|Advertised here is a 1961 Jaguar MkII 3.8L Manual with overdrive; a complete investment level restoration to one of the highest standards available. |
This is not simply a rebuild or a common-or-garden restoration, it's a rejuvenation of a 1960's icon, a renovation of all that is classic, with touches of modernisation, improving how it feels, without losing any of its perfect poise. This is a true English treasure and one that has been restored with a passion befitting its heritage.
The restoration was undertaken with the clear intention of making this one of the best MkII's in the country. In short, there isn’t a part, nut, bolt, bearing, gasket or bush that hasn't been restored or replaced, this truly is an exceptional example of this magnificent piece of automotive art.
In order to produce a flawless car of the highest quality, a perfect base must be used. While beautiful, these cars were not designed well when it comes to corrosion. Water traps within the chassis, spot welding and a lack of preventative treatments meant that they all rusted through the years, despite the best efforts of those who owned them.
To rectify this, the shell has been stripped completely and acid dipped. This process is aggressive and being immersive, gets into every corner, every hidden section, inside every box section and door sill, stripping away dirt, paint, filler and literally eating all rust; what emerges is nothing but clean metal, at least, what's left of it.
Once dipped, it was brought back to begin the process of extensive welding, replacement of panels and fabrication to bring the shell back to its original condition. However, factory condition is just our starting point. Spot welds are replaced with seam welds, which are not only stronger, but make the car more rigid, preventing water from becoming trapped between panels and rotting them from the inside out. All seam welds are ground down, leaving a beautiful, clean, solid shell, which is almost a shame to cover with paint and parts.
Once the shell was ready, it was dipped a second time, to ensure it was clean, that any surface rust that tried to take hold during the welding phase was removed and then it was immersed once more to apply the Electrophoretic Coating. This process is common amongst modern manufacturers and provides an exceptional level of corrosion protection and being immersed, it reaches every possible surface and penetrates deep into the base metal.
At this point the shell, doors, boot and bonnet were better than when they left the factory, more rigid, protected and better finished. It was at this point that it was taken to paint and received a sumptuous, multi-coat respray. The paintwork is second to none and its deep colour, in the original Cornish Grey is flawless throughout. As a belt and braces approach, once painted, Waxoil was applied to the underside and throughout all chassis box-sections; while not entirely necessary, given the Electrophoretic coating, the underside of the car takes a lot of abuse, so we've tried to make sure this one has the best chance possible to keep corrosion away.
The Jaguar MkII uses brightwork with subtlety and elegance, with chrome gently accenting edges and pronouncing the cars arrival, offsetting the car beautifully; sadly, through time, chrome becomes pitted and loses its shine. As such, each and every piece of brightwork, from the grille to the window frames, to the door handles and window winders were stripped, coated and re-chromed to an immaculate finish.
Our aim at HCL is to produce restorations that exceed not only the original factory levels of quality, but the expectations of the people looking for a 'better than factory' build and while the exterior is what is seen first and must therefore be the pinnacle of what can be produced, it is the interior where the driver lives and experiences the car and so for us, this is where exceptional attention is given.
Wherever possible we restore whatever we can of the original, we believe it is important to retain the heart of the car, rather than effectively build a new car as some of the history and soul is lost in the process.
That said, our ethos throughout the build is to improve where such improvements add and do not detract from its essence. To that end we seam weld, where the factory spot welded, we add modern sound proofing to any and all possible surfaces, stopping the rattles and tinny sound produced by cars of this era and add modern touches to improve longevity, reliability and improve the experience.
From this bedrock we have produced a simply stunning interior, with every element hand crafted, every section of walnut restored by a true craftsman to beyond the exceptional standards expected of Jaguar. All seats have been upholstered using the traditional skills and finished to an impeccable level. Likewise, all carpets, headlining, visors, door cards and every piece of interior trim have been restored to a higher quality than when these beautiful cars rolled off of the production line.
The Dashboard has been recovered, the walnut facia restored and while all of the gauges and dials are original, they have all been restored, giving a fresh, new look to them, finishing off the dashboard perfectly.
In modern cars, the sound systems we are all used to are far superior to the ones provided in the 50's and 60's, however, they do not sit well in such a historic setting. This car has been fitted with Exquisite JL audio speakers and amplifiers, all nestled away behind the scenes, providing a modern sound within this bastion of ageless, 60's quality, however, controlling the sounds is a modern head unit, providing analogue and DAB radio, as well as USB and Bluetooth, while looking perfectly at home, with a vintage look and wrapped in the original radio surround. Nothing should spoil the experience of sitting in this perfect example of a Jaguar.
The engine, like every element of this car, has been stripped down to its individual components, but not to be simply rebuilt, it has been re-engineered. All worn parts were replaced, a new oil pump, high quality rings and bearings fitted, the bottom end balanced, the block blueprinted, the cylinder head ported and gas flowed, multi-angle cutting of the valves and seats (which were replaced to allow for unleaded petrol) and then rebuilt using modern gaskets and seals, to ensure longevity.
