Restoring an early RHD Jaguar E-type, Chassis 54

Summary of Restoration Project

E-Type UK have been commissioned to restore chassis 54 back to completely original specification preserving and recommissioning all parts. Chassis 54 was originally distributed to Henlys Limited of London on the 14th July 1961, one of the very first RHD Jaguar E-types.

March & April 2017

After finding and sourcing this fantastic E-type, E-Type UK were 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 body work, 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 metal work 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.

 

 

May & June 2017

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!

 

E-Type early suspension build for chassis '54

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!

 

 

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.

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