Author: G M MacDonald

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.    glenmmacdonald@gmail.com

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 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”) …

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 …

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

Lim 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 …

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 …

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 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 …