Thursday, 4 October 2012


When I occupied my workshop and completed the 140 restoration, the empty shelves were too much of a temptation for me not to take the opportunity to 'de-clutter' my garage at home.  I promptly filled half the space with various bits left over from previous restorations, mostly parts just a bit too good to bin, with the promise of a trip to the Beaulieu Autojumble one day to get rid.

With the addition of lots of 120 parts now stacked up and ready to fit, all the shelves are pretty well full.  I agreed with Alex at Auto Bodycraft some while back that I would take delivery of, and store the boot lid, bonnet, doors and rear wings once finished, and it looks as if that time is imminent.  I'm just pondering where it's all going to go and I take a phone call.
A lady in a nearby village whose recently deceased husband ran a string of XK's in the seventies and eighties has a few Jaguar bits and pieces she wants rid of.  Would I be interested?  My response ought to be - no thank you, absolutely nothing I need, but amazingly, I hear myself saying - Oh yes, most definitely, with mental images of C type heads, and sand cast carbs.  A couple of days later I find myself in a double garage full of a lifetimes collection of bits, all just a bit too good to bin!  (sounds familiar) Under the bench sits a complete XK engine, two blocks and a head, a shelf above has a mixture of not very exiting SU's.  The bench is piled high with old tools.  The complete engine LA4426 is from a 3.8 MK11 and turns over OK.  One block V7453-8 is from a 150 and the other N9961 is from a MK7 or 8.  The head, complete with cams and covers NE1364-8 is from a MK9 and looks almost new.
Again I hear this other person who is actually me, making a ridiculously generous offer, only to have it rejected!  Phew, that was close.
A week later I get a call asking if I've changed my mind and I explain to this very sweet and quite elderly lady that to pay more would simply mean that she would have all my money and I would have all her storage problems.  Oh she says," I never really thought of it that way, but seeing as you seem to be such a nice young man, I'll accept your original offer after all, as long as its cash".  Properly ambushed, I foolishly agree and collect the bits a few days later.
Now I really do have a major storage problem looming and determine that it will have to be resolved.  Mate Andy has his 120 OTS project stored in one half of a quite large, dry and secure farm building, ten minutes from my home and I enquire if the other half is available for rent.  Yes it is, its around 300 square feet and the rent is £5.00 a week.  Problem solved.  Everything non XK120 including the accidentally purchased engines etc.are transported over and I'm left with plenty of space for the 120 body work bits.

Engines and other bits occupying just a corner of my new fiver a
week storage facility. 
A momentary flash twenty or so years into the future sees some 'nice young man' in my cluttered garage having a conversation with my aged wife Angie, about the best way to dispose of a lifetimes collection of car parts, all just a bit too good to bin!

This diversion and the Digital Switch-Over has meant that I have actually achieved very little in the last couple of weeks, but Alex the body work man has made up for it.  The threat to fix a very large Count Down Clock to the wall next to my bodywork seems to have had the desired effect. I do however, suspect that Alex is in fact a consummate 'brinkman' thinking nothing of starting at 4.00am to catch up, and progress would have been the same regardless of my threatened interventions.

All seams have now been carefully sealed to prevent any
possibility of future moisture ingress

Door ready for paint.
Stone guard on bottom edge blended into face.

Inner rear wing, more stone guard, ready for paint

Very fine stone guard on underside of bonnet, will be painted
satin black as per original.  Note fixings down centre to
accommodate aluminium water deflection plates.
Photo Shoot
Another interesting development stemmed from a chance meeting at the Croft Revival event and a discussion about the problems of photographing cars.  It transpired that the man with the camera was at the end of his final year of a three year commercial photography course, and was looking for a candidate for his final piece of degree work - nine pictures on the theme of Best of British.  What better than  Jaguar XK's.  The clincher was the discovery that in addition to a nice 140 fixed head, I also had a mint rolling chassis in my workshop.   The technical aspects of this project are mind boggling, with very special (and expensive) cameras that can maintain pin sharp focus over varying distances and many different types of lighting.
For my part I have been more than happy to spare the time and generally facilitate some of the more unusual requirements.  To take the required picture of the rolling chassis, the workshop was draped in white sheets and the floor covered in white card. 

My 'snap shot' gives an indication of the preparation required
The entire chassis was carefully cleaned then rolled outside and the tyres were scrubbed spotlessly clean and had some none shiny dressing applied.  To prevent getting the treads dirty on the roll back in they were wrapped in cling film.

It may all sound a little O.T.T. but I have now seen five of the nine images in their final A3 form and would have to say that they are quite extraordinary.  Not really photographs in the conventional sense but more akin to some sort of fine art imagery.  Hopefully with the permission of Mark Johnson, the photographer, I will eventually be able to show them on this blog, but am very aware of the huge amount of time and expense incurred to achieve his goal.  I plan to have a large (48" wide) picture of the rolling chassis framed up and hung on my study wall.

Electric Water Pump Conversion
No, I've not forgotten about this, but it has become rather more involved than I intended.  Rather than butcher the existing water pump I have drawn up a new front plate with water inlet and idler pulley.  Its currently been converted to a CAD drawing for CNC machining but it's likely to go through a few iterations before it's exactly as I want it.  If it looks right and reliably does the job, I may get a few made up and sell them to recover the cost.  If not, it will be quietly abandoned.

Next Post  Mid October

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