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1969 Jaguar E-type For Sale!

September 20, 2017  –  The 1969 Jaguar E-type featured in these pages is now being offered for sale. I have moved to working almost exclusively on Rolls Royce and Bentley cars from the 1930’s through mid-1970’s and want this beautiful E-type to go to a Jag lover who will treasure and enjoy it.  Two owner California car, less than 40,000 miles, bare metal respray and zero rust.  Brakes, suspension, steering, carbs, fuel pump, rubber, chrome  etc., etc, replaced or rebuilt. Restoration documented here in this blog. Original CA license plates and docs since purchase new in January, 1970.  You will not find another like this.


Welcome! Motorphile is an online magazine that focuses on classic cars from 1920’s through the 1950’s and sports cars of all types.  Articles include news, musings and events along with the history of some of the cars.  The main focus is repair, refreshing and restoration that can be carried out by the proficient car buff.


Passing California Smog Test – Replacing the Catalytic Converter and Oxygen Sensor on an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Part 2

Having looked at the high HC, CO and NO numbers on the last smog test two years ago I decided to replace the catalytic converter on a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce (see Motorphile 2016/02/24) before taking it in for a biennial test.  As the unit was clearly rattling when shaken I figured it was time to replace. Now there are so called “49 State” catalytic converters and then there are the 50 State or CARB cats that are legal for use in California.  Often the California legal catalytic converter can cost about double the price of the 49 State model for the same car.  Forget about trying to save money if you live in California by buying the cheaper 49 state model.  First,  the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requires that all legal California model cats be

CARB California catalytic converter with inscribed information required for smog test verification

CARB California catalytic converter with inscribed information required for smog test verification

stamped “D-193-88″  which is the State Executive Order (EO) mandating the higher performance converters.  They will also have a unit number, manufacturing date and arrow indicating air flow.  If the converter does not have these large (5”) stamps on the bottom it is not legal in California and can lead to an immediate Fail on the smog test.  In addition,  the CARB cat is more expensive because it uses more precious metals to achieve lower emissions levels.  You could spend money on a 49 state model and possibly still fail the California test.  In any case, it is illegal to sell 49 State cats in California.  If you are thinking of getting around this on Ebay or Amazon – legit dealers will not ship 49 State catalytic converters to California.

Alfa Romeo Spider catalytic converter and downpipe - one piece unit.

Alfa Romeo Spider catalytic converter and downpipes.

Now for the Alfa the catalytic converter comes as one piece with the downpipes from the manifold included.  It bolts on at the back to the pipe to the muffler.  This means you need gaskets for both ends.  The manifold-downpipe connection is easy to reach from the top of the car with hood open. I would undo this first and then tackle the hangers and the connection to the tail pipe.  If you do not have a lift you can still do the operation of replacing the catalytic converter pretty easily. Jack up the car and place a support under the old pipe so it does not come crashing down.

Alfa Romeo oxygen sensor and mounting point

Alfa Romeo oxygen sensor and mounting point

Another component key in the smog system and test is the oxygen sensor. This is a Bosch unit and is located on the pipe in  front of the catalytic converter unit.  A faulty oxygen sensor can produce high CO readings and lead to failure.  Now is a good time to replace this also – although oxygen sensors can be pricey.  You need to undo the connection to the sensor in the engine compartment before you drop the old catalytic converter.  Use a thread dressing that will not effect the sensor reading.

Once everything is loose you can lower the old unit out of the car.  Place the new oxygen sensor in the holder on the catalytic converter and raise it into place.  Things should fit pretty easily. I used a Magnaflow CARB unit and it fit just fine.

Now came the big test.  I made sure I had fresh high octane gas, an oil change and that the car was running well. All vacuum hoses and other connections were tight. I ran the car fast on the freeway and made  sure the catalytic converter was nice and hot.  The test could not have gone better – below is the report. HC, CO and NO were down to infinitesimal amounts and the Alfa passed with flying colors.

Smog test results and pass for Alfa Romeo Spider

Smog test results and pass for Alfa Romeo Spider



Passing California Smog Test – Example of an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Part 1

In California an older car built after 1975 has to pass a rigorous smog test every two years. If your car does not pass you generally cannot register it for operation on the street.  That year is fixed and means that as time goes on classic cars built after 1975 could be many decades old and will still need to pass the smog test for registration in California.  If a car fails the test you have to repay the $50 or more fee for the test agfer you fix the problem and retest the car. Worse though – that fact is listed on the record and even if the problem is rectified the past failure of the car and could raise concerns with future purchasers.  It is wise to take a close look at the numbers of your test certificate each time you test and note if you are creeping towards a fail.   If so you should take action before two years are up and you need your next test.  For many people, this testing cycle is a disincentive to purchase classic and sports cars built after 1975.

