Leaping Jaguar


When I started this restoration, I never thought it would escalate to such mind blowing amount of work, time and money. It just shows we should never underestimate the cost in our lives, not only materially but mentally!

Through reading and experienced kindly passed from seasoned professionals, I did acquire several different skills that I thought I didn't possess.

So if you're envisaging restoring a car or a bike, I wholly recommend it as learning curve, not only about mechanicals, bodywork, electrical and so on but also as self discovery journey.

For more details, please click on the text links overhead for different restoration areas.

Interior pic sepia

Perhaps in hindsight I should have left the Jaguar as it was, I mean, she enjoyed a bare metal restoration a few years previously albeit not an outstanding one, but those panel gaps kept nagging me as well the pitiable interior.

In October 2001 I decided to take the car off the road and entrust the bodywork to a promising young panel beater who showed great result on my XJ12 SII. After few false starts I finally managed to wiggle it unfinished out of his hands to send it to my painter in May 2003.

Unfortunately, my painter, Jorge Rocha who is an excellent professional, could not meet the target to paint the car in order to assemble it back together before August 2003, my wedding date. I was forced to swap engines in order to get my XJ12 SII to Croatia!

Nevertheless, it worked best for my benefit as Jorge was able to paint the car with great care and attention to the detail and allowing me to prepare the assembly back together instead of relying on outside people who probably wouldn't go to so such great extent as I did.

First thing was to tackle the engine (swapped from the XJ12 SII) and unsurprisingly, few months without any coolant seating on a workbench and years of neglect showed its toll. The cylinder heads were an absolute pig to remove, my father had to fabricate a special tool (identical to Jaguar's) to remove the head and only after one week of liberal doses of Wurth Rost Off Ice and WD40.

I had a bit of nightmare with the electrical installation and A/C -heater controls as I did not disassemble the car and all the bits were in boxes; it was a giant puzzle to figure out which where which. I spent many hours looking at my special folder with photocopies of the parts manual (so we don't dirty the original book) trying to figure out where the parts fit or what was missing.

Vast majority of non-structural and non-stress fasteners were replaced by A2 and A4 stainless steel, all other proprietary components were cleaned, blasted and Bright Zinc Plated or Powder Coated, according to the original finish.

Few items as door hinges and bonnet locks I prefer to Zinc plate it instead of the original painted look as the years pass, these components start to look shabby as paint chips off.

A few words of advice is to disassemble everything by yourself and label it, be it in boxes or plastic bags, take pictures of everything, do not underestimate the most trivial of items.
Be organized, if needed, sort all fasteners and components in a big table or bench by style, shape etc, it will help you figure out where the item belong to, especially fasteners, by their number, you can easily realise it came from a sump or from a door hinge.
Read carefully all manuals and advice, do not rush, you may regret it when you forget some bolt and have to take everything apart again!
Lastly, do not to pay anything in advance and do not rely on so called professionals to do the job on time. Do chase them and be demanding of good workmanship, my experience with the panel beater and the upholsterer has left me with a bitter taste. After all, is your money and if it has to be done, that may be done once and for all.

Engine front 2 sepia
Rear wing paint prep sepia

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