XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

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KWE is expanding: Servicing for new and classic Jaguar models

Exciting things are happening at KWE Cars, and we want to share some important news with you.

KWE Cars is expanding

Loyalty from customers has fuelled continued growth, making a move to a new facility necessary.

We are pleased to inform you that our workshop is expanding into larger premises, located on Greenham Business Park, just a stones throw away from our current office/workshop. The building is 5000 sq ft and will become our main restoration workshop.

KWE have recently employed more technicians with specialist skillsets, which now means we have more restorations in progress at any one time, so having the extra floor space for manoeuvring and assembling these classic vehicles is an absolute must.

We have also acquired a third building on the estate which is currently being used for dry storage of customer vehicles, soon to become KWE’s in-house paint and body shop.

Our existing workshop will be turned into our servicing workshop for general repairs and servicing of new and classic models of Jaguar, Daimler and Aston Martin. We expect this side of the business to be up and running by the end of August 2017.

We look forward to continuing to service new and existing customer vehicles in a dedicated fashion.

Our address and telephone numbers remain unchanged. If you would like to be notified of the official launch and receive more details on service offerings, please sign up to our newsletter below.

 

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Jaguar D-Type is the third most expensive car ever sold at auction

The 1955 Jaguar D-Type was the winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1955, 1956 and 1957. A limited number of cars were produced between 1954 and 1956 and one went for the multi-million pound sum on August 19 2016.

 

A legendary Jaguar designed by Malcolm Sayers is the third most expensive car ever sold at auction – fetching an eye-watering £16,772,619 ($21,780,000).

MoneySuperMarket has published a list of 17 of the world’s most valuable classic car sales of all time, already the prestigious Jaguar D-Type sold almost a year ago has increased in value. According to the insurance comparison website it is now estimated to be worth £16,835,433, meaning its value has risen by £62,814 in less than 12 months.

A Segment on this Magnificent D-Type’s History

A camera is strapped to the back of a D-Type and a microphone fitted to Mike Hawthorn so he can commentate his way around the circuit in 1956 – the result is a rare and revealing treat. Hawthorn delivers his verdict on the track, and on the driving standards.

1955 Jaguar D-Type

  • Chassis no. XKD 501
  • Engine no. E 2036-9

250 bhp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with three Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle trailing links and transverse torsion bar, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

  • Legendary overall winner of the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans, raced by Ecurie Ecosse
  • Just two private owners since Ecurie Ecosse; in the same private collection for over 16 years
  • The only Le Mans-winning C- or D-Type that has survived intact and remained essentially original to its winning form
  • The first team-series production D-Type and the first to be designated by its chassis as a D-Type
  • Unequivocally one of the most important and valuable Jaguars in the world

28 JULY 1956-The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most prestigious and legendary endurance race, starts at four o’clock in the afternoon and it’s raining—an inauspicious start to an already exceptionally dangerous motor race. With 60 years of competition history, the starting grid at La Sarthe is utterly jaw-dropping—legends like de Portago, Trintignant, Gendebien, von Trips, Hill, Maglioli, Behra, Fangio, and Castelloti are piloting prototype and production machinery with names like Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Talbot, Porsche, Lotus, and Gordini. This is the golden age of motor-racing—the era of an unbroken Mulsanne Straight, mind-bending speeds, and supreme, life-risking danger in pursuit of eternal glory. This won’t be an easy race, and the men on the starting grid, about to sprint across the front stretch and jump into their cars, know it. After all, 49 cars will start the race and only 14 will finish. One man will lose his life.

One of the most stunningly beautiful cars on the grid was the formidable Jaguar D-Type, swathed in traditional Scottish blue with a white cross, the traditional colors of the Ecurie Ecosse outfit. Standing across the track is Ron Flockhart, one of its two drivers, an Edinburgh-born driver who might not have known it, but he was on his way to consecutive Le Mans wins. Quite the adventurer, several years, later, he would make two attempts at breaking the flight record from Sydney, Australia, to London, England, in a war-era P51 Mustang. The Glasgow-born Ninian Sanderson was also on hand, Flockhart’s teammate, and by all accounts his polar opposite. A practical joker with a biting sense of humor, but with the same spirit for adventure . . . a yachtsman, he raced regattas on the Clyde Coast of Scotland.

