Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

December 9, 2007


Filed under: 1962, auto restoration, E-Type, Jaguar, XK-E, XKE — Penforhire @ 2:48 pm

Everyone has them. But I took photos to prove it.

Let’s see. A week ago I went to the largest car swap meet I ever saw, put on by George Cross and Sons held eight times a year at the LA County fairgrounds in Pomona. I had no idea how big it was. Some of the hot rodders at work suggested it and I should get there early (show runs something like 5:30 to 11 AM). So here I am, driving into the lot at o-dark-hundred (5:30 or so), temperature in the high 40’s degrees F (!), wondering why the heck are dozens of other cars doing funneling through the gates of the parking lot with me?

Naturally it still is dark and I have no idea even where the ticket gate is. Fortunately I just had to follow the crowd. After I buy a ticket and enter the show I still have no idea where anything is. All I can see is a “main street” that extends as far as I can see and everyone is walking toward the far end. I see side rows of campers but with no lights I can’t tell if I am supposed to walk down into these dark alleys.

I’m humping along for twenty minutes or so and it is starting to get light just as I reach the car entry gates on the OTHER side of the whole fairgrounds. At this point I realize, yes, all those rows I passed are filled with people selling stuff!

The advertising for the show claimed seventeen miles to walk! I thought they were kidding. No, I think they were right. I was pooped after three hours of walking and I figure I saw 1/3rd of the show. There were parts and tool vendors for just about anything you could imagine. As long as it was an American machine and preferably Chevy.

I wondered why EVERYONE was pulling a big red wagon around. Until I noticed I was maybe a mile or more from where I parked and I might want to buy something heavy, like an engine.

Here’s an example vendor. That symbolizes what I’m talking about.


This guy is selling nothing but transmission yokes. How specialized is that?! There were folks walking around wearing sandwich board signs like, “I need parts for a 1962 Cadillac.” I suppose that’s a good way to make connections at the show.

Anyway, I tried to take photos showing the enormity of the show but I failed to capture the “lost on another planet” feel of it.

If you want to buy a hot rod go to this show! There were more mean machines for sale in one place than I could have imagined. In no particular order (I got jaded staring at literally hundreds of fine vintage machines) —




They had entire parking lots dedicated to specific breeds and/or years of car for sale and for show —

Here’s the Corvette lot, still filling up because it was early.


Here’s pre-1975 VW’s —


Here’s the Porsche lot —


Those lots were unusual because they represent foreign cars. Multiply that by ten and you get the domestic lots (this one just starting to fill) —



Well, I did not find any Jaguar parts. I did buy some Wenol metal polish and assorted small tools, like a rod saw (grit-on-rope). I spotted vendors selling used Craftsman tools and noticed new Gear Wrench prices about half the lowest price I can find on e-bay.

I also talked to a couple of local chrome plating shops. For one shop, I spoke with the owner’s son because the owner doesn’t speak English. Hey, they’ve probably got the right labor rate for me! Another shop just does bumpers. None of my other trim, just bumpers.

Oh why couldn’t I pick a 1950’s Chevy to restore? Freshly rebuilt engines were overflowing at the show, running maybe $1,800 to $3,000. Hoit rodded engines with monster blowers on top (and engine dynos north of 700 HP) still cost less than a specialist stock rebuild of the XK motor. Sigh.

Quite a show. I need more excuses for not showing progress right? How about bottling my beer into 22 oz bottles (why mess around) and making up fancy labels?


I don’t know if it is beer or cat piss yet but I will in two weeks. Sure smelled good in the bottling bucket and it tasted okay (for “green” beer).

Not enough excuses? How about, my stepson got married? From the printed invitations —


Did you know the parents of the groom have to buy the rehearsal dinner? What a crock! Could be worse. The parents of the bride paid for a formal reception at Fort MacArthur and it was awesome. That is an active Air Force (used to be Army) housing base in San Pedro so they had an Air Force sponsor, I believe on Kristin’s (wife’s) side. There were about 150 guests and an open bar all afternoon! Personally I wouldn’t want to spend more for a wedding than the floral arrangements alone cost them. Call me Scroge.

