Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

September 13, 2008

Take a seat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Penforhire @ 11:30 pm

Apparently the early E-types did not come from the factory with side mirrors. They were added by dealers and owners in America for safety. I sort of like the idea — what’s behind you is not important. But that also means there is a range of authenticity for side mirrors. There was a good-looking mirror made by Lucas bolted to my fender.

Unfortunately it needs rechroming too. I am thinking to try a small mirror that clamps onto the window instead.

Next I thought I’d pull the interior out of the car before trying for the engine or rear end. This way the body shell will be as light as possible when it needs to be self-supported.

The seat cushions just lift out. Like flotation devices on commercial airplanes.

Here’s the underside of the cushion.

Here’s the seat that remains after lifting out the cushion.

Here’s one missing nut, meant to hold the seat onto its rails. The back studs were both very rusty. I got lucky with the other side since a vice grip was able to turn the lumpy-shaped rusted nut.

Here’s one of four hardware stacks that are supposed to hold the seat on the rails.

Here’s what the underside of the seat looks like.

You find all sorts of weird stuff in and under the seats of an old car. In addition to copious rat droppings and moldy smells I found this.

A Long Beach municipal golf course scorecard, unused. The reverse side says it was printed in 1973.

Here’s the seat belt hardware.

I can’t get the other half of the belt off its stud. The stud, must be a bolt, turns in place. I assume I can find the head under the car to hold it but I haven’t looked yet. If I recall correctly, these seatbelts are another American-only item. You can see these particular belts are made in the U.S.A..

The seat rails are held to the floor by two bolts. You have to slide the rails front-and-back to expose them. Here is the front one. Note the heads are for a plain flat-head screwdriver.

Here’s the hardware on the bench, including a spacer that fits between the rail and the floor.

I was amused by a patent notice on the back of the seat rails.

Who knew you could patent a single tooth-on-lever engagement lock to position a seat rail?

When you look over my past work you might be surprised to know that most of my wrenching sessions are six hours or longer and I put in at least a day each weekend, often two. Yes, I’m a bit slow. I do like to review the shop manual and parts diagrams whenever I can figure them out. And I like to clean things up as I go, if I expect to reuse something. Sometimes I just sit and stare.

Why do I bring this up? Because my XKE blog entries are going to continue to have larger-than-expected gaps in time between them. I’m not shelving the project or the blog but I am slowing way down. It is entirely emotional, at least for the continued disassembly phase.

Since my last post I had a family medical crisis that instantly consumed literally years of the funding I was expecting to put into this rebuild, call it half the total budget. While that should have no effect on my continued teardown I find myself demotivated. I was expecting to spend whatever cash was necessary as I went along, such as sending out the chrome as soon as I had it all gathered. Now that is not reasonable and I’m a bit deflated. Sort of like the difference between smiling while you work and frowning. Today I removed the seat shown above and that was that, rather than being about half the work I should do today. And I have no idea if I’ll go wrench tomorrow.

We’ll see if my attitude improves before my slow teardown catches up to my funds but no promises. I was most afraid of disappointing my father-in-law. He’s not so young and might not be around to see or drive this machine after it is restored. But I talked to him and he understands completely. I hope you do as well.


  1. Eric: First, I’m very sorry to hear of the medical crisis…I hope things get better for you and the family soon. It is understandable that the health and well-being of your family comes ahead of the Jaguar, though as you say, it doesn’t keep you from taking things apart as that doesn’t cost you any money. Sometimes we just need a break to get our minds off our problems, and turning wrenches is a good way to do this.

    That’s an interesting side mirror; I didn’t know Lucas made such items. My right-hand drive didn’t have any side mirrors, and, I can’t bring myself to drilling holes into my door for a set. I would encourage you to remount that mirror. Sure, what’s behind you is not important, but what’s in the blind spot is. I have often wished I had side mirrors simply to make lane changes safely. I’ve thought of temp mirrors on suction cups too; I think I’ve seen them advertised somewhere.

    The seat belts bolt to the driveshaft tunnel as well as the outer sides of the seats. If I’m not mistaken, there is a welded bung in the tunnel hump. If it’s turning, then you’ll have to see if you can grab it with a pair of vice-grips on the inside of the tunnel. The outer nuts are welded to the underside as well. There should be an eye-bolt that screws down into this nut. If you’re lucky, you can unthread this eye-bolt. If you can’t, I’d leave it alone.

    I wish you had included a photo of the top of the belt. Does it have the old “winged” logo engraved into it? These original seat belts, especially NOS, are as rare as hen’s teeth, and I’ve seen sets go for over 500 bucks on EPay. If you DO have engraving on the top, then don’t re-chrome them as the new chrome will fill in the engraving (I learned this the hard way). There is an outfit called Snake-Oyl (Tyler, TX, I think) that restores old belt hardware and replaces belts with the same color and weave as the old. They cannot, however, reproduce the safety tag that is sewn onto the original belt.

    That seat looks remarkably free of cracks or creases. Although the leather is probably rotten, I think I’d try to save those seats. I recommend a product called Leatherique; its the best stuff to use on leather, especially OLD leather:
    Interesting color on the seats…are they red or dark maroon? Also interesting that they would have tan-colored seat belts with a dark interior.

    I also think you are very fortunate to have been able to remove the pan-head screw at the rear seat-roller assembly. Mine were rusted frozen, and broke off. I now use a regular bolt instead of a pan-head slotted screw.

    The rollers in these seat sliders are nylon, and sometimes developed a flatspot on them. Presumably, if they didn’t roll when a person made adjustments, then the track would just slide on top of the roller, continually creating a flat
    spot. Unfortunately you can’t take them apart to replace these rollers without grinding off some welds. You can usually get them back to operating condition by working the slider back and forth, drenching in WD40.

    Anyway, my 2 cents, and thanks for the post. Work on my Venus has slowed to a crawl as well until the income situation gets better, though I can still do some fiberglass repair work and other odds and ends.

    Hang in there my friend!

    Patrick McLoad

    Comment by mcload — September 21, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  2. Eric,

    Sorry to hear of the medical crisis. I follow your website and look forward to your progress each weekend.

    Family comes first. I hope you’re able to get back into the wrenching soon, if only to utilize it as a means to reduce stress. Good luck!

    Comment by Clark — October 4, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  3. Hello,
    this story sounds facinating and I am also very interested in restoring jaguars.
    I was reading through patricks comment and was interested in the pricing on these seat belts, I have a set of seat belts from series 1 E type and was looking into selling them but was not sure on the value of them. Could you help Patrick?

    Comment by Colin — January 16, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  4. This might be the wrong place to post this, but here’s some useful info:

    That t-connection on the brake line, that you thought was some sort of sensor: It’s the brake light (stop light) switch. On Jaguars (ever so complicated), they don’t use a mechanical switch to activate your rear brake lights. Instead they use a pressure switch. When you press the brakes, that increases the pressure in the brake lines, which then activates the switch, thus turning on the rear stop lights.

    That darn pressure switch can be anywhere! At least you are lucky enough to have found yours. I’m still trying to find my switch on my ’69 S2.

    Comment by Ed — April 30, 2011 @ 6:54 am

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