There they stand, two privateer entries in the competitive field, about to begin a 24-hour battle in conditions that Motor Sport Magazine described in September 1956 as “terrible, with rain and mist, and driving at all, let alone racing, was a nightmare . . . . How drivers can take a quick two or three hours’ sleep and then go on again defies explanation!”

CRAFTING A LE MANS WINNER

Following their win at Le Mans in 1953, where Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt led a veritable parade of C-Types to three of the top four finishes, Jaguar faced a problem. It was evident that the limits of the XK 120-based race car had been reached, and that to remain competitive at Le Mans, a new car would be required.

While the C-Type had been one of the first cars of its era to employ a steel-tube space-frame, its successor was perhaps the first to claim unitary monocoque construction, with the body and frame combining for structural integrity. The successful and proven 3.4-liter XK engine was retained, but now fitted with triple Weber carburetors good for 245 horsepower. A dry-sump lubrication system was also adapted that reduced height, allowing the engine to be mounted lower, and correspondingly reducing the overall profile and coefficient of drag. It was clear that the design was effective when one of the new cars hit 169 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at the Le Mans trials in April 1954. As the previous Jaguar had been called the C-Type for “competition,” the new Jaguar was dubbed the D-Type.

The D-Type made its debut at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Rolt and Hamilton were tasked with repeating their victory of the prior year. However, all three of Jaguar’s team entries were plagued with firing problems, and two of the D-Types retired before the #14 car of Hamilton and Rolt was adequately sorted to contend. As 4:00 p.m. approached on Sunday afternoon, the D-Type and the powerful 4.9-liter Ferrari 375 Plus driven by Froilan Gonzales and Maurice Trintignant were far ahead of two Cunninghams, a Gordini, and the Garage Francorchamps’ C-Type. After all was said and done, the Ferrari had only a narrow lead over the D-Type, besting the Jaguar in one of the closest Le Mans finishes ever.

Six team cars were constructed for 1954, with chassis numbers in the range of XKD 401 through 406. In 1955, Jaguar began selling team and customer cars with 3.4-liter carbureted engines as the company gradually established the production minimum necessary to satisfy FIA homologation requirements. Fifty-four such cars were eventually built, with chassis numbers starting at XKD 501 (the first privateer team car). The factory simultaneously developed a version of the car for its competition purposes, most immediately recognizable by a longer nose.

1955 Jaguar D-Type XKD501 (photo: Patrick Ernzen)

CHASSIS NUMBER XKD 501

Chassis number XKD 501 was the first D-Type production for a private team, sold to the Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse, and dispatched on 5 May 1955. A principal factory customer, Ecurie Ecosse was founded in 1951 and successfully ran C-Types through the early 1950s before eventually purchasing several D-Types. XKD 501 was liveried in the team’s signature colors with the St. Andrews Cross emblazoned on the front fenders. It was initially entrusted to driver Jimmy Stewart, brother of the legendary Jackie Stewart. Jimmy unfortunately crashed the D-Type twice during practice in May 1955. Each time, the car was returned to the factory for repairs.

XKD 501 was therefore sidelined during June 1955, when Jaguar entered three longnose D-Types at Le Mans and played an unwitting role in one of motorsports’ most tragic disasters. Three laps into the race, team driver Mike Hawthorn, who had just lapped a much slower Austin-Healey, suddenly turned into the pits. The surprised Healey veered left to avoid hitting Hawthorn, pulling directly into the path of Pierre Levegh, who was driving one of Mercedes-Benzes new 300 SLRs. The SLR careened into the crowd, forever changing motorsports—yet the race continued.

The following morning, while holding 1st and 3rd place, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from the race, and Hawthorn was left alone at the head of the pack, a full five laps ahead of the 2nd place finisher, the Aston Martin DB3S driven by Paul Frere and Peter Collins. The D-Type had won its first Le Mans, but at no small cost to the state of racing.

Meanwhile, XKD 501 appeared at the Leinster Trophy on 9 July, where Desmond Titterington took the car to 9th overall, and 1st in class. Ecosse driver Ninian Sanderson assumed driving duties at the British GP on 17 July, claiming 6th place.

Titterington returned to action in early August, finishing 1st and 2nd at the races at Charterhall, and then enjoyed two 1st place finishes at Snetterton a week later. Sanderson rotated in for a 1st and 2nd place at Crimond, and the two drivers teamed up for a 2nd place finish during the nine-hour race at Goodwood on 20 August. Another 2nd place by Titterington at Aintree on 3 September completed the 1955 season.

