Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

May 24, 2008

Muckenthaler Car Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Penforhire @ 5:17 pm

There was a very good showing at the annual Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival, maybe 150 for Sunday’s concours. It was beastly hot though. I got out of there before noon and it was already about 94 degrees!

The LA Jaguar club did not disappoint. There were eight or nine E-types! Unfortunately the earliest was 1964 and none had aluminum-faced interiors. I’ve got more pics than I’m showing here. These are just the highlights. I did closely examine a top-condition 1964 OTS though.

Check out the super-clean engine. Hey, he polished up his bright bits too!

I even rolled around on the ground.

Here are a couple of others in the same group —

I even got to chat up some of the owners. The cross-section of people was interesting. That black ’64 I crawled around was supposedly restored by a team of three pros working for over a year. I don’t imagine restos get much more expensive than that. At the other end of the scale, that green FHC’s owner did most of his own work and we chatted about part suppliers, rechroming, 5-speed trannies and such. He dove into it without really researching anything. He had learned only recently that the Amco bars were not original Coventry items. His end result still looks bitchin’.

Overall I’d say the owners were my age or older, with just a couple of younger guys.

Here are some of my other favorites from the show, in no particular order. How about an orange Z28? I don’t think I captured this retina-burning color well enough.

This here is a Shelby GT500, the real deal. Not one of those kit cars or the embarassingly expensive and incapable new model.

Here is a Group 4 Pantera. You have no idea how much I lusted after the similar Group 5’s back in the day!

Here’s a nice group of classic Datsun Z-cars, known as Fairlady Z’s overseas.

This Porsche 917 looked a little out of place, too close to public streets! I’d still like to take it for a spin.

How about a hard core Mini Cooper? Check out the spare tires on the roof rack and the rally lights up front. Not one of those yuppie Mini’s now produced by BMW. This one has hair on its chest!

Here’s a gorgeous Packard Custom 180. I have no idea if that was the original model or if that means it was customized. But this one stood out from a gaggle of other art deco cars.

This ’59 Caddy El Dorado was as big as a whale! Lanes must have been wider back then?

And the obligatory gaggle of vettes —

There was so much more to see and the rolling hills of the museum grounds were great. Check it out next year!

Here’s another bright spot since my last post. My stepson Brian passed the California Bar exam! It was his second attempt but I wasn’t worried. I got him Lamy’s understated yet exotic Dialog 2 pen in anticipation of his passing. Ordinarily he’d get sworn-in in a group ceremony but the law firm he’s working for needed an esquire ASAP so they arranged a ceremony during a superior court session. The judge was nice and allowed photos —

Back in my garage, I did promise you some polishing and I always deliver. Here is the left side valve cover and I think I’m done.

No, it is not perfect. Especially compared to those show cars I just saw. But these are easy parts to revisit later if I decide to refine my work.

By the way, Joe and Bob both agreed the best solution to the cracks in the valve cover is probably to have it welded on the top side and then grind it back to proper shape. I’ll probably do that down the road. Patrick’s comment on my last post must be correct that whoever cracked it just didn’t use new copper washers. They are difficult to re-use without leaking. I need new acorn nuts in addition to the washers. I cleaned the rust off my nuts but they appear to be chrome plated. The missing and pitted chrome is obvious.

I may or may not get more work done this holiday weekend so we’ll post this as-is because those cars sure stand on their own! See you next time.


  1. Hi, I polish sterling in my own work with sterling silver. So when you say “polish” do you mean using a buffing wheel mounted on a motor attached to a work bench and applying a 120 grit polish or what ever grit you choose to the wheel and hand polishing the metal? Thanks, Martin

    Comment by martin Isaacson — May 25, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  2. Nice cars; nice car show! But man, I hate that kind of heat too! Not that it matters as the E is perfect, but Series-1 coils were all silver. Good luck with trying to grind down welding on top of covers…that’s going to really be tough. I’d be keeping my eyes on EBay for a set that is not cracked. Congrats to your step-son.


    Comment by mcload — May 25, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  3. Thanks Patrick!

    Martin, my next-to-last step is as you describe, emery grit on a sewn polishing wheel, 6″ diameter at about 4K RPM.

    Unfortunately before that I had to sandpaper or surface-grind the light pitting and corrosion off. My final step is a hand-applied metal polish. I happen to be using Wenol paste but there’s a bunch of similar formulas (they all produce black residue on the cloth).

    I tried an un-sewn polishing wheel (buff) with finer grits too but hand-applied metal polish seems to get me to the same place with less effort.

    For parts that don’t get too hot, like the carb bells I also apply wax to help protect the surface. Not sure if valve covers get too hot for wax to remain.

    Comment by penforhire — May 25, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  4. Good luck on your project. I have many photos of early series one E-Types, including many of my 61OTS. I am a former tech from XK’s Unlimited and am available to answer any questions you may have. My 61 restoration was completed in 2006, and has taken several first and second place trophies. (second due to tires, I have modern size radials on my car, as I like to drive it.)
    As for the valve covers, weld them from below, and grind back enough to allow proper fit to cam towers. With careful installation, there is no need to weld the top. getting a good clean weld on the top is very difficult, due to the contamination that will be present in the aluminum at the crack.

    any questions, mail me at atascaderokid
    Dave W

    Comment by Dave Waldman — May 29, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  5. Thanks Dave! XK’s Unlimited is one of the two shops that I would love to be able to afford to do the heavy lifting on my resto. The other is Classic Jaguar but I’m only a few hours drive away from XK’s U. As an ex-insider do you have anything good or bad to say about them?

    In my case the valve cover is already welded underneath. I showed the weld in a prior post. i was just thinking I could get a better cosmetic finish, to hide the cracks. But you’re probably right. I can see epoxy residue in there now I can’t get out.

    Got any links to photos of your cars or a personal website to share with other readers?

    Comment by Penforhire — May 29, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  6. Well, since you brought up Classic Jaguar, I thought I would offer up the following blog to read. It is quite long, but worthy of your consideration.

    I had a run-in with Mr. Mooney over the phone (I asked a simple question and he blew up), and because of that, refuse to do any business with him. So, you can form your own opinions.

    If you really need to have someone else do the “heavy lifting” on your E-Type, let me know off blog. There are many things to consider in addition to cost.


    Comment by mcload — May 30, 2008 @ 5:06 am

  7. Re: polishing metal
    Hi again,
    Rio Grande one of the major suppliers to silver smiths has an amazing catalog containing everthing you might ever need for polishing, grinding metal. Go on their website and order a free catalog. For metal workers it’s a life changing experience.

    Comment by martin Isaacson — June 2, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  8. Man… that ’64 car is way TOO clean. That isn’t a car, it is a rolling clean-room. Never trust a guy whose car is spotless underneath! đŸ˜‰

    As for that link to my blog, draw your own conclusions. CJ is certainly capable of good work, but obviously also capable of dropping the ball. And as others have pointed out the owner is a tad… mercurial. Your mileage may vary.


    Comment by chuck goolsbee — June 23, 2008 @ 10:15 am

  9. update on the ’62 today? (11/11/11)

    I just purchased a ’62 FHC in boxes, but “no” rust and new engine on the stand. Your pictures will help me allot, along with the “Complete E-Type” manual by Bentley.

    Riverside, CA.
    p.s. I have a BMW also, but it’s a 1938 r/71 ….. sorta …. ha ha

    Comment by Dave — November 11, 2011 @ 11:07 am

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