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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: OMG – Almost a Year Since I Last Posted! What is the State of the E-type?

I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since I last posted on the site!  Too many distractions with a new house and workshop, change in my position at work, travel, and spending time on other projects – most notably a 1949/50 Bentley and a 1953 MG TD.  Well  – just to let you know the E-type is in fine shape and I hope to show it this summer.  After some shake-down driving and tuning there are a few things I have attended to that I will post on.  In case you were wondering – here is the car today.   I will update with more pictures and details on some of the finishing work shortly.        

Motorphile

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.  

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Detailing, Driving and Delivery

With the rebuilt carbs, new starter and new cooling tank the Jaguar V-12 drove fantastic. It was a 4-speed and had a lot more torque and power delivered to the rear wheels than my Series II with the automatic transmission.  The interesting thing is that for the Series III E-types they used the long 2+2 wheel base for both the coupe and convertible. So, the feel of the car in terms of size, and the interior comfort was similar to the Series II 2+2.   The use of the long wheel base (9 inches longer all in the door area) allowed Jaguar to put an automatic transmission in the cars and also rationalized everything around one platform. Here are some pictures of the finished and detailed car prior to delivery back to the owner. He has told us that he loves the easy starts with the gear reduction starter and that the car has never run better.  It really is a lovely car – long may it run! Enjoy –             …

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Replace Radiator Tank

We adjusted the carbs to bring the idle down a little and had to do little else for the engine to run smooth and sweet. I decided to clean up the engine compartment a little and got after some of the peeling paint on the exterior of the cooling head tank for the radiator – which is separate from the radiator and located a little aft.  In doings so I discovered a big problem waiting to jump up and bite the owner hard!  The filler neck on the tank was rotten almost all the way through under the pressure cap and just waiting to pop off and blast the coolant out of the system and all over the engine compartment. Clearly this is something to keep an eye out for on these cars.     New tanks are not that expensive so we got a new one from XKs Unlimited and installed that in the car.  I was really glad to have caught that before delivering the car back to the owner!    

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Carburetor and New Starter Installation 3

Well – luck was with us. New starter in place we turned the key, allowed the fuel lines to bring gas back to the carbs, pulled the choke  and after a few tries of the new gear reduction starter the V-12 came alive and ran smooth and strong like a charm!   Wow – it sounded great.  I could not have been happier with the work Sucarbs.com did on the four Strombergs during their long stay there.  I was smiling like the Cheshire Cat!  

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Carburetor and New Starter Installation 2

We boxed up the four Strombergs and shipped them off to Dana Britton at sucarbs.com.  These smog control era Strombergs have tight tolerances and need to be done right. Now, sucarbs.com is super, super busy and it is a long wait. The work is excellent in my experience – but you should phone ahead and get an estimate on time to delivery.  We alerted the owner that this would take some time, In the meantime we stored the V-12. When the rebuilt carbs did arrive they were beautiful to behold – and I could not wait to hear that V-12 purring. Frankly I also wanted the space the car was sitting on – and to make the owner happy by getting the car back to him. Installation of the rebuilt carbs is very straightforward if you keep the plumbing organized and are prepared to adjust the throttle linkage and carb connections to get the idle and throttle response right.  In addition to fuel lines for four carbs, there are things like thermostatic vacuum lines, emissions …

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Carburetor Removal and Installation 1

The Series III E-type we were working on was not running and had a strong smell of gas according to the owner. The V-12 engine has four Stromberg carbs set in two banks.  Once the car was towed in we pulled the air cleaners and found the carb throats loaded with gunk from dried fuel and some damp fuel when the key was turned and the fuel pump started. We did not try to start the car as the carbs on both banks sit over the exhaust – and there was obviously a gas issue. The car had very low mileage (<50,000) and my son’s client was not looking for more than getting it safely running to take to have coffee now and again. Pulling the air cleaners is very straightforward, but there are internal pieces that need to be kept and correctly installed on reassembly. Getting the four carbs off without taking the intake manifolds off is tricky because some of the securing nuts are tough to get to.  It is a world of …