Putting it back together
Well a lot of progress has been made and the result of four months of intensive work is a beautifully
painted Jaguar Coupe with a dead straight body. Friends who watched the progress of the project praised the results and remarked on the high quality of the finished product. When I
first started the restoration friends were questioning why I wanted to rebuild the body as it was in such good condition, but once it was finished they could appreciate the attention to detail,
the improved fit and finish of the body and the greater overall presentation of the vehicle. (pictures)
Freshly painted and looking like new
Jaguars are well known for their addiction to rust and many a classic Jag has been lost to the wrecking yard for this reason.
So, during the bodywork and repainting process special attention was paid to ensuring that the Coupe would be around for
at least another 25 years by preventing body cancer. Surfaces were thoroughly cleaned and prepared and POR15 rust
prevention paint was applied to the inside of the floorpans, doors, quarter panels, boot floor, front guards and bonnet etc.
and extra care was taken to apply flexible sealant to vulnerable surfaces to prevent water entry and the formation of mud in inaccessible places.
First step in putting the Jag back together was to add further rust protection by spraying liberal quantities of “Fish Oil”
inside all panels, joins and crevices. This was a smelly and messy process but will help to protect the XJC for many years to
come. It is recommended to repeat the fish oil about every five years to maximise the protection.
During the rebuild new rubbers and seals were fitted throughout and perished or missing grommets replaced to help stop
the entry of water. The Jag is always garaged and my intention is to keep it off the road when it’s raining and when its
washed it will be immediately dried and never put away wet - all this will help to keep the cancer away from the body.
A new hat for the cat
When I first started this restoration I decided to keep the factory fitted black vinyl top as it was original and in good
condition. All XJC’s came with a vinyl top so I carefully peeled the edges back, covered it during the months of repair and
masked it off when painting with the intention of retaining it.
However, once the car was painted I took a closer look at the roof and decided that to do justice to the beautiful new body
and paint work the vinyl top just had to be replaced. I was told that the original material was no longer available so I
located an English vinyl that was used on Rolls Royces that provided a very similar pattern to the original.
I then found a vinyl top “specialist”, it’s all he has done for the past twenty years. He made up
the new top in his workshop, came to my place, removed the old one and fitted the brand new vinyl roof that looks just like it did when the car left the factory. Yes the Jaguar XJC experts will
notice the slightly different texture but without a close second look no one will know - and what a great improvement it is. (pictures)
Reassembling the doors and windows
Very time consuming and frustrating best describes fitting the new seals and rubbers to the side of the car. Putting all the
door and quarter window hardware back together and then getting everything to close and seal is a real challenge that
requires a lot of patience. The time required for each step was measured in days not hours! I replaced nearly every seal,
rubber, gasket and grommet around the doors and windows and as I fitted each one the doors became harder to close.
Over time the new seals settle and gradually conform to the shape of the doors and they eventually became easier to close.
The side window mechanisms are a strange piece of engineering but once you have taken the time to examine their
operation they can be fitted and adjusted to operate well, provided you clean, repair and lubricate each piece of the puzzle.
There were many small bits that needed replacement and each one had an impact on the end result. The factory parts catalogue and workshop manual were of great assistance in this
The door window regulators were worn around the rivets and pivots so I had them rebuilt through H&H Prestige Spares. The arms themselves were not worn so new pivot points were
made and the arms were welded to stop the movement at the riveted joints. Surprisingly I was
able to purchase just about every new seal and rubber for the car with only two small items no longer available (rubbers for
the door window chrome support) . Most were sourced locally through Jagdaim but I had to wait for a few to be imported from the UK.
The door/side window area is a rather complex engineering feat so I took a number of photos that may be of interest. Click
below to see pictures of the:
Reassembling the boot area
The entire boot area was bead blasted back to bare-metal, minor rust spots replaced and repainted in two pack to
provide an as new area that hardly anyone will see. All rubber fuel lines were replaced as they had hardened due to
age and I didn’t want to risk fuel leaks or fires. Using a jig saw I made new side boards from 3 mm MDF and covered them
in new black cloth material. The original sound insulation on the boot floor was showing its age so I made up my own
“sound sandwich” using felt, bitumen sheet and Hardura which I glued in place. I replaced the vinyl on the metal cover that
runs across the boot near the lock and polished the aluminium protector plate near the boot seal. The original black carpeting and floor mat were in very good condition so they were reused.
After gluing, screwing and renewing all the fittings and fixtures I finally had an as new boot area that makes me smile every
time I open it to put the picnic basket in.
New carpet for the interior
The original carpet was showing its age in places and the underlay and sound insulation were discoloured, rotting and
falling to bits because of moisture that been absorbed over the years. I decided to toss the lot out and renew
everything. The first problem that I encountered was that the original carpet, in my green colour, was no longer available.
After some searching I finally settled on a grey/green wool blend English carpet that was used in Series 3 saloons. It is
thicker than the original Series 2 carpet with a higher pile and a thick underlay already glued to the underside. The sound
insulation and carpet quality is far superior to the original and the colour helped to lighten the Olive interior.
The floorpans were repainted with POR 15 rust prevention paint and finished with two pack body colour. Before recarpeting
new self-adhesive sound insulating foam strips were inserted into the floor recesses and sheets of felt, bitumen and rubber
were glued over the transmission tunnel to provide maximum sound insulation.
A common Jaguar problem is the moisture absorbed into the original chip-foam insulation under the floor mats which rusts
the floor over time.. To prevent this happening in the future I applied a generous coat of Xtroll Rust Conquerer over the newly painted floorpans and allowed it to harden. When making up the insulation for under the floor carpet I glued
together a sandwich of dense “water resistant foam”, felt and rubber. The foam is in contact with
the floor and will not absorb or hold water and will therefore not promote rust like the original
factory chip-foam insulation. The “sound sandwich” also provides superior noise suppression.
I used the original carpet sections as templates and cut and trimmed an entire new set of carpets.
Using contact adhesive I glued the carpet where it was originally glued to the floor, sills and transmission tunnel and retained the new mats using Velcro and plastic clips to hold them in place.
The recarpeting, including the new insulation was a relatively straight forward job and can be accomplished by any
competent handyman. Using basic tools and taking your time and applying a little common sense, most people could
recarpet their own Jag. The only external assistance I required was to have the protective binding around the edges and
new heel mats stitched onto the the floor mats. As an added touch the new heel mats were customised with the words “JAGUAR XJC V12” embossed into them.
Rear parcel tray
Obviously the rear window had been leaking at some stage and the rear parcel tray
trim had absorbed the moisture and distorted over time. The trim needed replacing and as I had purchased new Pioneer stereo rear speakers this was a good time to make
a new trim. Using the old trim as a pattern I cut a new backing board from 3 mm MDF, complete with recesses for the speakers. I then padded it, and the steel fill-in panel,
with thin foam and covered them both with black vinyl left over from the vinyl top.
Roof lining - Side rail trim
The roof lining trim that runs down each side of the roof (cantrails), was damaged by the bead blaster when he was
removing the paint from the body. When I inspected the trim sections I also found the backing boards to be broken and distorted due to age. So I had yet another piece of trim to replace.
Using the originals for patterns I cut two new backing boards from 3 mm MDF and then covered them with new roof lining
material. Refitting the trim was rather awkward and required care and patience, especially when matching up the new
retaining clips with their respective holes.. The effort was worth while as the new trim now finishes the roof area off nicely.