Things that make an e-type go zoom

Since taking care of my dad’s s1 2+2 three years ago I’ve gone through two phases of resto work (as I categorize them).

phase 1: Get 'er running
Rear diff rebuild, all gas lines, fitting, gas tank, fuel pump, water pump, hoses, new brakes/lines.

phase 2: Keep 'er running
steering column bushings, banjo fibre washers, fuel feeder tube filter, clutch slave cylinder, new tires, new fluids, find all 1,824 grease fittings. Buy oil in bulk. New wheel (broken spoke). Begin replacing rubber weather stripping. Re-condition leather seats. Start carrying an emergency break down kit with safety vest, headlamp, flares and enough spare tools to fix fuel leaks (learned this the hard way).

The car is running beautifully now. On a cool evening here in the hills of Vermont as the car flies up and over mountain passes with grace and a quiet growl I remain convinced that the original Jag engineers had Underhill, VT in mind when they first started developing e-types.

Smugglers’ Notch Vermont

Underhill, VT

(color commentary by my 7 year old son)

This brings me to a possible phase 3…

phase 3: Make 'er run better
At 50 MPH the car is rock solid, Steady smooth acceleration even from 4th gear uphill. Solid brakes and good handling. On the rare occasions that I’ve taken to the highway to see how she goes up to speed things are not quiet as rosy. At 60 MPH the car is fairly stable but by 70 - 75 there is some noticeable “float”. Not confidence inspiring. And definitely not feeling like I’m going to see the high side of 80 for quite some time. So my question… what are the next phase of projects to be undertaken in a sort of impact for effort kind of sort order. I believe my dad replaced the shocks that came with the car originally but beyond that I suspect that most of the suspension system is original.



These cars definitely lift at higher speeds. Unlike modern cars which are designed in front to provide down force, which is then easily augmented with a front splitter, the E-Type bonnet under pan slopes downward and catches the wind. If the front is actually bouncing as a result of this you can minimize it with stiffer dampers and maybe new torsion bars. But short of cobbling some sort of awkward front splitter together I don’t think there’s an easy way to make it feel more grounded. I’ve never driven mine over 100 for this reason. It feels like it wants to take flight.

I wonder if the S2 is not as prone to this… possibly the larger intake area (with the biggest enlargement being the bottom half) creates more down force?

Not sure really. I think it’s possible that increased mouth flow could also act against the upper bonnet, although I’d expect a lot to escape the louvers The S1 was supposedly wind tunnel tested. Not sure about the S2. If so I’d be curious to see a comparison. The cars were tested originally up to 130 and it didn’t wreck, but I’m just not as brave as Norman D was. There’s a world of difference between being safe and feeling safe while you do it.

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If my car is handling to factory spec and it was driven to 135 … A terrifying thought

I don’t know about the wind tunnel, but I’ve seen a picture of an E on the track with tufts of yarn taped all over it. I believe a chase car with a motion picture camera recorded the activity. Innovative and cheap alternative to a wind tunnel. :slight_smile:

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I don’t think it has to do with bonnet opening or other series 1 particular features although maybe the wider track and tires of the S3 helps a little

Assuming the suspension is in good shape and not sloppy, I strongly believe E-types need to be set with the front end slightly lowered and the rear a little higher. This was the advice of the E-type specialist I ve used since I got the car 20 years ago and it works.

I routinely cruise at 75/80 with occasional push to 90. I ve had it well over 100 many times in 20 years (135 once) and finds the faster it goes the more planted it is.

One of the very first things Dad did to Tweety, when the OO wanted to race it: it helps.

A small chin spoiler, along the back edge of the underbonnet tray, also helps.

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The front end “float” should not happen until about 120 MPH. I devised a spoiler under my bonnet (design given to me by a friend who races).


“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

Physicist Niels Bohr

I’m not an expert in E-type handling (mine doesn’t handle at all, yet), but generally speaking I would make sure all your suspension bushings are good. A loose suspension will most definitely give you a floaty feeling that causes a loss of confidence at higher speeds.

Agreed: a well-sorted E should be rock solid to at least 100 mph: Tweety, even with some of his OE suspension bits, did not float or wander, up to ~130: then, it began to make significant lift, such that it got a bit unstable.

. . . and by “suspension bushings”, I am also including tie rod ends and anti sway bar bushings.

Yep: E Types are quite intolerant of worn suspension componentry.

And steering rack amounts.

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and loose nuts on the steering wheel


And not to forget the issue of tires. That could also make a difference. Though I agree, considering all of the above, tires are not first on that list.

Check for a little toe-in. Floaty/twitchy could be toe-out. V12s drive more planted than sixes due to an extra 80lb of engine for a start. Slight nose down does help but nervousness at such a low limit sounds wrong.

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I rebuilt my entire suspension with all new parts and HD torsion bars, but when driving I was getting very concerned about handling even below 100. Something wasn’t right. I took it to get aligned and they said my rack mounts seemed loose. On closer inspection, it turned out that my new, HD rack mounts were already delaminating, possibly from hanging down for years during the restoration. I replaced them with solid rack mounts and now have no problems even over 100.

Rack mount inspection required 2 people, as you can’t turn the wheel and see the mount movement at the same time.

V1 is definitely 100+. I don’t have the under tray tins in. I’m guessing that adds lift. The Beach boys said it: “if she had a set of wings man I know she could fly”. Not a duece coupe, but it makes me more nervous than my motorcycle over the ton.

Something odd, but then again, mine was a FHC: there may be enough difference in upper body structure to make the difference. It was rock solid till ~125, when it became a bit “light in the loafers!”

I never pushed any of my customers’ OTSs that fast.

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