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cars:jaguar:0

Preface

A progress blog details all the disassembly and restoration work on the 1961 Jaguar Mark II (Mk2).

After a nationwide search, we found our Jaguar 2.4 virtually next door, a very lucky break since transporting a collectable car in an enclosed carrier can cost well over $2000.

The first step after finding a good candidate is to carefully inspect it. We were expressly looking for a body and frame in very good condition, without any significant rust, and a car that had been well taken care of throughout its life. The engine's mechanical condition was secondary, since it becomes surplus in an electric conversion. Another consideration was missing components. Although nearly every single part of the classic Mk2 saloons is available on the aftermarket from a number of suppliers, these replacements are relatively expensive.

Our nearby candidate turned out to be fantastic. Only a small amount of rust was obvious on the underside – the highly vulnerable jacking points – and just three small parts were missing:

  1. right side lamp tell tale (a small red plastic piece)
  2. chrome top to one of the interior B/C-post interior light lens, Sparto 5911 (also used in Sunbeam Alpine)
  3. the tip of the right rear door window regulator handle

In addition, the car was completely original, including the unusual green suede vinyl interior and the British Racing Green exterior.

So, in March 2014 the purchase was completed and the Jaguar was driven to the Kriss Motors garage.

Provenance

Knowing the ownership history of a classic car increases its value, and provides a perspective on its condition. The Mark II model was introduced to the public on October 2, 1959, and first sold about two months later.

Based on the chassis number and information from Jaguar Heritage, our Jaguar was dispatched from the Jaguar factory on October 11, 1960, registered in Coventry as 7213 DU, and sold to Glenn R. Smith, a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant stationed in Shefford, Bedfordshire (UK).

Murkett Brothers ad circa 1951

Murkett Brothers door sill plate

The door tread plate indicates that the car was specially prepared and sold by the Murkett Brothers in Bedford, a large dealership that remains an on-going concern in Cambridgeshire U.K. today. Back in 1905, the Murketts sold bicycles and then followed a typical evolutionary path that led to motor vehicle sales and service.

Based on Jaguar Heritage information and written comments from a later owner, the Jaguar was handled as a Personal Expert Delivery via UK Exchange Service, shipped to the U.S., and spent the first twenty-five years or so in Arizona. This helps to explain why the chassis and body have so little rust.

Around 1986, the Jaguar was purchased by Richard Bohl, the proprietor of Custer Antiques in Toledo, Ohio. A prior owner remembers that Bohl obtained the car from Mrs. Glenn Smith, the widow of the original owner, in Arizona. Bohl displayed the Jaguar in his store for many months, and it was then sold to a local Toledo man in 1987. This buyer, for whatever reason, did not want the car, and it was advertised for sale again in late 1987.

Larry Erd and his Jaguar in 1990

Larry Erd, a Toledo car collector, traded his 1937 Kord for the Jaguar in 1987. Erd appreciated the original paint and vinyl interior, and noted the rust on the jacking points. He replaced the carpets, clutch, and tail light. Some of the chrome was pitted, so several pieces, including the Jaguar hood ornament, were replaced. Erd also switched to knockoff wire wheels, and made other repairs.

After extensive detailing, Erd entered the Jaguar in various competitions and did extremely well. Between 1990 and 1993, the Jaguar placed 1st in Class 9, North Central Region of the JCNA Concours D'Elegance. Erd also earned a third place finish in the national JCNA championship. In 1990, for example, the Jaguar earned 98.75 points making it one of the finest examples in the country.

JCNA 1990 Concours D'Elegance results Fig. 1: JCNA 1990 Concours D'Elegance Champion results

On November 16, 1993, Larry Erd sold the Jaguar to a friend, Bruce Earlin, the owner of Motoriety in Milford, Pennsylvania. At that time, the car's odometer read 54,879 miles.

Within a year, on September 21, 1994, Earlin traded the Jaguar for another one, a 1953 Mark VII (chassis number 718542) from Brett Leonard of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. There were 54,919 miles on the odometer, so the car basically sat for a year in storage. Leonard brought the Jaguar to the August 1995 JNCA New England show (car #111) where it scored a 97.01. The defects on August 12, 1995 were:

  • 0.5 defects in woodwork and vinyl other than seats
  • 0.5 discolored headliner
  • 0.2 tears, scratches or cracks in vinyl door panels and arm rests
  • 7.0 deduction for vinyl in lieu of leather seats (but the vinyl is OEM original)
  • 0.1 paint chips or peels
  • 0.2 worn, faded, or scratched chrome
  • 10.0 mechanical malfunction of stop and/or backup lights
  • 0.1 bright metal scratches (cam covers, carbs, domes, etc.)
  • 2.0 scratches on engine block, head, carbs, etc.
  • 0.1 exhaust system rust on manifold and downpipes
  • 2.0 dirty (but completely functional) engine bay electrical components (battery, wiring, alternator)
  • 0.2 tool kit scratches
  • 2.0 faded, stained Jaguar owner manual
  • 2.0 engine bay undercoating wrong color (non-authenticity deduction)
  • 0.0 non-authentic seat belts (no deduction)