In addition to the superb build of the mechanical elements, in order for this engine to run at its best, to breathe in the kind of reliability that wasn't possible when it was designed, a number of improvements have been made. Electronic ignition has been added, including a 123 programmable distributor and coil pack to provide a flawless spark. A larger, better flowing aluminium radiator has been fitted, cooled by a larger than standard, electric fan, both adding reliability as well as reducing the draw on the engine. Wedded to these cooling elements, a Davis Craig electric water pump and controller replace the original mechanical one. These updates allow the pump to be run at whatever rate the engine needs to ensure perfect cooling at all times, unlike the factory fitted method, which could only run at the engine speed, meaning slow moving on a warm day was a prime concern.
In addition, this system continues to cool the engine once it has been stopped. All engines, when stopped raise in temperature, a process called heat soak. While no additional heat is being generated, the latent heat from the metal remains and it isn’t being taken away because the water is no longer flowing; this can cause heat spots within the engine, which can be extremely detrimental to longevity, especially to areas such as the valve seats. The electric cooling system continues to flow water around the block and if necessary, utilise the fan to slowly reduce this temperature.
Externally we have fitted a modern build of the original SU carburetors, the same look, the same feel, but restored to modern tolerances, which enable them to hold a better level of tune and a more exacting delivery of fuel, when passed through the ported manifold and into the engine via the gas flowed head, combustion is improved, smoothed and more efficient.
All of this work would be moot if the exhaust couldn't escape with the same ease with which the fuel entered, which is why we have fitted custom branch manifolds, matched to a Hayward and Scott stainless, tuned exhaust, designed to provide the perfect back pressure and ensure the smoothest running possible.
The 3.8L engine was known to be quite the power plant of its day and while we would never wish to alter the classic characteristics of any of the cars we restore, we do strive to make them as good as they can be, without changing who they are. As part of the restoration we have replaced the fan and water pumps, which reduce drag on the engine and liberate power as well as produce smoother running; we replaced the alternator with a modern unit, smaller, easier to turn, but producing more power, again, improving the potential of the engine. To bring a more modern feel to the engine, the starter motor has been replaced with a modern, high torque equivalent, providing a quicker start and banishing the cold morning slow turnover that the original units were prone to. Blueprinting and balancing produce a smoother engine and smoother equates to a faster response; the multi-angle cutting of the valves and seats create a better dispersion of the fuel and as such a better combustion, providing more power, for less fuel. All in all, this magnificent engine runs smoother, revs quicker, produces more power, cools perfectly, will last longer and all the while, using less fuel.
Given the detail lavished on the engine, ensuring it is not only as strong as it can be, but also as smooth, it would be criminal not to give the same attention to the rest of the drivetrain.
Both the gearbox and differential have been completely stripped, examined by Hardy Engineering, who specialise in classic drivetrain restoration, replacing all bearings and seals, as well as all elements that showed even the slightest wear. As part of the work, the main gear cones were honed slightly, which, given the lack of synchromesh in these gearboxes, provide a smoother gear change experience. The painted, cleaned, fully restored units that came back are smoother than when they were first manufactured and will provide an exceptional driving experience.
While the Mk2 is a beautiful, iconic car, its handling leaves something to be desired; suffering from designs of the era, including rear leaf springs, weak walled tyres and poor bushes, it was known to wallow and feel quite detached from the road. As part of the build process, various subtle handling improvements have been made.
To begin with, the front and rear sub frames were removed, stripped, sand blasted and powder-coated; a detail that most will not see, but will be guaranteed to put a smile on the MOT examiner. During the rebuild, modern polyurethane bushes were used for all joints and bearings made to high tolerances where fitted, all of which were then married to Gaz shocks at the front and at the back. The original leaf spring has been replaced with a modern made spring, with tighter tolerances and superior materials, providing a better response and reducing lateral movement.
To finish off the look of the car, we have replaced the stock steel wheels with stunning wire wheels and traditional knock off hubs, befitting of this car and vastly improving the look and feel. All together, these suspension updates tighten the whole car up, greatly reduce body roll and make the car feel inspiring to drive.
The brakes fitted to the Mk2 were ahead of their time, with discs front and rear, they were exceedingly good for 1961. In order to ensure they perform as we as they possibly can, various modifications have been made.
From the beginning of the system, the brake servo has been replaced with an updated offering, which provides a 4.25:1 braking ratio, significantly stronger than the factory item, as well as a new master cylinder being fitted. While the original would have been preferred, it was pitted and damaged, so it was swapped out for a re-engineered part, with tighter tolerances, providing a more powerful solution.
All new brake lines have been fitted from front to back, and where rubber lines were originally used, these have been replaced with braided hoses. The calipers themselves have been replaced at the front, which in themselves, provide up to 30% more braking power than the original units; the rear calipers have been restored and fitted with sintered pads, which with the standard discs make for a much improved braking experience.
An unseen element of any car, but an essential one; the loom on this restoration has been completely replaced, as have all fuse holders, relays and connectors. With age, all cables deteriorate; water ingresses degrades the copper, age oxidises connectors and cables become brittle. Poor electrics turn otherwise beautiful cars unreliable, something such a quality build should never allow.
The new loom was built to the original Jaguar plans, using the same braiding and looking incredible, the only differences within this car, is where we have integrated the new functions, such as the cooling system into the loom, using traditional looking braiding, giving everything a factory fitted look.
This is a stunning example of a 60's classic, an icon of British engineering and a timeless piece of automotive art. We have done all we can to make sure this is one of the best MkII's on the road and with the classic car market appreciating year on year, this will be not only a pleasure to own, but an investment.