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Restoring my Jaguar XJC

Restoration Menu

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Page Two

Why start?

The car was in very good condition when I originally purchased it but I just had to make it immaculate, and so began many months of intense work that at times I regretted ever starting.  However the end result justifies the drama of an ever expanding project.

Basically the car was very original and sound.  It had been well looked after by the previous two owners and there were no major problem areas.  I fixed a few minor mechanical items and then decided to undertake a complete bare metal repaint inside and out (except the engine bay).  This was needed because by the time I fixed some small rust spots and repaired a minor scrape and small parking knocks I would have to paint nearly every panel.  So with the decision made I started the restoration of the body.

Some advice - Before you begin

  • I highly recommend the purchase of a copy of the original factory workshop manual and parts catalogue.  They make very good reference points at difficult times
  • When tackling a project of this size you should take lots of detailed photos first and write detailed notes as you dismantle, as later on you will forget which screws and bolts went where and which way certain small parts fit
  • Use small plastic bags and boxes for storage and label them well
  • Label everything.  Attention to detail at this stage will save many hours later
  • Keep a list of the items you need to replace or repair as you dismantle them to save time.  You can’t reassemble if you forget to buy or repair an item and it will delay the whole process.Return to top of page
  • Order your parts well in advance, especially the hard to get items that may have to be imported

Words of wisdom

  • It will cost you much more than you planned
  • It will take a hell of a lot longer than you planned
  • You will find heaps more to be done than you planned
  • It will be more frustrating than you planned
  • The satisfaction you get from doing it yourself will make it all worthwhile

Stripping

First step was to completely strip the exterior of all fittings, remove front and back glass, dismantle the interior (except for the headlining) and some of the dash and then remove the bolt on panels.  That left me with an almost bare body shell with mechanicals and part of the dash in place.  It could still be driven, which was helpful when putting it on a trailer or moving it around, its a very heavy car if you need to push it.

Bead blasting

Fresh back from being bead blasted. Click for enlargementTo provide the best surface for a full respray I had all the paint removed by Plastic Bead Blasting.  This does not distort or damage the panels and gets rid of all the old paint.  The XJC came back stripped to its original black etch primer which helped to protect the bare metal from surface rust as I worked on the body.

 

Helpful Hint:  The dammed plastic beads get into everything!!  They take hours and hours to clean out and I don’t believe you can ever get them all.  Other people tell me of beads falling out for years.  You have to cover and seal everything thoroughly before the bead blasting starts.  But be warned - the beads get into the most unexpected places!Return to top of page

Preparing the body

Bead blasted inside and outFirst job was to cut out the small rust sections and weld in new pieces (picture). The floor pans were cleaned back to bare metal using a wire brush on an angle grinder and then coated in POR 15 rust prevention paint.  Then the insides of the bolt on panels were cleaned and painted with rust preventing paint.  Body colour was applied to the inside edges of the doors, hinges, hinge pillars (picture), front mudguards, bonnet, bootlid and petrol tank covers.

The bolt on panels were refitted with extra sealing in some places and many hours spent ensuring the panel fit and gap alignment was the best that could be achieved.  Once this was finished I had a complete body shell ready to start the panel repairs.

Each individual panel was “file finished” and the minor damage and imperfections repaired to provide an amazing metal finish.  A small amount of body filler was used to smooth inaccessible areas then a few coats of Etch Primer were applied to prevent surface rust and provide maximum adhesion for the two pack HiFill Primer and Top Coats.

Painting

I purchased a small compressor which enabled me to do the basic work at home, this was a very good investment and was a great help.  A two pack refinishing system was my choice for repainting as it provides a tough, durable, long lasting finish with a deep lustre.  For the insides of theAn artist at work applying the final coats of colour panels and door jambs etc. the two pack provides a very good shine straight off the gun without polishing.  PPG was the brand and I used their Etch Primer, Hi Fill Primer/filler and top coat.  The fumes are highly toxic and an appropriate quality breathing mask must be used at all times and keep your skin covered as well.

After the etch priming the whole body received four good coats of Hi Fill primer and a light contrasting guide coat over the top.  This was then carefully “blocked back” with wet and dry to pick up all the very minor imperfections and repair marks (pictures).

To ensure the best finish I hired a commercial spray booth/baking oven and paid a well known spray painter to apply the two pack top coats. He was a real artist and it was a pleasure to watch him at work.  Masking up the body was a work of art in itself and then he pranced and danced around the spray booth as he carefully applied the mirror finish final coats.  After baking it for an hour I finally had a beautifully painted Jaguar to take home.

The next stage.........Return to top of page  Putting it back together

 

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