A Classic Combination
A Classic Combination
Commissioned by a customer to complete a full restoration on a Series 1 FHC Jaguar E-Type which included sourcing the vehicle. Having found a suitable E-type in the snowy Norwiegn mountains, the car began making its way down to arrive at our Kent based HQ, however, the excitement came later when it came to light that this 1964 Series 1 fixed head coupe LHD left the factory in Pearl Grey with a Dark Blue interior. The heritage correct finish is an uncommon and rare combination to see these days, offering a breath of fresh air from the Gunmetal Greys and Red interior finished cars that seem to be the 2018 favourite. When restored this car will be a stunning matching numbers Series 1 fixed head coupe finished in a head-turning original Jaguar combo.
Once the customer had decided to return this classic back to its factory finish combination, pleasing everyone here at the E-Type UK, the restoration team set out inspecting the vehicles metalwork to asses the required work to be undertaken. It became clear that the E-type's shell had numerous rusted area signifying the car needed to be sandblasted to provide a clean and fresh base to work from.
Ready for metalwork
After being shipped off to be blasted the E-type returns back to the workshop finished in primer preventing any further rust. However, the suspicions of extensive metalwork were confirmed, as it appears the team have their work cut out for them. Once inspecting the existing metalwork the jobs list is tallied up and required work features new floors, all new sills, rear chassis, gearbox tunnel, bulkhead repairs, inner and outer rear wings and the list goes on. The E-type is moved into the metalwork area ready to undergo its transformation. Another item of the long job list is the repair of the supplied bonnet. Arriving as separate panels the team get to work mock assembling the bonnet. With a straight forward assembly, it becomes clear the bonnet requires minimal adjustments.
Be sure to watch this space for an update for how the metalwork is coming along.
Since being wheeled into metalwork the team have started removing the rotten and unusable panels which in this case was BOTH floor and rear bulkhead. When removing the floor and bulkheads it is important to maintain a square base, to ensure this, braces are temporarily put in place supporting the shell and roof. Adding to the removed scrap pile the team also cut out other rotten areas such as the gearbox tunnel, kick panels, rear chassis legs and inner and outer sills.
A new Series 1 floor, rear bulkhead and rear chassis legs are sourced, assembled and mounted to the body jig. Once the team are happy the shell is lowered on to the new floor to be aligned. With the necessary areas welded in place to hold the shell to the new floor, attention is moved to the gearbox tunnel. After measuring and ensuring alignment is spot on for the new gearbox tunnel, the team prepare to permanently fit the new panels before moving onto fixing the new frames and trial fitting the recently assembled new bonnet.
Since the last project update, this 1964 Series 1 Coupe has now completed is metalwork stage and prepares to enter filler. The shell now rot free and fitted with new floors, gearbox tunnel, kick panels, front and rear chassis legs, inner and outer sills, rear wheel arches and original supplied bonnet corrected and successfully fitted, which during this time, the workshop has also been busy.
Having commissioned a full restoration, the shell and bonnet aren’t the only parts of the E-type being given the full treatment. The restoration technicians have also been directing their focus towards recommissioning the Series 1 backend adding in subtle twists to improve Jaguar’s original formula.
A standard Series 1 backend, produced between 1961 – 1968, would initially consist of an IRS (independent rear suspension) cage that effectively holds the back wheels and suspension to the E-type chassis, providing the driver low levels of road noise, vibration, and harshness, an all in a smoother ride. This unit built around a fabricated steel crossbeam carrying the rear suspension, brakes and differential was designed to be, with the right know-how, easily removed and adapted, thus becoming a favourited upgrade.
All components are recommissioned, blasted and powder coated, that include:
- Rebuild of the rear differential
- Full rebuild of hubs including new bearings
- New universal joints
- New brake lines
- Complete standard coil covers
Committed to creating a highly useable and comfortable end product the team set out fitting our bespoke E-Type UK performance upgrades which include fitting 4 pot calipers (instead of the traditional 2 pot), ‘green stuff’ brake pads and separate modern independent handbrake system. With these desirable upgrades now fitted the IRS unit not only provides the driver with more dynamic braking and greater road performance but sets the bar for future subtle twists, such as fitment of E-Type UK’s 6 pot brake calipers, later to be fitted to the front suspension.
