Leaping Jaguar


Surprisingly for a UK car, in our salt infested roads, there was little evidence of rust in this car and no previous accident damage, with all original panels free of distortion, but then, it only covered less than 37000 miles in 27 years.

It had a bare metal restoration in 1997 but not to very high standard, with some repair door panels where the swage line was not as rounded as the original pressings. Nevertheless it looked fantastic and quite pimp, riding in her Wolfrace SlotMags, shod with 215/70 Avons!

I did drive it for few years until I decided than it deserved better gaps and shut lines. I did acquire from JagShop a New Old Stock NOS) bonnet, rear doors, RH front door, rear mudguards lips repair panels, rear quarter panels, rear valance and set of sills, try to buy the front under valance but it was not available at the time, nor the Series I front wings which are in back order from Unipart/Jaguar (for years it seems!). I do keep the original panels plus two front wings as spares which are in quite good condition.

When we started with work, it was found just some slight perforation from rust on the RH inner sill, at the very front, where it meets the front foot well, this has been patched over in the past, as it was the rear seat belt mount points in the rear inner wings. We removed the repairs and let in new metal sections fashioned by hand to render the repair invisible.

I decided then, in order to cope with more power, to re-enforce the sills. As an important structural part of the car, so an heavy gauge metal profile that looks like a Z, as welded fully in between the inner and outer sills, giving more rigidity to the structure, enabling the car to handle better.

Some lead loading had to be done in the RH fuel filler cap area and on top of the tanks and it has very minor rust perforations, probably caused by the car standing and the drain canal being obstructed.

Unfortunately, the company taking care of the sand blasting, despite promises, bent almost all my NOS panels which had only some surface rust from storage, resulting in close to a week's worth of work to gently shape it back to shape, especialy the doors (all four of them). Please consider this as a warning tale to choose very carefully to whom you entrust your precious parts.

After taking the car back to bare metal, including engine bay and boot, we did spray a zinc rich primer in order to stop corrosion in the future. It was painfully to fully disassemble the car but very well worth it as it allowed to re-assembling it back with all new, refurbished or renewed components with stainless or zinc plated fasteners.

I do have to give extra thanks to my good friend Jorge Rocha, a Spies Hecker professional, who prepped and painted the car for such stunning result, taking care of little details that consume a lot of time you don't even notice or see.

Although I did consider painting the car in Electric Blue; as I already had a XJ12 SII in Old English White, my wife insisted in keeping the same colour as I bought the XJ, which was not OEW but some kind of Ivory and very classy it is.

Good thing Jorge managed to custom mix exactly the right shade, giving the car a million bucks look. At least my wife was well pleased and didn't call it a freezer box as it happened on the poor SII painted with the original shade of OEW!

Final gap adjustment still has to be acomplished together with under carriage detailing as well, it will be done as my schedule allows it. I would still love to get old of some NOS front wings but Jaguar/Unipart have been promising those wings for donkeys. The solution for most owners find is to modify the nose cone on a SIII wing, which is quite difficult. I've managed to squirrel away a pair of used wings in good condition, as a precaution.

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