1968 JAGUAR E TYPE
Of all the cars I have and had, the E-Type is hands down my all time favorite. Ever since I was 8 years old and saw my first Signal Red, Saddle interior, XKE I knew I had to have one. The car I have is still in the process of being restored. During the early 80's at the age of 24, with savings from my first job, I went out in search for my first E-Type. Found a Lotus dealer in Montclair NJ who had one. It was a Blue series 2 and was in average condition. As I was looking it over, the owner suggested that I look at the new Lotus Esprit. This was a $35K car and I laughed saying all I had was about $20K and that I was looking at the Jag. The Jag was then a 13 year old car and was still devaluing, no collector status yet, and then the owner swings me over to a Silver and black 1980 Lotus Esprit with 12K miles and tells me that for only $18K I could have this car. Now, you have to understand, The Jag was really used and showed it. Scratches in the paint, worn leather, and the engine was smoking a bit. The Lotus was like brand new. So I ended up driving the Lotus home and thought, oh well, the jag will always be there. I would just have to save up again and most likely be cheaper. Those who know car history knows what happened next. The Lotus became worthless and the Jag shot up in price during the 80's to $100K and over. Sigh. Thought my dreams of owning one was over. Then in 1991, the economy turned and finally, the XKE's lofty prices began falling. Not to pre 80's prices, but it became within reach again. After months of searching, I found one in Staten Island. The guy owned two or three of them in bad shape, wrapped in tarps in his side yard. He still was asking too much for them and I think he was kicking himself for not selling them earlier. But after hours of haggling I finally scored my first Jag, a 1968 OTS E-Type that had fully rusted rockers, floors, thrashed interior, ripped top, and it looked like it was sitting for years under that tarp. But the motor ran and we took a short drive up and down the block and it held together. The car was originally Opalescent Green with black leather, but during sometime in it's life, it was repainted a ginger brown metallic that was all so popular in the 70's and looks so terrible now. Fully dismantled the car down to every nut and bolt and started the restoration process. Rebuilt the motor, and trans. Cut out all the rust and installed NOS panels and repainted the car in Porsche Guards Red (Signal Red was way too Orangie for me) with the intention of getting a saddle interior. While it was an on and off restoration, it was a labor of love. I restored so many cars in between, but the Jag was one of those that everything had to be perfect and correct. The early restoration pictures I had were all lost when my computer hard drive crashed in the 90's so I can't show you all the body work and motor rebuild sequences, but only what I have been recently doing as I am on a mission to finish up the car. The leather has been purchased from OSJI, the Body is done, but the motor and trans is still out of the car and the rear has to be detailed. Still working on small bits but should have it done in another year. I work outside the country so I only have a month or two each time I come home twice a year. I also picked up a correct triple SU carb set up as the 68 Euro spec still had them. The Strombergs for US emissions just doesn't cut it. But had to also change the exhaust manifold and valve covers to complete the change over.
Dash restoration was done during my Thanksgiving/Christmas break 2011. Everything was fully disassembled, cleaned, repaired, and touched up. the original vinyl looked terrible and I was planning to recover it, but after a thorough cleaning, it was like new. The battery powered clock was repaired by JagClocks and a quartz movement was installed.
The vacuum tank was the next inside winter task. Simple enough, sand blasted tank, checked for leaks, and then spray painted glossy black. Didn't bother getting the surface completely flat as the tank is hidden behind the masters and frame. As I recall, it was bear to get out.