And at least we didn’t have to drag our wedding present to the hall. We has already dropped off a big screen TV we got for them at their new apartment. They’ve been dating over seven years, since start of college, and are now moving in together. She works at UC Irvine so they got on-campus housing. After he passes the CA Bar exam we figure they’ll be able to afford to live wherever they want.

Funniest moment — at the rehearsal dinner Brian presented his three guys in the wedding ceremony with custom bobble-head statues. Did you know that if you take someone’s head-shot photos from the front and side you can get a molded bobble-head doll that looks like them? They were incredible likenesses. Still makes me chuckle.

Anyway, I didn’t take pictures because they had a real pro photographer covering it and my wife’s family is camera-nutty even without me. Did I ever mention that at our wedding my in-law cousins had a digital slide show of our wedding up and running at the start of our reception? Yeah, that nutty. So it was a paparazzi-fest even without me. I just wanted to enjoy it. So I have no photos to share. The pro was a busy man though. He had three cameras hanging off him and his assistant was shooting a fourth! You could tell he knew his business just from his posing directions, speed of activity, and attention to backgrounds.

The Bishop that performed the ceremony just about raised my wife’s family (and baptized Brian!) and my wife kept referring to him as “Father Joe, gasp, no I mean Bishop Joe.” And there was some to-do over my wife and I getting him gift cards for local fine restaurants because my mother-in-law thought a cash gift would be gauche. Pffft! Like there’s any difference? The ceremony was fine, except even WITH a rehearsal they forgot to light their “unity candle.” We all said they were cursed now. And what was up with the overhead speakers in that church? Brian’s voice sounded just like Michael Jackson when he said his vows.

The tables at the reception were all named for Brian & Kristin’s favorite movies. My wife’s mother was sitting at the Psycho table and we all thought that was appropriate. She only grabbed the in-law dad’s ass once. He is retired from owning his own sail-making business (you can earn a living making sails?) and quite a bit more, um, conservative than my wife’s family. My wife and I sat at The Sound of Music.

Sooooo. We’re not done with excuses. This weekend was the Cycle World International Motorcyle Show in Long Beach. BMW Joe and I go together every year. Well, this morning he had some sort of ticket snafu and I only met up with him as I was leaving the show! Gary and Italian Joe were rumored to be at the show but I couldn’t find them.

The hockey-hall was filled with custom bikes. Here’s the “V-Rex” —


How about a 1971 BMW R75/5 cafe racer.


Very bastardized and it made me feel good about the semi-originality of my 1973. This one looked the business though.

Here’s the Andreas Ducati. Very odd styling and the exposed pulleys on both sides of the bike make it look like a death-on-scarves machine.


The main hall was filled as usual with the latest and greatest. Here’s a good looking trike from, I believe, a Korean company (might be Chinese).


Hyosung, a Korean company, is making inroads to America with their bikes. Their styling is better than some of the big boys but I’m sure we’re all wary of the first generation Korean machines. Anyone remember Hyundai’s first cars in America? Several friends in New Yourk bought them but they didn’t last one winter on their salted roads!

Paiggio’s MP3 scooter is now up to 500 cc’s!


This is not a trike since both wheels actually lean. Gary test rode the smaller one last year and loved it. 500 cc’s will make it a real choice for commutes here in America. I didn’t get a photo of it but there was also a fully electric MP3 at the show. I’m not sure if that is production-ready yet but the same company has a ready-to-buy electric bike (70 mile range, house plug recharge, 0-60 in 6.8 seconds, freeway capable). Too cool!

Check out the rear end on this Triump Speed Triple (mechanic’s porn, I know) —


Those pipes are sexy and the whole white accented look was sharp to my eye.

Boss Hoss is calling me with their V8-powered barstool. No, really —


That looks just dangerous enough for me to want to try it.

Here’s a close up of a Bimota Tesi front end.


This is not new but is still an amazing mechanism for steering a bike. Various efforts at hub steering have failed over the years — Yamaha RADD on their GTS, ELF on a Honda (if I recall correctly), Triphonos (a fellow in the U.K.) — but they’re all neat.

The customer lots were full of stuff to see as well —


So I come to the end of this week’s excuses. Busy times.

1 Comment »

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    Comment by Aldo — November 13, 2013 @ 7:08 am

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