Classic cars are always the type of vehicle to attract a crowd, fetch reasonable re-sale value and bring together strangers and car enthusiasts not only on a local scale, but worldwide. Increasing valuations of various classic vehicles are always fluctuating but the passion that is adopted with the heritage is always priceless to the people who restore and maintain their vehicles.
One of the most iconic British classic is, of course, Jaguar's E-Type. Introduced to the automotive production line in 1961 with its engine mounted directly onto the framework of the tubular chassis, of which the tub body was also mounted in a Motorsport derived arrangement. The E-Type production ended after 14 years in 1975 with the 'Series 3' variation which ran for four years. All E-Type chassis were based on the Jaguar D-Type where it won the Le Mans 24hours for three consecutive years meaning the pedigree was certainly a firm foundation in the design.
We were asked to carry out the final stages of this beautiful Series 1 Roadster restoration. Featuring a full body restoration where the interior, engine and chassis were stripped down and refurbished/replaced to make this E-Type look brand new, just like it would have in its productions year of 1967 although the owner of this particular Series 1 had opted for a few slight changes to the original finish such as choosing a modern Jaguar grey paint, red fabric roof, red leather interior, wider wheels and of course a full set of twin Weber carbs to optimize the cars performance from the 4.2L six-cylinder engine. Commissioned by the company that performed the restoration, we were asked to get the Jaguar ready to be transported to London where it would join the owners vehicle collection that featured a genuine right-hand-drive Shelby Mustang GT500 believed to be one of only two in the UK. So, onto the detail..
As the vehicle has been freshly re-built and only used for one short test journey, there was little in the respect of built up dirt. The main build up was the dust from being stored during its restoration. A few lower areas were covered in a little road grime but nothing excessive..
The engine bay was tackled first, inspecting the bay to see what build up was present and to see any delicate areas that would need extra care. Some polish compound remains from the flatting stage were still present on the underside of the bonnet vents alongside a covering of bodyshop dust and fluid spills. As the engine compartment was a tubular frame, almost all areas were easily accessible with various brushes. A diluted citrus pre-cleaner was misted onto the painted surfaces and a boar hair detailing brush to lift light dirt. As the engine was fully re-built as part of the restoration, there was no oil or leaks to remove. Any coolant spills were misted with a diluted All Purpose Cleaner (APC) and left for a minute to breakdown the spill, a light agitation with the detailing brush allowed easy removal. The open trumpet twin Weber carbs were blocked off by placing a microfiber in the trumpets themselves before the engine bay was carefully rinsed. The microfibers prevented excess water gaining access into the carbs during the rinse; a little extra precaution to avoid any damage by the carbs sucking in water during the start up. After being rinsed, the front clam was shut down ready to move onto the exterior..
The Jaguar wire wheels were firstly misted with a citrus pre-cleaner and an EZ Detail Mini wheel brush was used to agitate dust and dirt from the spokes effortlessly. The reason for using a citrus pre-cleaner over a dedicated wheel cleaner is that even a non-acidic (or "safe") wheel cleaner has the ability to stain bare metal and chrome finishes; citrus pre-cleaner is far milder and also completely safe on all surfaces. A pressure rinse revealed the high shine finish of the brand new, wider design wheels. The vehicle was then blanketed in a layer of foam pre-wash avoiding saturating the roof. The foam was left to dwell on the vehicle for 2-3 minutes allowing enough time to breakdown and lift the dust on the paint surface without excessive dwell time causing the foam drying out. A boars hair detailing brush was used to carefully lift dust trapped in badges, trim and intricate areas before the car was carefully rinsed with a pressure washer..
With the foam rinsed, the E-Type was then bucket washed using the two bucket with grit guard method. Auto Finesse Lather shampoo provided the lubricity and suds in one, whilst the second bucket was filled with fresh water to rinse the synthetic deep-pile wash mitt after each panel was cleansed. Working gently in only straight lines, the curves of the E-Type were cleansed thoroughly panel-by-panel before a pressure rinse once again.
As the vehicle had only been used for one very short test journey, there were no tar spotting present after an inspection of the lower body. A few glue adhesive and under-body-coat specs were present and were dealt with accordingly with a dedicated tar and glue remover. Once these remains were removed safely, the E-Type was then moved straight onto the clay decontamination stage. As the paint was only a few weeks old, there was no contaminants to be removed, nothing that a gentle going over with a surface preparation towel (claybar alternative) couldn't take care of effortlessly and quickly. Once each panel was massaged with the surface prep towel, a second layer of foam was blanketed over the car; a weaker dilution of foam this time round due to the foam only being required to carry any lifted contamination away safely. A few minutes of dwelling and the foam was rinsed away prior to the vehicle being brought indoors to be dried down. A combination of drying towels and warm filtered air to blow out standing water from gaps and trim.
