1991 Jaguar XJR-15: Reader Resto Part 2

By: Scott Murray, Photography by: Scott Murray

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Jordan Roddy's race against time to get his Jaguar XJR-15 completed for Motorclassica sees the whole team put under the pump

 

1991 Jaguar XJR-15

- See the video

Last time, we met Jordan Roddy, who was making his dream a reality. Now, it’s pedal to the metal as he stares down the barrel of making it to Motorclassica – Australia’s top concours event where thousands of car lovers will clap eyes on his beloved Jag.

At this stage it’s a frantic situation. He’s working long hours and trying to play engineer, storyteller and project manager, while enjoying short precious moments with his little baby boy at home. He’s also wrangled in some of the best help money and friendship can afford.

Jordy’s right-hand man is Rob Stevens, an expert panel and paint restoration man with more years under his belt than he’d care to reveal. "When it came to finding someone to do the paint for the 15," Jordy explains, "it was a no-brainer. Rob’s done so much work for us on countless Jags, and all at an artisan’s level, I wouldn’t trust anyone else. Especially when so many eyes will be looking at his work."

For Rob it’s no mean feat, regardless of how many times he’s done this. "It’s not like a mechanic’s work where it’s all shrouded in hoses and panels, with all due respect," he says. "Your work is front and centre – it’s the first and last thing everybody sees so in a way it cops so much scrutiny. I don’t do insurance jobs where it’s ‘plastic bumper on, a lick of paint, and slapped back on’. I spent 90 per cent of my time doing preparation, and then the paint goes on."

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Jordy has also had carbon fibre experts weaving their magic over the super light and armour-strong Kevlar/carbon composite panels.

Daniel Young Composites played a key role in helping Jordy get the Jag’s bodywork prepped for the paint shop and ASC Composites in Yatala, Queensland, helped with various bits and pieces. Jordy knew Daniel through friends and various channels. "I’ve come from V8 Supercars at Perkins Motorsport and Kelly Racing," Daniel says, "I helped develop the Nissan Altima they’re using now and have since branched into my own business. So, open wheelers, Indy cars, Formula cars, V8 Supercars and sport sedans – I’ve done a lot of everything. I’d seen Jordy’s Jag briefly but not with the idea of getting to Motorclassica. As soon as he said that, it was all go."

"Because my background is motorsport composites, I treat it as a very high-end race car," he says. "All the components built in the UK used various methods and I’ve got that knowledge so I can work with it without ruining originality. Many of those techniques are derived from Formula 1, using pre-preg carbon fibre. ‘Pre-preg’ means it’s basically made with all the right quantity of resin impregnated into that component when it’s made. Each piece is frozen then baked and is exactly the same as the next piece. So they’re all balanced and even, and the tolerances are very fine. It’s all derived from aerospace technology so it’s light, strong and consistent." There were a few little spots they’ve had to source totally original TWR/Jaguar Sport carbon fibre as used on the original cars to fill them in, match the weave and the result is seamless. "There is so much really fiddly work we’ve had to do because the car had been subject to the Japanese. In fact the majority of the hard work, you’ll never see."

The hardest part for all parties involved has been the doors. They look unassuming and ‘normal’ in a way, but they’ve caused a lot of stress and pushed the XJR-15’s timeline almost to breaking point.

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"We’ve lost nearly an entire week waiting for the doors," Jordy says. "The rear engine cover is one whole piece of carbon fibre, hinged to line up perfectly with the rear of the doors and sills. Likewise the bonnet up front lines up perfectly with the front of the doors. But the tolerances again are so fine, we can’t do the paint if the doors aren’t perfect. I got the doors out of the shipping container a week and a half before bump-in for Motorclassica and Rob Stevens was doing absolutely everything else he could to the front and rear. We were doing a mock fit-out until early morning, then the following day the panels all had to get to Rob’s place to begin paint prep. It’s been exhausting."

From one body to another, Jordan Roddy Engineering has assigned the talent pool at Peter Blackman’s leather and upholstery the task of re-skinning the Jag. The bloke for the job is Justin, and judging by that name you’re right in assuming he’s relatively young, but very good at what he does. "All the leather in the car is new," Jordy says, "except the hide has come from Scotland. Apparently that’s where all the best leather hide is found." To ask why, the horse’s mouth was quizzed.

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"There were two substantial obstacles with Jordy’s car," says Peter Blackman. "One was getting the correct colours matched in the leather, and the other was matching the grain of that leather." So why Scotland? "Well, the leather we picked is from the Ingleston range, from Andrew Muirhead leather in Glasgow. Their range was exactly the same as the original colours and grains from Jaguar." The other little hurdle they had was that innocent-looking blue stripe across the seats. "That colour, to match it perfectly, even though we can buy leather from anywhere in the world in all sorts of quality and types, had to come from Sydney. These are all the little things people don’t see and forget about – we had to stick to the original design too. Dressing the headlining and roll bar in Alcantara was Jordy’s request. But I think it’s a great authentic touch." But as with many things automotive, the only way for Justin to sew the roll cage was from inside the cramped confines of the XJR-15 cabin.

If you’re in the market for a top-shelf restoration for your pride and joy, it’s definitely worth giving everybody mentioned in this story some consideration. Jordy’s dream car has been a long hard slog which he is applying himself to like never before. Watching the car’s progress has been enthralling and anxious, even from an editorial point-of-view.

At this point, it’s going right down to a matter of hours and probably minutes. As we prepare for Motorclassica, so too is Jordy, but in a very different capacity. Will he make it? Does his boyhood dream supercar make it to the polished floorboards of the Royal Exhibition Building? He’s had to ask for an extra day to bump-in and a tow truck has been booked. But he’s still putting parts onto the car the night before. It’s not over until…

 

Read more:

Part 1 - The journey begins

Part 3 - Completion

 

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