Summary of Restoration Project
Nice, South of France with an E-type, is there anything better out there? This restoration is to bring this E-type back to its former 1961 glory. Currently finished in cream as opposed to its original Opalescent Gunmetal Grey...
Restoration work on this 1961 3.8 OTS E-type begun as we started by stripping the car back to a bare shell. Leaving the factory on the 7th December 1961 and dispatched to New York, USA on the 21st December; makes this 1961 E-type an early example with a number of early defining features such as flat floors, aluminium dashboard and visible bonnet louvre outlines.
With a Chassis number of 876327, this E-type was originally finished in Opalescent Gunmetal with Oxblood Red Interior and Black Hood. At some point, it was resprayed in white before it made its way to our customer in the South of France who has commissioned the restoration back to original specification.
We will be stripping the E-type down to a bare shell and taking this early 61 E-type back to bare metal. Once back to bare metal we will undertake all necessary amends to bring ensure this original Opalescent Gunmetal shines and shimmers once again in the French sunshine.
During the removal of the parts we will be rebuilding and recommissioning all parts for this build which will include a full rebuild and refitting of the original MOSS Jaguar gearbox that is currently with this matching numbers E-type.
We look forward to restoring this E-type to its factory specifications and creating a flawless car that can be appreciated and admired for generations to come, stay tuned for more updates as we continue the build.
The Hidden Horrors – Why Sand Blasting Is Essential
From the day this flat floor example Series 1 E-type rolled into our workshop we had been amazed at how nice the car was; due to its overall condition compared to many other cars we get through the door for restoration (most of which look like they came off the production line and drove straight into the sea). A beautiful and rare car that was looking to be a very nice restoration, after we had stripped it down to a bare shell, it was sent off to be sand blasted.
Once it came back from the sand blasters, the shell was still looking to be in lovely condition and as Bob put it : “it’s the nicest car we’ve ever had back from the blasters”. The bodywork and paint process was looking to be over in record time for this OTS E-type.
It wasn’t until much closer inspection when we began to notice some parts of the car weren’t quite as nice as we thought. This 3.8 E-type has had previous, cheaply-done repairs, most likely when the car wasn’t as rare or sought-after as it is today. These bits of bodywork will need to be put right in order to make the car perfect once again.
The amount of time this early E-type will spend in the bodyshop is longer than we expected but is still one of the better ones we have encountered. Our team is always prepared for any possibility and nonetheless this flat floor E-type will be as perfect as any other restored by E-TYPE UK.
Never judge a book by its cover!
Bodywork Gets Well Underway
With the bodyshop being exceedingly busy recently, the main shell of the E-Type must wait a few months before work can begin. Whilst this is happening, all parts that have come from the original car are stripped down and restored, the engine is rebuilt and repainted to original specification along with the gearbox and rear suspension/diff unit. A brand new flat floor is fabricated with sills in order to go straight onto the original car once the time comes.
Every panel with rust or accident damage is replaced, therefore the shell is cut up into its main components before being joined to its new floor. Once the bodyshop team gets stuck into a job, it begins to progress very quickly. With the finishing touches on the inner structure to be applied next, the outer panels are then to be welded on piece by piece before the car can go to the filler room for paint preparation.
This early E-Type has come very far in just a couple of weeks, being a pile of metal on the floor. Our bodyshop team has pieced together a puzzle very well-known to them, and the visual award for completion is much greater than a pretty picture!
Sand, Check and Repeat
The Series 1 has since moved to the filler room ready for bodywork preparation before entering the paint stage. Our specialist bodywork team first prep the surface by scotching the metal work to create a key. Next the filler is applied to the damaged or blemished areas on the metalwork, at this point the team run the fine line between not enough and too much. Once all required areas have been attended to, the surface is evened out, any excess filler is removed and the shell is left to cure, the team will leave the shell in this stage until the surface has a non-stick feel to the surface. The bodyshop team have a saying when it comes to the sanding stage ‘sand, check and repeat’ catchy we know, it’s important at this stage not to rush as too much or little sanding will result in an uneven surface and ruins those all-important desirable E-Type lines everyone sorts after. Finally the team mock assemble the body chrome and fittings to be sure there are no gaps and everything is up to snuff.
A Fresh Coat To Glory
As you know this Series 1 came to us from Nice, South of France, spending its days bathing by sunny beaches and enjoying long smooth drives on those stunning coastal roads. With a tear in its eye the E-Type gave up the sun for a change of scenery and made its way to the Kentish countryside, such a move deserved a change of colour. Arriving in Kent in its Cream finish it was decided to restore the E-Type Series 1 to its original factory colour, the now iconic and highly desirable Opalescent Gunmetal Grey. The Jag has been through our professional and specialist paint booth and the team have done an incredible job taking the car back to its original 1961 glory. Fun fact, the colour ‘Opalescent Gunmetal Grey’ was only a factory colour for Jaguar E-Types manufactured from 1961-1964 (according to Anders Ditlev Clausager’s book ‘Factory Original Jaguar E-Type’).
On to the next step - Assembly.
With its lovely new lick of paint, the Series 1 3.8 returns to the workshop ready to be re-assembled. So far the car has had its front suspension and IRS built up, before installation the IRS cage is trailed fitted in our bodyshop is ensure perfect alignment so there aren’t any nasty surprises that will delay final fitting. Our Jaguar specialist team have now successfully installed the rebuilt, to original spec, engine and gearbox which married up to the chassis perfectly. The engine bay build-up continues along with associated auxiliary parts such as modern dynator, brake fluid revivors, original 3.8 bellows petal box, early heater box, original steel brake lines and header tank. The E-Type is currently in a 'dry' state, meaning the car is currently without fluids, this ensures a clean workspace during fitting, the next step will be testing electricals, introducing fresh fluids and installing exterior chrome and fittings.
Milestone - The First Drive
Our 1961 Series 1 hits a huge milestone as it takes its first steps off the ramp and out the workshop. The team had fitted the necessary mechanicals to get the E-Type out for its first run around our Kent based facility and we are pleased to say it was a tremendous success!
All systems ran perfectly including the recently installed Fosseway Cooling system. In preparation for the cars first drive, our specialist team had built up all the essential engine bay, introduced fresh fluids and tested the electricals. On top of this, the car has also been fitted with a temporary drivers seat and exterior chrome such as door handles, frames, rear bumpers, windscreen chrome and taillights.
The successful test drive allows the team to check for any unusual knocks and bangers, as well as ensuring all systems are functioning correctly before starting fitting the interior, bonnet and other remaining exterior panels.
Ready to Trim
The E-Type rounds the corner of final touches, the brightwork has been completely built up and is running beautifully without fault. With these boxes now ticked the Series 1 is ready to be sent off to trim. With the decision made to keep the interior original, the E-Type will be re-trimmed in its factory Red combination.