Lost in private estate gardens in the outstanding picturesque views of Gloucestershire across the River Severn and amazing scenic Countryside, two Series 1 E-Types laid hidden within undergrowth and shrubbery. Belonging to a gentleman who has owned the cars since the ’80s, one of the pair was an early 1964 Series 1 matching numbers 4.2 Fixed Head Coupe, believed to be the 10th of the production line.
The owner of the estate fell ill and his son took over to find a plethora of classic vehicles in the land behind the house. Upon discovery of a number of Jaguars, E-Type UK was contacted with the opportunity to rescue and bring another great example back to life. Due to being forgotten and exposed to the elements for so many years, the body of the car in its entirety was not salvageable, however, the vehicle maintained its identity with all its original matching numbers running gears and front and rear suspension complete. After finding this gem of a field find the team cracked out the clippers and spades and got the car on the trailer and safely to our Kent headquarters to revive its E-Type Story.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
This restoration story starts a little differently to our usual projects that roll through the door, for a start they actually roll! With the cars unsalvageable shell there wasn’t a need for an initial inspection, instead, the team simply had to tally up a short list of what we actually had which consisted of a log book and original engine, gearbox and IRS.
The build process gets underway by sourcing a period correct floor plan, front and rear bulkheads. The in-house body shop team set out reconstructing a new body shell by assembling the newly sourced panels onto our specialist body alignment jig, ensuring perfect alignment of the underpinnings and chassis legs of the car throughout construction. The build continues by ensuring precise alignment of the engine frames and bonnet, followed by the initial hanging of doors. Moving back down the car the build-up of the inner door pillars is started leading to fitting left and right inner wheel arches.
With the shell now looking more and more complete there are a couple remaining panels to be found and fitted, an original roof and tailgate, unlike a lot of other E-Type parts these are not available new. Once sourced, alignment and structural integrity are key, applying the 'measure twice and fit once' policy. The team measure and align the new roof panel to the shell, with the inner and outer C post panels (specially commissioned) already in place the roof is ready to be welded in place, paying special attention to the front screen aperture.
Reconstruction of the shell is concluded with the fitment of boot floor assembly, tailgate, rear panels, inner rear boxes, outer wings and sills. The shell is then loosely mock fitted with all chrome, lamps and glass, to allow for any final bodywork adjustments.
PERFECT BASE, LINES AND FINISH
Now we have the identity and a car that looks like a car, the E-Type enters the filler room to achieve those perfect lines and gaps. Once the car is filled it is put through a lengthy bake cycle, as filler is a porous material this process helps to harden the finish as well as drawing out any remaining moisture. Rust inhibitors are applied to the any exposed bare metal, followed by sealer primer and numerous coats of 2pack high build primer. The E-type is blocked, masked up and ready for paint.
The paintwork team begin the final sealer work, applying stone chip in the correct areas and then spraying that highly desirable and all-important 2pack solvent based Opalescent Silver Grey. After countless coats, a high-quality clear lacquer is sprayed over the top putting an end to the painting process. To achieve the perfect finish the car it flatted using 1500, 2000, 3000 wet and dry discs and subjected to 60 hours of polishing for that ideal and desired finish. This Series 1 has come a long way already and still has a way to go yet, the next milestone for the E-Type is entering the workshop for reassembly.
BACK TO LIFE
Since the Series 1 E-type has returned to the workshop the team have been working on bringing the car back to life, heading towards to that all-important first start since restoration. Once off the body shop trolly and safely onto a workshop lift, the team start on building up the front suspension and fitting the IRS creating a rolling shell. During this stage, the technicians work on fitting the key engine components before mating the drivetrain to the shell, parts such as brake servo, fuel filter, early 4.2 peddle box, steering rack and brake lines. When ready and with the engine rebuilt, the big moment is here - fitting the 4.2 Jaguar engine.
Fitment of the drivetrain is never simple and demands constant attention to fit snuggly into the chassis and perfectly into gearbox tunnel. With the engine hooked up to the crane, the technicians get started, allowing plenty of time for small adjustments during the process ensuring a clean fitment without any damage to the freshly finished shell. With the engine in place, assembly continues, starting with fitting the shiny new stainless steel tubular sports exhaust to help towards creating that mouth-watering soundtrack.
Since being dragged out from an overgrown Gloucestershire estate garden, it goes without saying most of the engine components were unusable, however, some parts were salvaged in the hope of restoring them back to factory perfect. On this short list was the Cylinder Heads, as you'll see from early photos of the project these heads were in awful condition, but the team had a feeling all would be well with a bit of love and elbow grease. The Cylinder heads were machine polished and the finish is unbelievable, really helping to bring a stunning shine back to the E-type engine bay.
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Follow the full story and see all the restoration photos to day here: Lost in Gloucestershire