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             Pat  Davis      

Vintage and Classic Car enthusiast 


 Jaguar & Daimler  

Queensland Jaguar Drivers Club     Capricornia Register

               From The Australia Jaguar Magazine, Edition no 70,

By Gladstone V.C.C.C & Queensland Jaguar Drivers Club   Member, Max Parnell

                                        Continued from previous page 

I next removed the front passenger guard which proved to that it was extraordinarily heavy - another XJ made of good British steel? NO way, masses of bronze welding had been used to repair minor accident damage, and it felt like an anchor! At this point it became important to evaluate whether to go the ahead and repair the original body, or purchase a wreck and transfer the components… After all, nobody would know - but I would - this car was worth the effort and besides, I've seen worse examples which owners had proudly restored and featured in English magazines.
    So the original body was duly delivered to a local panel works which I have faith in, have worked on Jaguars beforehand specialise in unusual makes - The Jaguar was parked next to a Cadillac at one stage, and looked positively small in comparison! Replacement body panels were used where available, and old fashioned skills revived to beat a flat piece of steel into shape for the half of that "heavy guard". This may make it all sound simple, but in summary, after many hours of painstaking and often frustrating effort the body was ready for stripping to totally bare metal for the re-spray.
    The suspension was quickly found to be in poor and definitely unsafe condition. One front ball- joint was worn to a flat surface, the rubber mounts holding the front suspension to the body had completely detached, the steering rack leaked very badly (an exchange unit was fitted), but I couldn't believe how well the car had driven in this state. Just how good was it going to be when new bushes and other new components were fitted?
    Attention was next given to the engine which was leaking oil (of course) and had one cylinder showing very low compression While out of the car the huge engine received new gaskets, seals on both ends of the crankshaft, a few new valves, a replacement piston and ancillary units such as the starter motor and alternator also received attention The gearbox had recently been reconditioned and so was not touched. The diff pinion seal was replaced along with a stainless steel sleeve, and the rear brake callipers were split to have new pistons fitted.
    Back on the trailer for the short trip from the panel shop to the spray booth, and a decision was needed as to the colour.

In my mind Jaguar V12 look 'Purrfect' in British Racing Green, but the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate obtained from Ann Harris at browns lane showed the original colour to have been 'Morello'….
    So what does Morello look like?
    Nobody knew, but a formula was found in an older book so the paint shop mixed up enough to spray a display panel. Mmmm , sort of like a good red wine, or as other unkindly remarked - a squashed mulberry! With Morello exterior and a new chamois interior to replace the old split seats and water damaged door trims it should look OK - so on with the two pack paint. A new vinyl roof and a careful restoration of the inlaid dash and door panels (unique to Sanden Pals at the time) saw the body ready to accept the engine again.

The great feat Jaguar achieved with its   X)12 was not in building the all alloy V12   engine complete with four Stromberg  carburetors - but actually getting it into the engine bay; and I thought an S-Type engine bay was full!. The workshop manual gives some indication of the associated problems of  working on the engine when it is in there eg.     'Section 1.9 To Replace Oil pump, see section 1.2 (which starts 'remove engine from the car')' - 'Section 10.8 To Change Rear Tail Light Bulb - see Section 1.2' ... Only kidding, but it seems that way! 

    Well, the finished car is a delight to drive, very smooth, very quiet, handles beautifully,     easily outbrakes the local 'sixes' (the Vanden  Plas has ventilated front discs) and plenty of     power to cruise at highly illegal speeds.

     A nuisance on country roads are so-called  four wheel drives which have never seen a   dirt road, and dawdle along the highway  until a large and long entourage of vehicles is  captured behind. This used to be frustrating,  but in the Vanden Plas a simple touch on the  accelerator gives the occupants a big push in  the back and the slower vehicle is relegated  to a dot in the rear-view mirror before the  V12 settles back to a legal speed limit.

      Was it worth spending the sort of money  that would have bought a reasonable late-model from the 'big two'? Every time I fill up  at the service station I say NO, but a few  minutes down the highway the answer is definitely YES. Functional plastic versus     engineering and traditional craftsmanship     no contest.