1995 JCNA New England show Fig. 2: The Jaguar at the August 1995 JNCA New England show in Concord, Massachusetts

Leonard's Jaguar in 1995 Fig. 3: The Jaguar in 1995 when owned by Leonard

Leonard subsequently sold the car on December 23, 1996 to John Poduska of Belmont, Massachusetts with the mileage at 56,830. When we purchased the Jaguar in March 2014, it had 59,535 miles on the odometer. So, in the past twenty years, the car has only been driven about 4,650 miles, or an average of 230 miles a year!

March 2014 at Kriss Motors Fig. 4: The Jaguar in March 2014 on the lift in the Kriss Motors garage

Maintenance and Repairs

All in all, the Jaguar survived its first 53 years quite well; in fact, it was pampered for most of its history. As noted above, Larry Erd replaced several parts in the late 1980s.

Apart from routine maintenance – tires, oil, filters – the only other major repairs, as far as the records show, were undertaken by Brett Leonard in 1994-96:

  • $100 parts for engine overhaul: replaced 6 exhaust values, lower chain and tensioner, gaskets and seals; re-seated all values (March 1995)
  • $40 turn flywheel
  • $38 front suspension mounts
  • $8 clutch master and slave cylinder kits, new seals
  • $24 clutch hose
  • $12 pinion seal
  • $15 shift knob (original replaced)
  • $100 seat belts (non-authentic, see JNCA point deductions above)
  • $20 carb kits
  • $85 brakes hoses (3)
  • $50 horns (used)
  • $20 interior lamp lenses (2 used) [note: chrome top of one lens now missing]
  • $20 battery terminals (used)
  • trade-off bakelite steering wheel (used)
  • trade-off front springs (used) [note: spacers 5/8” left and 1/2” right]
  • $450 radiator re-core
  • $50 oil pressure sender

Current Appearance

The Jaguar has continued to age, and the minor defects noted at the 1995 JCNA show are now much more obvious (♦ indicates planned replacement).

  • woodwork needs new lacquer
  • vinyl panels are soiled ♦
  • headliner has obvious water spots ♦
  • vinyl door panels and arm rests are soiled and torn ♦
  • original vinyl seats are showing age ♦
  • significant paint peeling, car will be repainted
  • worn, faded, or scratched chrome will be re-plated or replaced

In addition, the rusted jacking points need replacement (at least three of the four).

Benchmark Performance

One objective of our electric conversion is to match or exceed performance of the gas-powered 3.8 model. Back in the early 1960s, there wasn't much rigorous performance testing. In fact, manufacturers specifications were rarely replicated, and they certainly don't necessarily reflect real world performance today.

Here is a summary of the original 1960 benchmark standard.

Model Zero-to-60 Top speed Source
2.4 17.3 seconds 96 mph Jaguar 2.4 owners manual specification
3.4 11.9 seconds 119 mph The Motor magazine, August 16, 1960 issue, road test result
3.8 8.5 seconds 125 mph various sources, but few verified early measurements

An important early task will be road testing our Jaguar to determine its current performance metrics as a gasoline-powered car.

May 2014 road test Fig. 5: The initial Jaguar road test on May 7, 2014

In initial testing on a hilly country road (thanks to Mark Reynolds, Breeze Automotive), the Jaguar accelerated to 50 mph in about 16 seconds. This is somewhat below benchmark performance, and provides an initial comparison point. During this road test, the car pulled to the left side when braking, especially in neutral, so this issue - probably the right front brake caliper - will be addressed before more road tests can be performed.

Weight and Balance

Proform weight measurement

The Jaguar was measured using a Proform vehicle scale (thanks to Ed Clausen) on May 3, 2014 with 1/4 tank of fuel; the hub cap hammer, tire jack, and some front drive side insulation was removed. All weights are without passengers.

The gasoline-powered 2.4 Jaguar is clearly front-heavy (57/43) which tends to make the car understeer in steady-state cornering. Basically, this means that the Jaguar tends to not turn enough with a given rotation of the steering wheel and contributes to a “boat-like” road feel.

Location Weight Percent
Front left 856 27.4%
Front right 920 29.4%
Total front 1,776 56.8%
Rear left 664 21.2%
Rear right 688 22.0%
Total rear 1,352 43.2%
Total left side 1,520 48.6%
Total right side 1,608 51.4%
Total curb weight as measured 3,129 100%
Estimated weight, full tank, no removed items 3,210 -

A 50/50 weight balance would improve the understeer, but with the relatively high curb weight, the Jaguar would still understeer on initial corner entry. For this reason, a more rearward weight distribution, like 47/53, would probably be optimal.


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