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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Chrome and Trim Removal for Painting. Part 1

Although the E-type may look like a pretty simple and unadorned car – there is actually a lot of chrome trim that has to be removed for painting. In some cases if you are not careful you can damage or destroy some pricey bits of shiny metal. So here are some pictures and tips for stripping the chrome and other trim pieces from the E-type in preparation for body work, blocking and painting.

To start with some easy big stuff – the Series II bumpers are very straightforward to remove. Have a look under the bumpers and you will see the large bolts holding then to the body. This is a relief compared to Series I cars in which the gas tank has to be moved as the rear bumpers are bolted on from inside the car.

One of the large bolts securing E-type Series II bumpers. They all can be accessed from the exterior of the car from beneath the bumpers.

Let’s take a look at removing the lights. It is also easy to remove most of the exterior side marker and front turn signal lights. Simply undo the chrome screws that hold the plastic lenses and then undo the interior screws holding the chrome fixture and the rubber seals to the car. Now  here is a tip. On the Series II and III cars it is really important to take off the chrome turn signal fixtures on the front of the hood in order to get at the nuts that secure the thin chrome finishing strips around the headlamps. There is no other way to remove the headlight trim strips.

Side light removal is easy. In the case of these rear ones they were just reflectors on my Series II.

The rear brake and turn signal lamps on the Series II E-types are not one of Jaguars crowning glories. As the money ran down they could not afford their own fixtures, so they used a Lucas brake and turn signal unit being used by Lotus(!)  The units are not the most elegant chunks of chrome and plastic hanging as they do below the rear bumper.  Once the lens is removed you have to remove the chrome side cover in order to get at the back of the small bolts holding the tail lamp in place. Be careful not to distort the chrome side cover when you pull it free.

Jaguar E-type Series II chrome side-cover for tail lamp removed to access small bolts that secure the lamp fixture.

The headlamps are pretty straight forward to remove – except for one really important point… The chrome bezels (head light rims) for the head lights have to be very carefully pried off the light fixture. You gently pry upward and forward from the top of the bezel to release a clip holding it to the light fixture. When doing this it is REALLY  easy to chip the chrome at the back topside of the bezel with whatever you are using to pry to bezel off (don’t ask how I know how easy it is to chip the chrome….  Now, you can load up the top of the bezel with something like duct tape to cushion any slip.  Here is some really good news… the Jaguar E-type head light bezels used on the Series II cars are identical to the MGB bezels – and MGB parts are really cheap compared to Jaguar supplied items. You can get brand new head light bezels on Ebay for a song if you look for MGB ones.

Removing the head lamp bezel from a Jaguar E-type Series II – it is the same unit as used on the MGB!

Unbolting the head light fixtures is straight forward after the bezels (exterior trim rings) are removed. Once the head lights, fixtures and dishes are off the car you have to remove the large aluminum brows that sit on top of the lights.  There are a couple of screws at the front – but here is a word of caution! The top headlight brows are also attached at the rear by tabs that run in the space between the side fender and hood top. That is the same channel in which the chrome bead at the top of the front fenders run. Do not try to pry off the aluminum brows with that back tab fixed between the fender and the hood top – you will ruin and expensive piece of trim. So – to make your life easier, you can open the hood and from inside the hood loosen all of the bolts that hold the fender to to hood. Do not remove these bolts – just loosen them so you can straighten the tabs at the bottom of the trim strip and then remove the chrome trim strip from the channel and also then remove the head light brows. make sure to find and straighten all the tabs or you can ruin the trim strip when you pull it up and off the fender.

Loosen the bolts holding the fender to the hood and bend tabs straight to remove the chrome trim strip from above.

The head light brow and tabs holding it to fender and hood. Release the tabs from inside the hood or you will ruin the brow trying to remove it.

Bolts loosened, tabs straight and chrome trim strips are easy to remove.

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