During the wash process, a few areas of sanding mark were noticed. These areas appeared dull and would be rectified later during the polishing stages.
With the vehicle dried down and under the LED lighting at the premises, a few defect areas became visible. These areas were a mixture of flatting marks and general buffer trails from poor polishing technique - nothing outrageously severe. The main task was to remove the said defects, as the paint was fresh a single stage machine polish allowed a cut to remove the buffer damage and the odd deeper mark whilst leaving a glossy, protection-ready finish to the beautiful Jaguar paint. Before any polishing commenced, any delicate trims, brightwork ans window rubbers were masked up to prevent any polish damaging them. Once the masking had been carefully completed, Koch Chemie polish and a Lake Country CCS polishing pad was worked by a Flex 3401 VRG forced-rotation dual action polisher - our personal favorite machine for correcting any type of vehicle. Working the polish in two sets of 4-6 slow passes in a cross-hatch movement allowed it to be worked well whilst not over-cutting the paint unnecessarily. For the areas of heavy flatting marks, a slightly more aggressive combination was required, this time via a rotary polisher. These areas were polished before the passing with the Flex dual action polisher so that any inflicted damage from the rotary would be removed.
Once each panel had been completed, an IPA wipedown removed any remaining polish residues and oils to reveal the paint condition in its bare form. An inspection of the paint following the IPA wipedown would allow to see any areas that may need another polishing set, once again making sure to IPA that area once completed before continuing onto the next.
Once the polish residues had been removed, the masking tape was carefully pealed away and it was now time to lay down the protection onto the paint. The protection of choice on this vehicle would be Gtechniq C2v3 Liquid Crystal sealant. Being a dark grey, the way to gain gloss is to maximize reflective properties. It's notorious that white, silver and lighter colours are more difficult to get the 'WOW' that most other colours get in direct sunlight - unless you know how of course. Misting lightly a few times per panel was sufficient to cover the whole car with C2v3, using two clean microfiber cloths; the first to spread the product, the second to buff. Two applications of the sealant with one hour between the first and second allowed extremely simple yet effective protection for months to come.
All brightwork such as bumpers, window trims and mirrors were all freshly replaced as part of the restoration, as simple brightening with Auto Finesse Mercury metal polish removed water spotting and fingerprints from the chrome. Once buffed away the metal was a perfect mirror finish with perfect clarity and shine complementing the brand new wire wheels that were fitted to the vehicle. The E-Types exhaust tips were also polished with Mercury, following the rear boxes back underneath the chassis to ensure all visible exhaust was presentable and clean.
Rubber seals and tyres were dressed an protected with Gtechniq T1 Tyre&Trim for its long lasting satin finish. The exterior glass was cleared of dust and water spotting with Auto Finesse Crystal, a glass cloth buffed the product to a streak free finish. Any T1 that was over-applied around the window seals were removed at this point also. To finalize the exterior, the red fabric roof was thoroughly vacuumed with a soft bristle brush attachment to remove dust trapped in the fibers.
Now that the exterior was complete, our attention was turned to the beautiful red leather and carpet cockpit. Once again, like the rest of this vehicle the interior was brand new also. A gathering of dust was the only real build up other than a few finger prints on the glass surfaces. All interior surfaces were vacuumed with a soft bristle attachment to ensure no scratches were inflicted onto the dashboard and brand new leather seats. A soft interior detailing brush was used to agitate vents, switches and trim gaps to ensure dust was lifted from these areas also. Auto Finesse Dressle was misted into a clean microfiber and spread across all interior plastic trim evenly to leave a slightly satin finish to the interior. The leather seats were misted lightly with a diluted leather-safe interior cleaner and carefully wiped clean. Once the cleaner had been dried off, Gliptone Liquid Leather Conditioner was massaged into the hide thoroughly until the product had lost its milky appearance. The leather scent was prominent as soon as the product was applied, adding to the classic character of the Jaguar. After a few minutes the Gliptone conditioner was fully absorbed and the leather retained its matte finish beautifully. Interior glass was cleared of finger marks and general build up from being re-fitted to the vehicle during its assembly, Auto Finesse Crystal providing the needed cleaning power to restore a clear and streak free finish.
To finalize the detail, the front nose was lifted to gain access to the rebuilt engine compartment. Auto Finesse Dressle was misted liberally onto any plastic and rubber components ensuring any excess drips and over spray were removed. The dressle was then left for a few minutes to give the plastics a rich satin finish, excess product was then dabbed away with a microfiber. The under-clam areas and any exposed painted chassis were wiped free of water spots and any Dressle remains by lightly misting Finale quick detailer into a clean microfiber and buffing each area to a high gloss. After all the painted areas were buffed for a final time, the Jaguar E-Type was ready to be transported to London to be reunited with its eagerly awaiting owner. By far the most beautiful vehicle to grace the studio and our hands..