new tires (tubeless) and maybe new wheels given their poor condition
  • all new belts and hoses (coolant and vacuum) under the bonnet
  • new plugs, wires, and maybe even an electronic distributor (no more filing points)
  • twin Stromberg carbs rebuilt (he suspects a torn diaphragm)
  • replace fuel lines and inspect tank after draining any liquid gas
  • rebuild front calipers and replace rotors and pads
  • possibly drop the IRS to inspect and deal with rotors, calipers, and pads
  • inspect and possibly replace brake lines
  • drain and replace all fluids (gasoline, engine oil, transmission, differential, coolant)
  • borescope inspection of the cylinders prior to hand turning the engine by the crank nut
  • inspect and test all the fuses and light bulbs
  • finally, replace the Series 2 tail pipes with the proper Series 1 style (this one just bugs me)

Bob, if the car primarily needs mechanical work, I would recommend talking to Dan Fowler at F.A.S.T. Company in Glenshaw. He works on several members’ cars as well as for all types of exotics and vintage racers. Best part is that he has a large facility and a competent staff to get things done without undue delay. For major body and interior restoration Tom Zebraskey at Catz Automotive in Poland Ohio does excellent work. Having owned my car for 45 years I’ve dealt with most businesses in the Pgh area or know someone who has.

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Jack, thanks for the input. I may reach out privately after I talk to a couple of these places for my uncle.

Sure, Bob. Be glad to help.

i live just about 13 mikes outside Pittsburgh and have a 66 OTS—will be happy to discuss issues with him if he wants. The person who did excellent work on mine (body and other) des it when his main business is slack----He may also be a great source of info.

My uncle lives in Monroeville.

that is right down the road from me–maybe 5 miles. i will be happy to share what info I can. the guy who did wonderful body wok on mine is on the west side of Pittsburgh. I knw Jack well and he knows these Jags very well. He has helped my through a few truing times—for which I greatly appreciate. There are quite a few folks in the Pittsburgh club who will be happy to assist, so your uncle should have good support as he does his.

Despite this thread being over three years old. my Uncle with the 1968 Series 1.5 FHC has still not made a move to get this car back on the road. I’ve talked to several shops for him but he hasn’t been in a rush to get the work done. I visited with him last week and he asked me to look into another shop for him that he had heard good things about. It’s called Hahn Auto Restoration in Western PA - Hahn Auto Restoration

Does anyone have any knowledge of them and the quality of their work?

Perhaps Uncle is intimidated by the scope of the work and has pushed off making the decision? Maybe if you made some appts and traveled up and went with him to visit 3 or so of the shops? If you went with him, you could sift through the diagnostics. Your 3 year old list is pretty serious work. My current shop in northern Illinois is at $120/hr. and your worklist could be a good 40 hrs and probably more. I subscribe to the ‘iceberg’ theory of E repair, you only see about 10% of what’s all there that needs work. Then there’s the ‘while you’re in there’ Shipwright’s Disease.

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I’m not sure its intimidation as much as it is procrastination. I have already spoken to two other shops about the car, its condition, and what I think needs to be done to just make it safely stop and go, let alone any appearance improvements. My preference is that he have the car trailered to me and let me do the work for free, other than parts cost. I am very familiar with Shipwright’s Disease as I suffered from it with my 1969 Series 2.

Maybe it’s best to just let him talk about it there are many good shops but he’s already been sold what was on the floor
If you don’t do the work let it lie you’ll never hear the end of it :flushed:
My best advice

I’ve been to Hahn and talked extensively with Bill - great shop. Bill is now retired and his daughter runs it. Long wait to get in.

Dan Fowler of FAST Company in Glenshaw is great - not sure he would want to take on this project but it’s worth a call.

Boffo motors in New Brighton PA is also very good - they finished the body work and painted my Series 3 and did a great job. Call them and talk to Gary.

Hope this helps.