Now, the smog test in California includes a visual inspection to make sure all of the original smog equipment is still on the car, connected and appears functional.  There is a check list the technician will follow for the visual. The timing will also be tested to make sure it is within given parameters.  The inspector will also look to see if there is white or black smoke issuing from the exhaust pipe when the car is running. If you have a newer classic with a Check Engine light – if this light is on during the test it is an automatic failure.  The real test for most cars comes when a probe is placed in the tail pipe and the car is run on a set of rollers at 15 and 25 MPH.  The critical values from this dynamic testing are Hydrocarbons (HC PPM), Carbon Dioxide (CO %)  and Nitrous Oxides (NO PPM).  The Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) given to you when you test shows you the values your car produced, average values for these measures and finally the maximum value allowed.  The maximum values are based on your car’s year, weight and engine size. This is a good thing because it means a 1976 car does not have to meet the more stringent targets set for a 2006 car.  The average values provided are based on the year, make and model of your car.  If your car pumps out more that that maximum allowed value of HC, CO or NO you fail the test.

In terms of general precautions prior to a smog test here are 7 steps –

1. Make sure you have good fresh fuel in the tank and fuel system with appropriate octane rating.  Classic cars may sit for long periods and fuel go off.

2. Put in a new air filter.

3. Make sure all your smog equipment is hooked up and hoses, wiring sensors and wiring connected.

4. Make sure your fuel filter, pump, carb or fuel injection system is clean and functioning well.

5. Put in new plugs and make sure your the rest of your ignition system is in top shape (points clean, wires good, timing and dwell correct etc.)

6. Fresh oil and filter is not a bad idea.

7. Run the car and make sure it is warmed up before the test. If you have a newer classic with catalytic converter make sure it is good and hot by running the car at speed.  The catalytic converter is more efficient when hot.

Your last VIR can provide important information on what measures are creeping towards failure. In addition, you can pay to have a test only analysis that is not forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles ( DMV ) and act on that before taking an official and recorded test.Having specific information on if HC, CO and/or NO is at the failure point can help you diagnose the problem and repair prior to the official test.

High HC –  Poor compression, bad timing or ignition connections, poor fuel mixture, bad air injector (when fitted), bad catalytic converter (when fitted).

High CO – Fuel mixture too rich, injection and smog equipment sensors, connections not functioning (when fitted), engine temperature too low for good combustion, bad catalytic converter (when fitted).

High NO – Fuel mixture too lean, defective smog equipment (when fitted), bad catalytic converter (when fitted).

Two years ago I ran my wife’s 1986 Alfa Romero Spider Veloce (Motorphile Nov. 22, 2010) through its smog inspection and was concerned about high values in HC, CO, NO.  The car passed, but the numbers were not good.  Now, when all three values (HC, CO, NO) are bad and the car is well tuned, with good compression etc. the likely culprit is the catalytic converter.  The cats do break down over time – and in some cases if you shake them you can hear a rattle.   I could hear this on the Alfa.  So, as the next smog check approached I decided to install a new catalytic converter.  Read the next article to see the installation and if the Alfa passed the test or not!






The Auto Collections at The LINQ Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas – Free!


LINQ Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas - Home of the The Auto Collections

LINQ Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas

For anyone interested in classic and sports cars one of the best attractions in Las Vegas lies hidden in the back of the LINQ Hotel and Casino (formerly the Imperial Palace).  The LINQ is located across the street from the iconic Bellagio and its fountains.  Walking through the casino towards the back and the parking structure you will see a small sign and an elevator leading your to The Auto Collections.  The collection was established by former owner of the Imperial Ralph Englestead, who was also a developer of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Current owner Don Williams can often be found at a desk in the Collections.  Here you will find some 200 plus cars on display.  However, the collection is not static – in addition to rotating cars on and off display, most of the cars are for sale and the prices are posted along with the information on the make, year and history of the vehicle. The prices  on my last visit ran between about $14,000 to over a million.  The benefits of this are that collection vaires over time and you will see some new cars if you visit periodically – and of course if you have been lucky at the Casino you can always treat yourself to that vintage Ferrari you have had a hankering for!

The Auto Collections - Vegas

The Auto Collections – Vegas

Cars at The Auto Collections range from pre-war CCCA full classic Packards, post-war Rolls Royce Phantoms and Clouds with custom coachwork, vintage Ferraris, vintage MG, Morgan and other Britich sports cars,  American muscle cars, Corvettes, a few race cars from different eras all the way down to vintage VW Bugs and French sedans from the 1960’s.  There are also some permanent cars in the collection including a 1939 Chrysler owned by Johnny Carson’s father and beautifully restored by Carson as a memento of his youth in the Midwest. Along way there are pieces of automobilia and Americana to look at enjoy as you check out the cars. Give yourself time for the experience.