VICTORY AND VINDICATION

During 1956, rule changes mandated the implementation of full-width windscreens, and XKD 501 was so equipped while later receiving the engine from XKD 561 (engine number 2036-9), which the Ecurie Ecosse had acquired in the interim. The car continued to turn in solid performances during the first part of the season, with 3rd place finishes at Aintree and Charterhall, and a 1st and 2nd place at Goodwood on 21 May, while piloted by Ron Flockhart. Flockhart and Sanderson teamed for the 12 Hours of Reims on 30 June, where the D-Type model put on a clinical display. The two Ecosse drivers finished 4th, behind the three factory D-Types at 1-2-3, notably defeating the latest Ferrari TR Spider, and an F1-derived Gordini.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans was held in late July, delayed from its usual June date due to modifications to the circuit intended to make the track safer for both drivers and spectators. The Jaguar factory again entered three D-Types with longnose bodywork, though in the face of the latest rule restrictions, the cars were equipped with fuel injection intended to improve mileage (a new consideration in the wake of reduced fuel allowances). Two carbureted 1955 privateer D-Types were also entered, fielded by the Garage Francorchamps and Ecurie Ecosse. The Scottish entry, this car, was again guided by the team of Sanderson and Flockhart. It was here that XKD 501 turned in its greatest performance, but as Motor Sport related two months later, “everyone had to do 34 laps on 120 liters of fuel, which worked out at approximately 11 mpg, with nothing to spare for emergencies. Naturally, the small cars were sitting pretty while the Jaguars and Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Talbots were doing plenty of worrying.”

Certainly everyone was expecting a repeat of Reims, but it was not quite that simple.

Although Hawthorn in the factory D-Type took an early lead, on the second lap of the race, everything changed with an early accident and two possible winners were eliminated, followed by Hawthorn, who came in after only four hours with a misfire. With 23 hours, 30 minutes still to go, the complete Jaguar team was in trouble, two cars eliminated, and one struggling with a bad fuel line. From a Works standpoint, the race appeared lost and Aston Martin and Ferrari were poised to outrun the older D-Types.

The race report continued: “this left the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar to uphold Coventry honors, and right nobly it did this, for by 5 p.m., it was in the lead and for the rest of the race, it was a game of cat and mouse between Flockhart/Sanderson and Moss/Collins. While Flockhart was driving, he was able to keep ahead of Moss and after 34 laps, when Collins took over the Aston Martin, he made up ground on Sanderson, who took over the Jaguar. Then, the next 34 laps saw the position reversed and the result was that the Scottish Jaguar had the race under its kilt, providing they played their cards wisely. With David Murray in charge of the time-keeping and Wilkie Wilkinson in charge of the pit stops, they could hardly go wrong.”

Certainly, the Aston Martin didn’t quite stand a chance. The D-Type was so exceptionally fast that “Jaguar lapped regularly with nearly 1,000 rpm in hand” without significant fuel concerns, while the Aston had to be red-lined, gear by gear, entering the pits on fumes, simply to keep up. On occasion, Moss and Collins would even slip into neutral well before the end of the Mulsanne Straight and dart behind the Porsches’ slipstreams, all in an effort to save fuel.

By the race’s final lap, however, with just 14 cars remaining in the field, the D-Type had a seven-lap lead on Trintignant and Olivier Gendebien’s Ferrari 625 LM spider, and a narrow lead over Stirling Moss in the Aston. Swaters’ D-Type held at 4th place, and this is the order in which the cars finished, with XKD 501 claiming its definitive victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

XKD 501 completed 2,507.19 miles at an average speed of 104.47 mph, and a maximum speed of 156.868 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, good enough for 9th in the Index of Performance rankings. In doing so, XKD 501 upheld the D-Type’s dominance despite the adversity faced by the factory cars (to his credit the skilled driver Hawthorn managed to roar his way back to 6th overall). Following the amazing finish at La Sarthe, XKD 501 returned to action in Britain, with a 2nd place at Aintree and 3rd at the Goodwood Trophy Race, but these triumphs paled after its perfect performance in France.

