Bill's Jaguar Mk2 restoration progress

Some history

Bill bought this car from a garage in Finedon in 1988 when we were living in Hargrave. The plan was to restore it and to learn the required skills along the way. Initially he had time in the evening to weld new metal. Most of the bottom 6 inches of the car was rusted away. However, by 1994 work commitments meant that he no longer had the time to make serious progress, so the project took a rest for many years. However, with retirement, the 'not having time' excuse could not be used and in 2006 he restarted the long task.

Here is the car after it was delivered in our garage.

This is how the Jag spent many years, surounded by bikes, spare tyres, surf canoe etc.. New door skins and wing repair panels can be seen in black and red primer after being welded onto the body. The car has also had, new sills, front wing repair panels, new spats, new 'crows feet' under the front wing, new jacking points (4), rear lower body panel, re-fabricated front radiator grill surround, bootlid bottom 6 inches replaced with new part, all welded in with a small hobby mig-welder.

Restoration restarted with finishing the bodywork

The body was stripped of all panels and the paint was removed. This picture just shows some primer on sills that needs to be removed.This is summer 2007.

The doors, boot and bonnet were also stripped. Here the doors have been lead-loaded where the new 3/4 door skin has been welded on. This process involves melting lead solder and, using wooden paddles, shaping it into any dips. It is then filed smooth.

Any minor imperfection then gets a skim of plastic filler, which is the smoothed ready for painting.

Then the garage was swept and coats of etch primer were sprayed onto the smooth and clean metal. Then a white high build primer is sprayed on. Bill used cellulose paint (like the original), filtered and thined with paint thinners and a High Volume Low Pressure spray gun.

After the paint is left to fully harden, Bill sprayed a light black guide coat over the white primer. This is used to get the pannels as flat as possible when rubbing the surface down with wet and dry emery paper. When the black paint is removed, the panel is flat.

Then the final coats of Old English White were applied followed by more wet and dry flattening, rubbing compound and polishing. Here some of the chromework has also been fitted.

The engine

Bill bought a old 2.4 litre jaguar XK engine and many spare parts on e-bay. He borrowed an engine host from Nils and took one engine apart to understand how it works and identify any difficult parts or parts requiring special tools. Then he started re-building the original engine. Here is the block, cleaned up and painted.

The cylinder head was similarly stripped, cleaned, valves fitted and shimmed with the overhead camshafts in place.

The engine could now be rebuilt. Here it is with the crankshaft in, with new main and bigend bearings, cleaned pistons with new piston rings, new oil pump, spin-on oil filter and new timing chains.

This shows the engine with cylinder head, distributor and water pump fitted. You can also see an alternator being trial fitted. This replaces the original dynamo, which is part of changing to negative earth and fitting a more moden radio.

The manifolds were fitted, flywheel, clutch, gearbox, fan and any other parts found left in the garage!

Fitting the engine and gearbox to the car started by jacking up the car and removing the front suspension. This had already been stripped with new rubber bushes, new springs and shock absorbers. Also new brake disk and stainless steel lined slave brake cylinders....

the engine and gearbox unit was then manoeuvred under the car. The engine hoist is being used to lower the car over the engine. Next, bolting the engine and gearbox to their mounts, jacking the car up and replacing the suspension.

This is the engine bay with the radiator in, all new hoses connected, the carburetters on the inlet manifold connected to the fuel pipe, the accelerator controls attached and wiring in place.

The leather work

All the light grey leather was old and tied looking, so Bill decided to replace it and bought a second-hand Singer industrial sewing machine from a factory closing down in Bedford. He found a supplier of leather hides on ebay. A Belfast airplane seat trimming firm was selling off leather hides in dark blue for 25 each, so BilI bought 5. BilI didn't like the original Jaguar Mk2 seats, so decided to fit ones from a Jaguar XJ6. Here are two front seats, one with it's cover removed.

The process he used was to take each cover apart and either use each piece as a pattern, or make a cardboard template to transfer the shape to the new leather. Here is the parts needed for the front seat cover with some sawn together. Most seams are hidden by contrasting cream piping, designed to key to the Old English White paintwork. Some 'french seams' are used where piping would in inappropriate, such where two pieces of leather are joined to make a two way curved shape.

This photo shows the cover completed.

Foam and the original hidden attachment parts were stiched in.

Here are the finished seats.

All other leather parts were treated as above and reproduced in new leather. Here are the rear seats, various door panels, rear parcel shelf with speakers, etc.

