Jaguar Joy - Faine 429

By: Jon Faine

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jaguar etype jaguar etype

Jon Faine rekindles an old Jaguar flame

Like getting back on a bike, or a horse, or strapping on the skis again, I’ve re-discovered E- Type Jaguar joy.

Slipping across the wide box sill and settling into the  original wonderfully patinated 50 year old red leather,  gripping that gorgeous wood-rimmed wheel and getting reacquainted has been pure joy.

I owned this unrestored 1968 Series One and a Half 4.2 litre 2+2 for ages and sold her to free up some cash about four years ago. When the buyer rang to say he was selling ‘my’ car and to ask if i wanted it back, I could not believe my luck. Swift and favourable negotiations  emptied my bank account into his and I drove ‘my’ car back to its home in my shed.

| Reader Resto: 1967 Jaguar E-Type I

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I missed the Jag from the moment she was driven away. A flirtation with an Alfa Spider failed to fill the void. Now reunited with the Jag, I drive it to work at least once a week, and it never fails to give me joy. It attracts thumbs up from every second driver on the road. Old cars are best being used, no doubt about it.

It has not all been smooth sailing though. Greg the buyer (and eventual re-seller) told me of a few problems that he had not attended to, and I took a drive to check it out for myself. No hidden secrets, but the car needed sorting again, and needless to say it is never as simple as you hope.

The steering wheel was flopping around as the bushes had collapsed, and driving home on the freeway was disconcerting. It is a remarkable feature of the E type that it is light to the touch, needs little effort to drive and has oodles of acceleration whenever you want it. But if the steering wheel is rattling around in its housing and the wheels point only approximately in the right direction, it is a  tad disconcerting. Turned out the entire steering rack, mounts and column bushes all needed doing at the same time… Ka-ching. Then the brakes… Ka-ching…  Alternator…  Drivers door latch… Split stitching on the driver’s seat ... Etc...

| Past Blast: 1962 Jaguar E-Type

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I assumed speedo issues would be a cable or at worst the unit might need surgery internally. But no, there are more expensive variations. And yes, like this one. The gearbox speedo drive has given up – to repair it requires gearbox removal and disassembly. So now I use an app on my phone to tell me by how much I am speeding, and the needle stays resting awaiting a repair - one day when the gearbox needs to be opened for some other more serious problem.

Mysteriously, the choke had given up its simple task too. Several of the delicate SU linkages and springs had tossed it in, and that made balancing the three carbies an impossible mission. The choke was fighting against itself, and the carbies were arguing with each other. New kits internally, replacement of linkages externally and all is good again.

The door latch ought be a simple and straightforward repair too. But when the 50- year-old door trims were for the first time disturbed, the clips collapsed, the securing pins on the latch mechanism were rusted in place, the chrome and other fiddly bits didn’t go back as they ought – again a small job became bigger.

Delightfully, though, the joy of owning an old British sports car is that every single elusive piece is readily available.  I suspect you can build an E-Type or for that matter a big Healey, Triumph or any post war MG entirely from replacement parts. Every rubber, every clip, every gasket, every flange – it is all in the online catalogues from multiple suppliers. The better quality parts are a straight swap. The cheaper ones are… well... cheaper. In the sense of quality not price. Not worth the hassle, and counter productive. By the time you have paid  double freight and sometimes duty, and added on the time it takes to do the job twice, you quickly realise that crap quality spares are the curse of the classic car world.

Now the Jaguar is back purring. The starter fires every time, the choke chokes, the battery maintains its charge, the wheels track true, the seat does not rip a little more each time I sit in it, the doors open, shut and even lock and I jump into it with even the slightest excuse. The planets have aligned.

 

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