AFTER THE LIMELIGHT

In 1957, Jaguar retired from factory racing altogether and sold its latest longnose D-Types, with several cars acquired by the Ecurie Ecosse. As these 3.8-liter D-Types became the team’s focus, XKD 501 was only occasionally entered in various races, beginning with the Mille Miglia on 12 May, where the car retired early with Flockhart driving. Ecurie again experienced great success at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking 1st and 2nd place, while other D-Type privateers finished 3rd, 4th, and 6th. Even with the Jaguar factory officially retired, the D-Type was still proving to be a dominant force on the world’s biggest stage.

XKD 501’s time in the spotlight faded with these developments, however, and the car elapsed 1957 with a handful of DNFs, as well as 3rd, 6th, and 7th place finishes, punctuated by a final checkered flag at the Goodwood Whitsun Meeting in June. The car was essentially retired after June 1957, and it soon passed to Ecurie Ecosse financier Major Thomson of Peebles, Scotland. In May 1967, the car was demonstrated and presented at the Griffiths Formula 1 race at Oulton Park, driven by Alistair Birrell (a photo of which appears in Andrew Whyte’s 1983 book, D-Type and XKSS: Super Profile).

In October 1970, XKD 501 was sold to Sir Michael Nairn, a fellow Scot, and over the following few years was sympathetically restored with emphasis on retaining its purity and originality to its 1956 Le Mans specifications by Raymond Fielding, as detailed in the September/October 1996 issue of Jaguar World magazine. The engine head and block were returned to Jaguar to be rebuilt, while the suspension and brakes were restored with proper components. Parts were sourced from John Pearson, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the D-Type, and a boyhood associate of the factory C-Type teams of the early 1950s. Most of the work was actually performed by ex-HRG/Cooper/Vanwall employee Dick Watson. Sir Nairn then used the car rather frequently, including presentation at the 1996 Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Silverstone Classic.

In 1999, XKD 501 was purchased by the consignor, one of America’s most respected collectors of exceptional sports and racing cars. The new owner retained John Pearson to evaluate and freshen the car as needed for vintage racing applications, where it was presented at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, winning the Jaguar Competition class and the Road & Track Award.

A LEGEND AMONG LEGENDS

In May 2002, Jaguar World Monthly magazine ran a feature on the car by marque expert Paul Skilleter, where he described his spirited ride:

“With a 0–100 mph time of probably around the 12-second mark, the acceleration combined with the blast of the exhaust and the rush of air over the cockpit made it an exhilarating experience . . . The other aspect of a D-Type [that I noticed] is its solidity of build: sitting comfortably deep within those enfolding curves, you feel nothing vibrate, nothing rattle, nothing flex. Just sit in a D-Type and you know why it won Le Mans.”

Now offered from only its third private owner, XKD 501 checks all the proverbial boxes. It has won the most grueling contest in sports car racing, the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is a centrifugal component of Jaguar’s three consecutive wins at La Sarthe. The Jaguar has been fastidiously maintained and serviced by just four caretakers, including a restoration by some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts. Almost unique among a run of automobiles that inevitably led hard lives, its history is refreshingly clean, concise, and incredibly well-known.

Chronicled in many books as a permanent part of Le Mans lore, this extremely important Ecurie Ecosse D-Type would crown the finest collections, notable for its history, rarity, and beautifully authentic presentation. Not merely a significant and markedly well-preserved D-Type, nor a star in the forefront of important racing Jaguars, XKD 501 can inarguably be held among the most historic British sports cars ever made. It is a legend among legends.

Used solely for informative purposes [Source: RM Sotheby’s; photos: Patrick Ernzen]

Car of the Month: 6 litre Convertible XJS from the U.S.

6 litre Convertible XJS

We received this XJS just under a year ago, now after hundreds of man hours, this fine looking 6 litre convertible XJS has been completely restored. Currently the car is in safe transit back to our eager client in New York.

We were all very excited about this unique project, the client wanted the car restored to a very high specification, keeping to the original, charismatic styling.

 

6 litre Convertible XJSAlmost every part has been upgraded and restored including but not limited to a Full respray in the original colour, Brooklands green. Topped with a brand new convertible hood in beige mohair with beige lining. The 5 spoke wheels have been refurbished in polished alloy with golden in fills and an emerald green growler centre cap. The elegant exterior is matched by the luxurious camel coloured Connolly Vaumol hide leather interior with bottle green piping and stitching, matched with biscuit wool carpets with the same green edging. The internal refurbishment was completed with new burr walnut wood veneers. The little touches of gold really set this car off.