Competition Porsche 944

Competition Porsche 944

On a recent visit I was particularly taken by a lovely Alfa Romeo Sprint Special, a 1933 Packard 1001 Roadster, a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC prototype,  as well as a Bentley S1 with coachwork by Freestone and Webb and a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Sedanca Coupe with coachwork by James Young.  Some of the more unusual cars on this trip included a trio of VW Bugs used in the most recent Herbie movie, a couple of limos associated with President John F. Kennedy, a 1974 Hong-Qi party limousine from Communist China and a perfectly preserved Bradley GT kit car from the 1970’s.  I remember the Bradley – which was a fiberglass bodied kit that you built on a VW Bug floor pan – as being ‘the kit’ to go for in the early 1970’s.


1933 Packard 1001 Roadster Coupe


1933 Packard mascot


Beautiful Packard

Beautiful 1933 Packard


Alfa Romeo Sprint Special

Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale

Alfa Sprint Speciale

Alfa Sprint Speciale

Alfa Sprint Speciale interior

Alfa Sprint Speciale interior







Now, all this eye candy can be yours to view for free if you print out the pass at the following website – .   But remember, you have to print out the pass and redeem the physical copy. Having it on your Iphone or pad will not work.  So, next time you are in Vegas and have won really big, lost all your money and can no longer spend time at the tables, or simply want a quiet break from it – check out The Auto Collections at the LINQ.


1967 Ferrari 330 GTC prototype

1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Prototype


Ferrari 330 GTC detail








Johnny Carson's 1939 Buick

Johnny Carson’s 1939 Chrysler



Bradley GT kit car




Chinese Party  Hong Qi Limo


JFK era Presidential Limo

FREE PASS COUPON – The Auto Collections Las Vegas



Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Removing and Replacing the SU Fuel Pump

The Jaguar XKE / E-type has an electronic SU fuel pump typical of many British cars of the 1950’s-70’s.  These pumps are simple devices that work on a set of points that activate an electromagnetic field and cause a rubber diaphragm to move and pump the fuel. They are low pressure, relatively robust and can go for long periods of time.  Problems typically include worn points and electromagnetic apparatus, failed gaskets and perished diaphragms.  The ethanol content in modern fuels is thought to be destructive to the older rubber diaphragms.  New ethanol-resistant diaphragms are available as are solid state SU pumps that recreate the look and function of the originals, but without mechanical points.  It is debated whether the old points-based systems are better because you can replace worn points, but when a solid state circuit fails you are stuck.

Failure of the SU pump on an E-type Jaguar can be detected in a couple of ways. First if you turn on the ignition, do not hear an initial set of clicks from the pump as it supplies fuel to the carb bowls and you have no fuel coming to the glass filter bowl you can suspect the pump.  In this case sometimes a sharp tap on the pump body with a spanner or small hammer will free it up and get it working for limp-home use.  Be careful though – it is quite likely the pump will fail quickly while you are driving, the car will stall and the consequences can be deadly if this happens in traffic. Call a tow.

In other cases when the SU pump fails you will hear continuous clicking that does not cease. If you are driving the car it will stall.  You should shut the engine down immediately if the pump starts running on and on.  This can signal several potential problems. First, you have run out of gas and the pump will burn itself out sucking air.  Second, you have some blockage in your fuel line feeding the pump. Again, turn off the ignition.  Third, the rubber diaphragm may have perished and it no longer can move the fuel.  Shut the ignition off. Finally, and potentially most dangerously, you have a leak at the pump gasket or along the lines, filter or carbs and you are pouring fuel out somewhere.  Shut the car off at once and determine where the fuel is leaking.  This can be a huge fire hazard and potentially deadly.  Sometimes leaving the car laid up can allow the float activated valves in the SU carb fuel bowls to seize open and overfill the bowls.  The fuel will then pour out in the engine area.  In some cases though the gasket on the SU fuel pump will fail and in the case of a Jaguar E-type Series II the fuel will then be pouring out at the rear of the car where the pump is located.

The good thing is that on Series II E-types replacing the SU fuel pump is very straight forward and the pump itself is readily available and not too expensive.  You can rebuild the old points type pumps with new points, diaphragm and gaskets – but in terms of time versus cost it might be easier to buy a new unit. I am sure there is plenty of debate on how good the new replacement units are versus the original ones…. you decide. The 1965-1971 E-types use the AZX1307 SU Pump and that will set you back around $130 or so.

Location of SU fuel pump in rear compartment of Jaguar XKE E-type

Location of SU fuel pump in rear compartment of Jaguar XKE E-type

I had run my 2+2 on the pump it came with during the rebuild and early shake-down driving around the local area. I figured on replacing it as a matter of course.  I bought a new pump ready to install when I got around to it and certainly before any lengthy driving. Well, as luck would have it one day I went to start the car to move it in the shop and there was that continued clicking.  I shut it down, smelled fuel, looked at the carbs and saw no leakage, looked at the back of the car and saw a puddle. It was a gasket failure at the pump. It happened suddenly and lucky for me in the shop.