With the metalwork process complete and the car resembling that of the 60's icon, the E-type enters the filler process. Throughout this time the E-type undergoes a careful and detailed process to achieve those perfect lines and gaps. Once the car has been properly filled, ensuring all body lines are returned, boasting a better than new shape. After a lengthy standing cycle, as filler is a porous material this process helps to harden the finish as well as drawing out any remaining moisture. Rust inhibitors are applied to the exposed bare metal, alongside sealer primer and numerous coats of 2pack high build primer. After the car sits through a hardening period for several weeks, the shell is then subjected to blocking using 180 grit long block retaining the perfect lines the team have spent weeks building, followed by masking up and then replicating the priming process again.
Ticking the filler process off the list, this early Series 1 example is ready for paint! With the interior already treated to paint, the shells exterior is masked up, then sprayed with the highly desirable and all-important 2pack solvent-based Pearl Grey. Applying several coats of this classic finish, a high-quality clear lacquer is applied, putting an end to the painting process. The final stage to this time of the E-types restoration, to achieve the perfect finish the E-type it flatted off using 1500, 2000, 3000 wet and dry discs and subjected to numerous hours of polishing granting a highly desired finish.
THE BUILD SPECIFICATION
With the shell painted and polished to match the Series 1 factory original finish of Pearl Grey, this Coupe is handed over to the restoration build specialists to begin its all-important and the bit that our restoration clients enjoy the most - the specification stage. While the owner of this now stunning painted shell wanted to focus on an original appearance, their goal for the running was far from factory. Following discussions with our performance experts at E-Type UK, it was agreed to treat this Coupe with a high-performance upgrades programme, ensuring that speed, handling, cooling, braking and driver comfort are all finished to the highest standard, worthy of competing with today's modern sports cars.
Taking the matching numbers 3.8 straight-six XK engine and actioning a full rebuild and upgrade project, finishing the beating heart of the beast to a full fast road specification, completing the engine with gas flowed head, high lift cams, balanced and lightened crank with lipseal conversion. The gearbox has been recommissioned and safely stored, and in its place, a new 5-speed gearbox is fitted, ensuring less engine strain, precise selection in every gear and creating a perfect all-round gentleman driver, capable of thunderous grand touring and sharp B-road performance and control.
Adding to the drivetrain performance, the IRS has also been given the sports upgrade treatment. Alongside a full reconditioning, the 1960's innovative independent rear suspension has been fitted with sports adjustable shocks, vented discs, billet aluminium adjustable handbrake system, 4 piston billet aluminium calipers and poly bushed all around with uprated cage mounts.
BESPOKE FUEL INJECTION
To further enhance the full performance of the newly installed 3.8l fast road engine, the team proceed with fitting our bespoke straight-six fuel injection system, boasting heritage throttle bodies with concealed fuel injectors, retaining the period aesthetic look. Alongside the EFI system, the E-type engine bay is also treated to an uprated alternator, electronic ignition, high torque starter, crankshaft sensor, high and low-pressure fuel pumps, oil catch tank, air and coolant temperature sensors and removal of the traditional distributor, replaced with an uprated coil pack.
Part of the upgrade programme is improving the driver comfort, this is achieved with the install of a Fresh Air AC system. A bespoke system that replaces the standard airbox and delivers the fresh and cold air via the standard ducting. As the AC is a bespoke unit, other areas in the engine bay require adapting to accommodate, seeing the instal of an additional alternator and 4.2 water pump.
Alongside these fantastic upgrades to what is becoming a unique machine, the team also built up the from suspension and steering, fitting bespoke E-type UK 6 piston calipers with vented discs, ensuring every corner of the E-type performs perfectly with the rest of the set-up.
MILESTONES | FIRST RUN
Following fitting the remaining engine auxiliaries, the fast road, fuel-injected straight-six 3.8 engine is awakened for the first time since starting its restoration. With a successful start and no leaks, the team progresses into fine-tuning the running ensuring optimal performance and reliability. Watch the first start below.
With everything now coming together beautifully it is time to retrim this exceptional Series 1 Coupe! Sent away to our trusted and professional classic Jaguar trimmers, this E-type later returns boasting mouth-watering and contrasting Dark Blue leather. Pairing beautifully with the fresh Pearl Grey exterior and better yet, holding true to its heritage, now matching its finish it left the factory with all those years ago. The finishing touches are applied and the E-type edges ever so close to completion.