 

6 litre Convertible XJSThe engine has been completely re-built and detailed to a very high standard. We have even added an extra 15hp to the engine to give it more grunt. From a driveability point of view there are big gains in low-end torque and power – about 30% & 35% respectively which is huge at 2800rpm – just where you want it. A power increase of 35% at overtaking speeds is like a supercharger. On the road it feels fabulous!

 

In summary, we have thoroughly enjoyed this whole project, it’s a beautifully styled car and we hope the owner will be able to enjoy it for many many years to come.

Take a look at the walkaround video and full image gallery of the finished car in our showcase.

Full restoration process in pictures, see our off-site build gallery.

 

Farewell! XJS Convertible being safely transported back to the U.S. after our final pre-delivery checks.

Pound Drops after UK Election: Makes better investment for International Classic Car Buyers

Classic Car Investment

Following the UK general election the result of who will be running the country was quite literally hanging in the balance. We look at how this could benefit international classic car buyers looking to get their hands on a beautifully restored Jaguar XJS.

The one thing we can see for sure is the effect that the election has had on the exchange market.  Before the election the pound was slowly rising following Brexit and the flash crash in October 2016, which saw a higher demand for British classic cars from international buyers.

Now the pound has dropped further again making British classic cars over 10% more affordable to U.S. and European buyers than this time last year.

 

Why Jaguar XJS?

The XJS may not initially have been the most popular Jaguar, due to some questionable build quality and the hard-lined style that took some time to be publicly accepted. We can now safely say it has left its mark as one of the greatest luxury grand tourers of its time, with Jaguar selling a remarkable 115,413 examples over a period of 21 years, making it a hugely successful model for the famous British brand and comfortably outselling its more famous predecessor, the E-type, by around 40,000 units.

With that in mind, good condition examples of these cars are ever becoming harder to find, after a check with the DVLA there are less than 900 XJS models left registered on the road in the UK, and around 2200 declared off the road in 2016. Most of these examples are in an unknown condition. However, KWE have proudly carried out extensive restoration work on over 300 various XJS models, covering over 30% of the cars that are still on the road in the UK today. We cannot account for the number of XJS models left around the world, but we would expect there to be a lot of good LHD examples in the U.S, especially in its dry states, and in Japan for RHD, this is being due to their more rigorous testing standards and the fact they do not use road salt, thus keeping rust at bay and bodywork in far better condition.

 

How many Jaguar XJS models left 2016

The chart above shows all models of Jaguar XJS registered with the DVLA (Department of Transport) from 1994 to 2016.

 

Next, we looked at the rising value of the XJS, especially in the convertible and cabriolet models. The Jaguar XJS is not yet valued in the hundreds of thousands of pounds like the E-type. But it is steadily rising year on year at an increasing rate. According to web-based Classic Car Auction Results, this is the time to get your hands on the next big thing:

“The XJS does seem to have begun a growth curve in recent years that suggest similar levels of growth to what we have seen in E-Types are to come, Charlie suggests: There are now far more cars selling for more than £10k, and the cars fetching over £20k are no longer just ultra-collectible cars or super low-milers. High spec, exceptional condition cars are now achieving these figures too.”

“With an approximate value increase of 50% in 10 years, Jaguar XJS values don’t need to get much higher before the annual value increase is in the thousands [of pounds].” He adds.

 

Jaguar XJS Auction Results

Jaguar XJS Auction Values

The graph above shows auction sales figures of various Jaguar XJS models.

 

Why KWE?

Why choose the UK’s leading Jaguar XJS Specialist? Well, we are probably the most experienced restorers of the XJS to better than new condition, and work hard to make the car exactly as the client desires rather than working to minimise time and cost.

KWE carefully select upgraded parts that are second to none, and their experienced specialist technicians have inside and out knowledge of these glorious cars. They have an excellent track record in keeping their customers happy, one of the ways they achieve this is by regular updates and photos on their exciting restoration journeys. KWE likes to keep you in the loop, whether you are around the corner or across the sea.

In addition to the above, they strive to make the process as hassle free as possible. With their international clientele spanning across the globe, they have gained experience in importing and exporting classic cars to wherever their customers are in the world, including Europe, Australia, Japan and the U.S.