On my 2+2 the fuel pump is located behind a small panel along the side of the right rear storage area (looking at the car from the rear).  That it is mounted behind the trim panels towards the back of the car above the

spare tire well. The little oblong panel is removed by removing two chrome finishing screws.  This panel also gives access to the radio antenna by the way.  If you were going to replace that – now is the time.  Before proceeding make sure that you have disconnected the car’s battery and there is absolutely no other potential source or flame or spark around.  By the way, if the pump failure was signaled by fuel on you garage floor – push (do not start and drive) the car out and clean that up properly first.  I find removing the spare tire cover panel and the spare tire provides better access to the pump than just the little cover hole – and if gas has leaked in the fender well or tire compartment you want to clean

Jaguar SU fuel pump and banjo connections.

Jaguar SU fuel pump with original fuel lines and banjo connections.


it out. You may get some fuel leakage down to under the car when you remove the connections – so you should put something to catch that. Now remove the chrome screws and take of the oblong panel to see the SU pump in all its glory.

The fuel pump is held by a metal mount and there are two banjo type connections that join the fuel pump to the line in and the line out.  There is also power and ground electrical connections.  Make sure to mark these all so that you do not mix them up when reinstalling the pump.  Once the banjo connections and electrical wires have been removed you can unbolt the pump mount and withdraw the pump and mount.  On my pump you could see the gasket that was leaking.  The next stage is to remove the pump from SAM_4568its mount, place the new pump into the mount and reinstall.  There are aluminum crush-washers on the banjo connections. Make sure to replace these with new ones.  Once all is back in and the wires connected, but before replacing the spare tire and oblong cover plate, reconnect the battery and turn the ignition on to test the pump. It should click quite a few times to get fuel from tank to carbs and then quiet down.  You are ready to roll again.

Pumps can be rebuilt. In the case of my pump the holes for the screws that hold the brass cover on the aluminum body of the pump had worn and stripped over time and it was impossible to achieve a seal. So,  installing the new pump was definitely in order.





Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Engine Won’t Run Due to Faulty Low Tension Lead.

Here is a problem that is is pretty common in 1960’s Jaguars and other British cars with the standard Lucas points and rotor distributor.   You are driving along and the engine simply stops or you decide to go for a Sunday and drive and the engine simply won’t start.  Sometimes this problem can be intermittent, but often it is a sudden failure.  You can hear the fuel pump ticking, see gas in the glass filter bowl and know fuel is not the issue. You then test for a spark on one of the plug leads and there is nothing.  The coil and distributor leads are firm, the coil tests ok and the distributor rotor and cap look fine. What is going on?

It is very likely, particularly on Jags of this age that the low tension lead inside the distributor has broken.  This lead is a


Original Jaguar XKE E-type Lucas distributor low tension lead with collar and condenser on left and replacement low tension lead and condenser on right.

special highly flexible wire that connects the condenser and the coil negative terminal to the points.  With time this wire becomes brittle and will eventually break – severing the connection between the ground terminal on the coil and the points.  No connection equals no spark.  The good thing is that the low tension lead is easy to replace and cheap – these can be bought for $5 to $7.  The same replacement low tension lead serves everything from Aston Martin DB6’s and Jaguar E-types to humble Austins and the Triumph GT6. Although a regular piece of thin wire can be used  as a very temporary patch if you stall on the road – regular wire will break relatively quickly as it flexes.



Testing  the coil and Lucas distributor low tension circuit on a Jaguar XKE / E-type

You can check if the wire and points are functioning by connecting a test light between the low voltage positive lead coming into the coil and the low voltage negative lead coming into the coil from the distributor and then crank the engine over.  First test that you have power in the low voltage positive line by attaching one line from test light to it and turning on ignition and grounding test light to the engine. If it does not light you have no power coming to coil – check upstream in ignition system. If it does light, then connect test light to the ground  lead from distributor to coil, crank the engine and if the test light does not goes on and off as the distributor cam rotates than you can assume that the problem is in the points or the low tension lead.



Broken low tension lead on original Lucas distributor collar.

As originally equipped the Lucas distributors had a plastic collar between the cap and the body and the lead was attached to this.  Replacement leads typically just clip to the side of the distributor.  The low tension lead is also connected to the condenser – so this is a good time to replace that also – of course you may want to look at your points, rotor and cap. The replacement low tension lead and condenser being installed in a distributor is shown below and should provide many more miles of motoring at a reasonable price. This is the kind of replacement that should be done as a matter of course if you do not know the history of the car.