Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

June 22, 2008

Riding on the sun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Penforhire @ 12:40 pm

I’ve got something neat-o to show you on my the BMW R75/5. Ever heard of black 3M Scotchlite tape? It is something I’ve used before, nearly invisible during the day but lights up like the best silver reflectors at night. I put some on the rear of the saddle bags. Just maybe it’ll save my life some day. This is what it looks like during the day.

But shine some directed light on it from a headlight or, say, a camera flash and you get —

BMW Joe and I went on the SC-MA’s “Dog Days of Summer” ride on June 21st. This was the first serious ride for my R75/5 after only circling within 20 miles of home. Here’s Joe’s K1200RS and the R75 at the start, Cycle Giant in Lake Forest. That’s Joe and another BMW fanatic looking at the R75.

It would have to be on one of the hottest days of the year!. D’oh! We rode all the way down to Julian, over Palomar, and back up to Temecula Motorsports. We stopped in Julian for apple pie, something they’re famous for, and they didn’t have any! The pie shop is closed for a week.

Not having a fairing on the bike makes highway riding tiring but the >100 degree temperatures were a killer. I had a 70 oz Camelbak in my tank bag that I consumed on the move but I still got a leg cramp in the twisties despite drinking all of it PLUS a couple of bottles of water. Not to mention sunburn on my face despite wearing sunblock. How hot was it? We didn’t have Gary and his thermometer with us. It got to where the breeze was painful not helpful. That usually starts around 105 degrees for me and news reports suggest it broke 110. My cell phone battery discharged even though I kept it OFF! Also my Kenwood GMRS radio battery died and it usually lasts the whole day. My feet felt like cannibals were roasting them in a pot all day.

This day was over 300 miles in the saddle. We hit the road at 7:30 and didn’t get back until 4:30. The bike performed okay even over a 5300 foot pass, though I could tell I was down on power and had to downshift unexpectedly. I think I’ve got a small fuel leak because a five gallon fill only lasted 150-odd miles until I was on reserve again! Couldn’t find a drip but the day was so hot it could just wet the fuel lines and evaporate.

The ride pin was red this year. How appropriate!

My father-in-law found a few of our missing E-Type parts. Here is a corroded but undoubtedly expensive air filter housing.

And here is an original service manual. Even though I have a new reprint this has the too-cool vintage patina you just can’t buy!

I’d like to show you all the progress in the garage but… er, there isn’t any to show. I’m saving my lamest excuses for later in the blog but look at the guest bathroom’s demolition last weekend.

Apparently in addition to a never-ending XKE restoration our home improvement tasks will also be never-ending. Honey, what do you mean, jaccuzi tub?! Here’s the new tile floor just after laying it down.

Sadly, much more to come. Sigh.

And I had to spend time breaking in a new ride. You could say I don’t have enough patience to wait for the XKE so I bought what I consider one of the best modern incarnations of it —

The Honda S2000. I owned a 2001 model but gave it up after too many warranty issues. Yeah, I was racing it on-track regularly but that’s not the root cause of my issues. In the years since, Honda improved some weaknesses (transmission & clutch), added useful features for a street car (e.g. stability control, less twitchy suspension, torque from stroked motor), and only slightly dulled its edge (redline lowered to 8K) over the years. They’ve also produced enough now that Honda service departments have caught up with training, something sorely lacking back in 2001. I also like having a glass rear window versus the older plastic one.

So why do I think of it as a modern E-Type? It certainly owes its proportions to the XKE and Ferrari GTO, not to mention the BMW 507 which predated BOTH of those. It is also affordable and barely refined, just like the E-type in its day. Some folks might point to the Miata as a spiritual successor but it doesn’t have the balls for it. Porsche Boxster or BMW Z4? Too refined and too expensive. I’ll give you the Lotus Elise if you insist but you have to crawl around on the ground to get out of it AND it is too expensive.

That’s it for the past couple of weeks. I’ll get back on the Jag wrenching soon, I promise.

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