I'd like to call my E-Type my dream car but since it's been in the family so many years it is just part of my life especially since I have reached the senior status. The cart sat for several years and only driven occasionally. The more it sat the harder it was to start and when it did, many of the systems (or components) didn't function as they should. So before I got to old I decided it was time to restore the car back to original or maybe even better if possible. Being an old hot rodder and builder of several award winning custom cars back in the 50's I had leg up so to speak as to what needed to be done and fortunately the ability to nearly all of it myself. Since the car was over 42 years old I felt that I should take it down to bare body and start from scratch. By scratch I mean totally gut the car, repair any rusted area, overhaul the engine, all components I.e: carbs, starter, alternator and all the electrical motors including the transmission and rear end. I ordered a complete new wiring harness from British Wiring for the entire car. Since I was going that far, it seemed only reasonable to order new gages and switches which SNG Barrett fortunately was able to provide. The actual body(Tub)had some rusted areas that was repairable, but the bonnet wasn't worth messing with so a new bonnet was in order as well. The wire wheels were showing some rust especially the spokes so new wheels were in order as well
I can really appreciate all the experience I gained over the years working on cars which enabled me to do nearly every bit of the restoration my self,especially when I read about restoration like what I was doing costing anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 dollars. The only thing I farmed out was the machining of the block and heads. The assembly was really enjoyable. My lovely wife was especially helpful when it came to installing the pistons/rods as well as picking up whatever it was I dropped. She always referred to herself as a goffer since it seems I was always ask her to go for something I needed.
After all the painting was complete it was time to run all the new wiring and systematically check out each circuit to make sure everything was going to work when the car was complete. The new interior and top (hood) was ordered from BAS interiors and quite good except for the seat cushion rubber. It was much to dense and just wouldn't work. I did find a company (World Interiors) that had the proper Latex rubber cushions that worked fantastic.
Now you might wonder why I rebuilt or replaced everything on the car. That is easy to answer. With the car being 42 years old, in my opinion,the only way to have a reliable trouble free car is to either rebuild or replace every thing on the car.Restoring a car can be a pain in the neck but it can also be a since of pride when you get it finished. But if not done properly it can be extremely depressing when things don't work or quit at the most inopportune times like taking a trip and the engine just quits for no apparent reason. Thus the reason to replace or rebuild everything on the car that can fail. Now that doesn't mean that something new won't fail, it is just a matter of lessening the chances.
Now lets jump forward. We finished the car last January 2013 and have driven it over 9000 miles since completion. Everything works perfect, the engine uses no oil and drives like a new Jaguar E-Type should.
In the 9000 miles of driving we have shown the car in 9 car shows. We captured nine first place awards, two best of show and one Judges Best of Class. To top off the year we were fortunate enough to take the JCNA (Jaguar Club of North America) National Champion in Class for 2013.
So even though my attempt in the restoration was primarily to provide a reliable car to driver and enjoy, we also ended up with a show car that we can also be proud to drive. There is such a good feeling when my wife and I take the car out for drive with the top down and not be concerned about not being able to get back home. And that feeling has made it all worth it. And the E-Type is so much fun to drive.