As part of the comprehensive Sea Freight service they can offer, their trusted agent will;

  • Collect your vehicle (if required)
  • Make the appropriate shipping line booking
  • Receive and prepare your car for shipment, to include steam cleaning when required
  • Complete pre-condition reports
  • Load and secure your vehicle into container
  • Complete all Customs formalities
  • Pre-alert the nominated arrival agent to process the arrival formalities for release
  • Arrange for the offloading of your vehicle at destination
  • Arrange the onward delivery of your vehicle to KWE

Should you own or purchase a car anywhere in the world, they are able to arrange all of the above formalities in reverse, setting up and monitoring the entire process from start to finish.

So, if you’re based outside the UK, now is a very good time to buy a UK classic car!

Contact KWE today to discuss your requirements – whether that’s sourcing a classic car, shipping, or restoration.

Preparing for a classic road trip

Forchino model car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing quite like the thrill of taking your classic on a road trip. Whether it’s Amalfi Coast in Italy, the Grande Corniche in France or the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, some of the world’s most majestic scenery and stunning roads are on our back-door step; and with the Spring firmly upon us, there is no better time to hit the road.

But before you grab your passport and make a mad dash for the White Cliffs of Dover, it’s a good idea to spend some time making sure your car is ready for the trip ahead.

The Jaguar XJS has a fantastic V12 engine that can withstand a great deal of spirited driving; but you shouldn’t let this lull you into a false sense of security. Having your engine seize in the Highlands of Scotland is not going to be a pleasant experience.

 

Perishables, perishables, perishables

Regular maintenance is the key to longevity when it comes to classics, and only you will know how well the vehicle has been maintained. Assuming that the vehicle has been regularly serviced and that your tyres are in good condition, getting ready for a big road trip shouldn’t be too painful an experience.

One of the most common causes of break downs on a road trip is the failure of perishables such as coolant hoses and drive belts. People often forget that rubber is affected by the passage of time, not by mileage. Therefore, you should check the condition of all engine perishables on any classic that is not subject to routine maintenance – particularly your hoses, which can harden and crack over time. Leaving them unrepaired can lead to a seized engine, which can cost many thousands of pounds to rectify.

 

Be prepared for the unexpected

Chris Knowles, KWE Cars MD and Jaguar XKS specialist shares one of his holiday experiences:

“We were driving to France for our summer holiday, departing from Portsmouth.” Chris explains. “Whilst boarding the ferry a radiator hose burst resulting in us limping onto the ferry. We had to persuade the ferry crew to let us onto the secure car deck to repair it. Once we’d carried out a ‘ferryside’ repair at sea, the car was ok to drive however, the holiday was fraught with worry that we could breakdown at anytime. Lesson learned, always prepare before your trip and always be prepared. Even the experts get caught out sometimes!”

 

KWE offer a perishable service package, comprising:

  • coolant and fuel hose replacements
  • chemical coolant
  • oil flush
  • drive belts
  • ignition leads replacement

along with minor tuning if necessary and a full service of the car.

This is usually enough to get your car ready for a big road trip, but the service can be upgraded to address all the most common areas of failure in a classic engine. The upgraded service returns a high level of reliability without carrying out any major restoration work on the engine.

It’s worth noting that this is not a drop-in service, and has to be booked in advance.

 

Classic car checklist

Classic car road trip checklist

Nothing beats the thrill of a classic road-trip. Whether it’s winding across the B Roads of England or cruising past the dramatic peninsulas of the French Riviera, your classic Jaguar will be in its element.

Before booking your self-drive holiday, check that your planned route does not include towns or cities that you are not able to drive your classic. Many places like London in the UK have low emission zones, we’ve provided a couple of useful links below to help you:

Once you set off, you shouldn’t have a care in the world. Just you, your car and the road ahead. But to reach this state of classic car nirvana, it’s important to put some preparation in ahead of time.

We’ve put together a useful checklist to prepare for your dream driving holiday:

In car toolkit

  • GB car stickers
  • Spare fuel can
  • Torch
  • Spare headlight bulb kit
  • High viz jackets and warning triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Breathalyser
  • Jump leads or a battery booster. We’ve found these very handy.
  • Currency for any penalties incurred.

