Restoring Chassis '54, THE PURSUIT OF ORIGINALITY

PURSUIT OF ORIGINALITY

After finding and sourcing this fantastic E-type, E-Type UK was commissioned to take chassis ’54 back to factory original specification. I don’t think anyone quite expected the levels we would have to go to, to ensure that factory original was maintained but no stone was left unturned in our pursuit of perfection.

Keeping chassis ’54 true to its original factory specification is the key throughout and recommissioning all originals parts on this E-type is really the only way to ensure that we achieved a completely original specification. This meant meticulously stripping chassis ’54 down, understanding the requirements of each part and hours of recommissioning work to ensure the part was ready to be reused.

Chassis ’54 rolled out of the factory in July 1961 finished with an Imperial Maroon exterior, Maroon interior and a Black hood, over the years as is often the case with a car that is now over 55 years’ old, chassis '54 has gone through some changes. When we sourced the E-type it was in British Racing Green with a Beige Interior and Black hood, a far stretch from where it will be once the restoration is complete.

When starting any restoration work, this, of course, begins with the bodywork, taking chassis ’54 back to bare metal showed how well looked after this E-type had been. A car supplied new to Henlys Limited in London and having resided in the UK for all of its life, we had expected worse. Although with the right skills and attention returning chassis ’54 to factory original specification while retaining as much of the original metalwork was not as difficult as it could have been!

We will keep you updated as the project develops and will, of course, provide a before and after look at what has and is proving to be a fantastic project from start to finish, keep an eye on this page and our social media channels for updates.

FACTORY SPECIFICATION

With all E-Type UK restorations, we go through all of the parts before putting anything back. Of course Chassis ’54 was no different, although the emphasis was to ensure that as much as possible was retained and reconditioned.

Ensuring we kept the E-type as original and true to how it left the factory in Coventry has been our driving goal and the build is progressing to a meticulously high standard.

To date we have a completed rebuild of the front suspension. This has been painted black which from extensive research and consulting numerous publications is believed to be the original colour. Indeed, the car came with black front suspension and with no historic receipts for suspension work it could well have been the original!

We have also undertaken the rebuild of the steering assembly. Early cars have a thicker column and different upper column bracket. Rebuilding and reconditioning these parts including the original rack were crucial to achieving the goal of factory original. Even though re-production steering racks are readily available, they would have not been right on this particular E-type.

The bulkhead build up is progressing and a number of early features have been retained, including washer bottle, vac tank and wiper motor. For an E-type of this age, ensuring we retained the original wiper motor with correct date stamp and finished in Hammerite silver was key.

We have also fitted the independent rear suspension (IRS) with the early stubby breather, thicker drive shafts and smaller lower cover plate. Early rear drive units have a shorter breather on the casing and is something that is normally replaced although in this instance we have retained that original breather to ensure the E-type is finished exactly as it would have left the factory.

The engine and gearbox have now been mated to the beautiful bodyshell. A 3.8 Litre XK unit rebuilt to factory specification, we ensured every colour, including the all-important pumpkin-orange cylinder head, were correct on both the engine and Moss gearbox assembly. The engine block is matte black along with the water pump that is connected to the front, the contrast against the polished cam covers and orange cylinder head looks fantastic and we can see why Jaguar first chose this scheme.

We are excited to add the engine ancillaries next to complete the engine bay puzzle before we start the car up for the first time!

HITTING MILESTONES

Our team has been hard at work both researching and rebuilding the engine bay of this stunning 1961 E-Type. As the engine ancillaries are fitted, measures are taken to ensure every nut and bolt is correct for this exact E-Type, as well as the large components. The silver fibreglass air intake is smooth rather than grooved, the heater box has a different style end-plate, the carburettors have a 3-post throttle linkage rather than 2-post, some component brackets are painted in duck-egg grey such as the header tank bracket, and brake fluid reservoir brackets. These are just some of the many differences in the engine bay of a very early E-Type compared to later 3.8 Litre cars.

The wiring is now complete and is mostly the same as all 3.8 Litre E-Types, key parts to include are the black connectors and loom straps with white buttons rather than black. Now this is complete, the car can officially be started and tuned to a base specification.

Chrome and light fitting has begun and the rear is almost complete, this is a very time-consuming job on a standard car, let alone Chassis 54. The chrome is loosely fitted multiple times with any required modifications being made before it is tightened up to fit perfectly. Some key differences with the rear of an early car are: the thinner rubbers that fit between the bumpers and body, the overriders have a sharper edge to them, numbered light lenses and reflectors. The seats frames are now being restored before the interior can be trimmed in stunning Maroon.

A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

The wait is over as Chassis 54' returns looking incredible with its retrimmed Maroon interior finished it period correct Connolly Vaumol Leather. Continuing our pursuit of originality the E-Type has been treated to original and period correct refurbished parts, such as:

  • Extended early lead weight for the roof to stabilise during high speeds
  • Flat dashtop with three early vents and brass bezels
  • Early grab handle with no chrome dash scrolls
  • Correct pitch roadster seats refurbished and finished in duck egg greySolid rear hood chrome
  • Flocked glove box lining
  • Original early steering wheel refurbished

Originality doesn't stop with the visual of Chassis 54's interior, the recently repaired radio console and center console have been prepped before trim in red oxide primer as it would have left the factory in 1961.

Should you be interested in restoring your E-type, please do not hesitate to contact Marcus on 01732 852 762 or email Marcus@etypeuk.com.

THE BUILD UP

Whilst the E-Type was being retrimmed, the bodyshop worked on respraying Chassis 54’s bonnet. With the car now back and trimmed the team successfully fit the bonnet making sure everything lines up perfectly and flows with those iconic E-Type lines. With the E-Type looking whole again, the team starts on bringing the overall look together by building up the exterior chrome work. Nothing is more desirable in today’s market than true originality in a classic car, Chassis 54 aims to achieve this title by being fitted with original re-chromed 3.8 bumpers, early style A post chrome, early 3.8 horns, original light block connectors, and PL headlights.

Pushing for a high level of perfection, Chassis 54' is becoming an enthusiasts dream. Example - the team are reusing original 3.8 over-riders, recognisable to true enthusiasts by the sharp narrow line/ridge running down the center face of the over-rider, today's period correct remanufactured Jaguar over-riders have lost this ridge and instead show a more rounded appearance. It's these details that make this E-Type so pure.

The finish line

Chassis 54 has come along way from when it first arrived at E-Type UK. Taken from Racing Green with Beige interior back to how this early 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 would have left the factory. Now presented in an original Imperial Maroon finish perfectly paired with a matching Maroon interior and hand assembled mohair black hood. This beautifully restored E-Type immediately sends you back to experience a true 1960's luxury automotive design and engineering.

Since completing its restoration, Chassis 54 has been displayed at multiple prestigious concours events including the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace and The Warren Classic & Supercar show, where the E-Type took home Best in Class in the Jaguar category. At every concours event our highly original Series 1 has been warmly welcomed and greatly admired by everyone.