The Woodwork

There is a lot of wood in a Mk2 Jaguar. Although some of the veneer was ok, some was damaged, so it was decided to replace it all to get a good match. This process started by sanding down the wood and removing the veneer. New burr elm veneer was purchased and stuck to the plain wood base. It was then brush coated with upto 20 coats of lacquer, rubbing down to get a smooth finish and put aside for later fitting. However a year later the surface started showing small cracks. Bill decided to strip the wood back to the veneer and re-lacquer using a spray cellulose lacquer.

Here is the glovebox. The glovebox door veneer is cut out of the veneer used for the surround to keep the grain patten continuous.

Other Tasks

The rear suspension was stripped and cleaned and painted with new rubber bushes, shock absorbers and new brake slave cylinders. New wheel bearings on all wheels.

A new brake servo was fitted complete with new copper brake lines. New brake master cylinder.

New clutch driven plate and new master and slave cylinders.

The carburetters were stripped and rebuilt with new jets and seals.

Electronic ignition module fitted to reduce the current through the distributor points and increase the power of the spark.

Fuel pump stripped and cleaned.

A fuse box from a Ford Mondeo was modified so all new electrical circuits are switched via relays.

The electrical system was switched to negative earth with an alternator replacing the dynamo. The amp-meter was removed and replaced by a voltmeter.

Seat belts were added (blue ones from a Rover 600/800 series).

Headlining was made in English grey wool and fitted to the inside of the roof. It was subsequently eaten by a mouse, so needed to be redone!

Front and rear windscreens were fitted. Front windscreen was nearly impossible to fit with compliacted rubber and chrome moldings.

A stainless steel exhaust system was fitted.

Central looking system has been fitted to all 4 doors and works off a remote fob. This may be connected to a security alarm.

Starting the engine

Summer 2015 preperations were underway to start the engine. The wood for the driver's instrument panel was finished. The choke cable and instruments could then be fitted to the car. Electrical circuits were checked. A new battery bought. 20/50 oil added to the engine. A gallon of petrol was added to the tank. Antifreeze added to the radiator and cold checked for leaks.

On 18th July, fingers crossed, ignition turned on, no fuel flow. The fuel pump was blown through. This released a sticking valve and fuel poured out of the fuel filter. A quick seal change on fuel filter resolved this. Then the starter button was pressed and after a second or so the engine started!

An few minutes running and inspection showed an oil leak from the oil filter (later fixed due to a poor seal on the spin-off filter adaptor), a weeping radiator (after the engine became hot) and the refurbished fuel pump leaking - probably due to the diaphragm splitting after being unused for 28 years.

One of the old seats was temporarily attached to the car and Bill drove it a few metres on our drive!

Other progress during Summer 2016

A replacement fuel pump was fitted.

The mouse eaten headlining was removed as was the rear screen. A new headlining was fitted and the rear screen also refitted.

Wood panels were fitted under the headlining.

A modern radio was installed along with front speakers in footwells and rear speakers in rear parcel shelf, with hidden tweeters behind the original radio grill.

Carpets were made and installed over underlay. Overcarpets, with leather binding were made for front and rear footwells.

The boot was also carpetted.

The drivers seat has been installed.

Rear seats fitted along with seatbelts (from a Rover 600/800 series).

To instal the door rubber seals, the doors had to be removed. A boot seal was also fitted.

By the end of the 2016 summer:

Remote locking for central locking was fitted and checked.

Passenger seat fitted.

Glovebox and dash capping fitted.

Door casings installed together with wood cappings, window winders and door lock leavers.

Bill decided he didn't like the original arm rests used on the Mk2 door cards, so designed and made a different type.

Each door card has 22 metal clips to hold it to the inside of the door. They took a while to line up and fit!

All the re-laminated woodwork has now been fitted. A leather stearing wheel cover was made also. Note modern cd player/stereo, same as in the Scimitar.

With the door rubbers in place and window felts, the car has been washed. This showed that some work needed on water-proofing the doors, especially around the quarter lights! This has been done.


The fuel leak was found - a pipe connected simply needed tightening.

After waiting for Vedestein to start re-manufacturing their Sprint Classic tyre, Bill was enraged at the new price, even with the JEC discount, so bought 5 new Retro Classic tyres. These were fitted to the resprayed wheels with new inner tubes and balanced by ATS in St.Neots.

Latest picture with real wheel covers (spats) and ACE rim embellishers - these act as posh hub-caps.

Car now insured for the road and passed its MOT at Riseley WJH Motors, first time and with no advisories!

Bill applied to get it taxed at Kimbolton Post Office and they also did an on-line tax class changed to Historic Vehicle class, so the car is now taxed (cost 0.00) and we are starting to drive it locally.