Service checks

There are simple things you can do yourself to make sure your car is in good, roadworthy condition such as checking your tyre pressures and tread, topping up your oil, and surveying the engine bay carefully for coolant leaks, power steering leaks and oil level, brake fluid level and gearbox oil level. These simple tasks are vital to keeping your car running smoothly on the road and to stop your engine overheating.

  • Fit headlamp beam deflectors for Continental driving.
  • Oil
  • Screen washer fluid and coolant.
  • Perishables
  • Age of tyres, long distance, fast speed and temperature all affect tyre wear and tear. Don’t forget to check the spare!
  • Working radio – KWE can apply a bluetooth adapter to your original radio so you can stream music from your smartphone.
  • Adjust suspension for heavy loads. Pump rear tyres 38 psi. With a KWE suspension, we can set your car up for a loaded vehicle.
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Check the battery is not flat and the car starts in advance of the day of your trip!

Documents

  • Valid insurance
  • MOT
  • Breakdown cover
  • Sat Nav with updated routes
  • Driving permits

Our simple checklist can give you peace of mind ahead of your trip; but the most important thing to remember is your sense of adventure! Have an unforgettable holiday and we’ll see you on the other side.

Steering, brake and suspension hints and tips from KWE

To determine if your steering system is worn you can do the following:

  • When you are driving at slow speed (15mph) on a flat road, if when turning the steering wheel to change direction of the car it takes more than ½ inch movement of the steering wheel rim, then it is likely to be worn. Most worn cars will need over 2 inches at the rim to change direction.
  • Listen for a grinding noise from the steering pump when on full lock – if there is, then the system is leaking oil and the pump is running dry.
  • Observe if the car drifts left or right whilst driving. A mild drift to the right is ok on UK roads (i.e. out of the left gutter), but anything significant, or drift to the left can indicate either:

unequal tyre pressures

uneven tyre wear

different tyre types

incorrectly-setup suspension geometry

  • If you notice the direction of the car is unstable, either drifting or pulling left or right depending on road surface, then the toe-in could be badly out.
  • If the tread blocks show feathering on leading or trailing edges then the toe-in could be slightly out.
  • If you notice a wobble when driving at varying speeds (this tends to occur over a narrow speed range of, say, 50 – 60mph), this can indicate an unbalanced or bent wheel rim, or an unevenly worn tyre. Cheap tyres can be very bad from new. Do not confuse this wobble with brake shudder – see below.

 

To determine if your brakes are faulty do the following:

  • When gently applying the brakes, you notice that the car pulls left or right then:

there could be different brake retardation between left and right brake discs/pads

the tyres could have uneven grip

  •  If the car wobbles when the footbrake is applied then most likely one or both front brake discs is unevenly surfaced or unbalanced.
  • When firmly applying the brakes on a dry road:

on ABS-equipped cars) you should feel the car judder violently as the ABS alternately skids and releases the brakes.

on non-ABS cars, at least one front wheel should lock-up and skid.

If it is not possible to make the wheels skid on a dry road then the overall brake efficiency is down, usually because one or more brake caliper piston is seized.

  • When stationary on a flat road or driveway with engine running, apply the handbrake, engage D (this does not work for manual gearbox cars) and release the footbrake. The car should not move forward. This is particularly relevant to the XJ or XJS with inboard brakes where the handbrake mechanism is feeble and is commonly damaged by drivers leaving the fly-off handbrake applied while driving.

 

To determine if there are suspension problems:

  • Note any rattles at the front when going over rough roads – this is usually due to worn-out damper mountings, or, less frequently, worn-out anti-roll bar mountings.
  • Push down on the middle of the front bumper firmly with your knee. The car should be difficult to move downwards, and it should not bounce as it rises again. Repeat at the rear. If the car bounces (i.e. more than one movement after releasing the down pressure) then the dampers are worn; if the car is easy to push down then the springs are weak.
  • Look at the car on a level road from the side. The car should be more or less level, with perhaps a mild nose-down attitude. If it is high at the front then the rear springs are weak – this is common.
  • With the car settled on a flat road or driveway, you should be able to insert two fingers between the wheel arch and the top of the tyre. If this is not possible then the:

ride height is incorrect

car has been lowered

wrong tyre profiles have been fitted

There are many more suspension faults that can be identified visually or by ear. Come and see us, we can spot them and correct them for you!

*Please ensure that you if you carry out any of the above, do so in a safe environment and manner.