The “Reproduction Tool Roll” topic got me to thinking about life with my E-Type and MK2 in the era before 1988.
I’m constantly amazed at the sky high prices of everything for vintage cars today: parts, labor, maintenance, restoration. If I had to find a complete tool roll for my E-Type today, I wouldn’t. If I had to restore either car today, I wouldn’t.
I brought my early '67 S1 OTS from from “basket case” in 1977 to rotisserie-restored “as new” car in 1987. My JCNA club pals–experts, all–warned me that if I spent more than $20k on restoration I’d never make my money back. Yes, seriously, that was the view back then. But I didn’t care, as she was my first car and I wanted her perfect, so I went “overboard” and performed one of the early (if not first) complete rotisserie restorations of an E-Type.
Both used and NOS parts were not only reasonably priced but negotiable and readily available, as was labor. Why? Because there was only a very small market for any of this. These were used cars back then. The “vintage” car market was pre 1950; 1950s - 1960s sports cars didn’t become “vintage” until 1987/1988 when the stock market took a tumble, and people turned to investing in the cars they pined over in their youth. And, boy, did things take off.
I still had most of my factory-supplied tools, and picking up the missing bits I needed at local swap meets was fun, easy and negotiable with cash in pocket. There were no reproductions, only the real deal, and plenty available. New stuff was also around: steering wheels (my original is on display in my office), clutch and brake bottles, windscreen washer bottles–you name it.
Nobody restored rust heaps or broken down '60s Jags before 1988. They were scavenged for parts. And, pity, MK2s were under-appreciated, so even good examples were wrecked for cheap, common, used parts for E-Types in lieu of new-old-stock!
Not everything NOS was available of course, but sourcing stuff was easy. I’d often shop “Jaguar Heaven” in Stockton, CA, for any bits I needed for my MK2. Original washer bottle, shoulder and seat belts, Lucas Fog Ranger lamps and 4-position dash panel switch. No big deal. Back then, they would take orders for stuff and call you when an “organ donor” arrived.
Anybody else remember those days? I feel fortunate to have been here since the beginning.