|Alan and Jessica's 1969 FHC E-Type |
1/6/1999 to 1/8/2000
I found the car in a two week old Want Ads and fully expected it to be sold by the time I called. I was pleasantly surprised when the owner told me he still had it. We had a lengthy chat about the car and decided on a time I could stop by and check it out. I believe it was a day or so later when I made the trip to Douglas MA. Keith was exactly as I expected, a few kid, a big yard with a few cars in various states of disrepair or assembly, and the e-type. Upon first inspection it look despicably clean. I was informed that the car had it's engine rebuilt, but it sat outside for several years. Figures anywhere from five to ten were thrown around, but who's counting! I spend about an hour or so looking it over and poking at it. I figured it would need all new sheet metal on the bottom and several other pieces that I would find months later hiding under several layers of rust! Keith agreed not to part with the car until after I talked to the boss (my wife). I had already made up my mind that the car was mine and all I had to do was pay for it.
I reported the find back to Jessica and asked if she wanted to come take a look. We picked a time and called Keith. A day or so later we both drove out to Douglas. Jessica first impression were something between shock and horror! I believe she refereed to it as a s*&t box, and couldn't understand why anyone, much less her husband would want it . Never mind the money to restore it!!!!! After a brief conversation in which I agreed to only have one restoration project going at the same time, we purchased our first of many (I hope) Jaguars.
Ironically we didn't even have a garage on the house we just bought in April. But as part of buying the house, Jessica agreed to either buy a house with a garage, or a house with enough property to erect one. We had already started to think about building one just before we bought the E-Type. Keith said I could leave the car in Douglas for a few months or so. I believe it was in the fall that I had a local towing company haul it up to our home in Billerica. In keeping with the old Billerica look, no house is complete without a car on block in the driveway, covered with a blue tarp. I was fancy, we used a car cover I bought at Building 19 for $10 or so. It actually looked quite well. I filled the tires and it sat on it's own feet! The car cover lasted until winter, it started to ware thin in a few spots and it finally gave in. I went to our local K-Mart and bought a nice dark green tarp and fifty feet of rope and rapped it up good and well. The cover stayed on until the following March.
Garage Construction and Moving in the "E"
In the mean time it was off to the drawing board and out with the phone book to find a contractor. After meeting with several possibilities and receiving proposals from 35K to 75K, we picked one in the middle and the construction began at the end of August 2000. The contractor worked through the winter and into the following spring. Mind you we were just putting up a garage and a small room between it and the house, but the construction seemed to take forever . Finally the floor was poured in March and I was told that I could push the car into the garage in two weeks. Music to my ears, I waited twenty years for this moment, but that's another story.
I used my trusty Volvo to pull the e-type into the garage , badly bending the hood frame in the process! It took about 20 minutes to get it in because the mud was so deep in what would be our new driveway . After a 68 point turn I managed to get the Volvo out the other door and leave the jag inside.
Stripping the Car !
The restoration started immediately. I began stripping the cars interior and then I started on the body . I was so excited I didn't even build a bench. In fact my tool box was still in the cellar of the house. I brought out a bunch of tool that I needed, you know 1/2 open ended, a few sockets and a big hammer. After all the doors, windows, trim were removed I pulled the motor and gearbox as a unit . The picture frame was beat up pretty bad, so I didn't mind putting a few more scratches in it . I had it out in a day or so and I was surprised at how easy it was to do by myself . Off next was the rear end . This massive piece of equipment is held on with eight bolt, the anti roll bar and the forward training arms. In my case the floor was so badly rotten that the arm had fallen onto the ground many years ago, so removing the rear end was quite easy .
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