XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

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KWE has been restoring Jaguars for 15 years!

Knowles-Wilkins Engineering (KWE) Ltd has reached its 15th Anniversary. From being very much new kids on the block back on 2002, we have become well known at home and abroad for our Jaguar XJS restoration and modernisation work. Owners Chris and Theresa Knowles started the company from their home and, perhaps surprisingly, took three major orders in the first two months, appeared on Top Gear twice and turned over around £100,000 before moving the business (and home) to Newbury, Berkshire in 2004. Since then we have restored over 300 cars, most with our revered full suspension/brakes/steering upgrade package.

We currently employ 10 staff and occupy three very busy premises on Greenham Business Park, and are currently recruiting. We would like to thank all of our past and present customers for there continued support and love for the Jaguar.

We have expanded our works to include XK, all XJ saloons, E Types and Aston Martin DB7s. We are continuing to develop, improve and revitalise these astounding classic and future classic cars.

KWE are now offering servicing for Jaguar X300, X308, X-Type, S-Type, XK8/R.

Happy owners! Chris & Theresa Knowles on KWE’s 15th Anniversary.

Fully Electric Jaguar E-Type Zero a Truly Modern Classic

Jaguar Land Rover Classic electrifies the past with an inventive Jaguar E-type sports car featuring fully electric powertrain

 

 

  • Acclaimed by Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car in the world”, the Jaguar E-type now combines breathtaking beauty with zero emissions for the first time
  • E-type Zero is based on 1968 Series 1.5 Jaguar E-type Roadster, and features a cutting-edge electric powertrain enabling 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds
  • Engineered by Jaguar Land Rover Classic at company’s new ‘Classic Works’ in Warwickshire, UK
  • E-type Zero makes world debut during Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London from 8-10 September
  • E-Type Zero will sit alongside the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE at Tech Fest, which goes on sale in 2018

“E-type Zero combines the renowned E-type dynamic experience with enhanced performance through electrification. This unique combination creates a breathtaking driving sensation.

 

“Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”

Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic

The Jaguar E-type Zero not only drives and looks like an E-type, it also offers outstanding performance. It’s quicker than an original E-type: 0-100km/h (62mph) takes only 5.5sec, about one second quicker than a Series 1 E-type.

“In order to seamlessly combine the new electric powertrain of E-type Zero with the dynamic set-up of the original E-type specification, we have limited the vehicle’s power output. We believe this provides the optimum driving experience.”

Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic

The E-type Zero vehicle, displayed at Tech Fest, is a restored Series 1.5 Roadster. It’s totally original in specification, apart from its 21st century state-of-the-art powertrain and modified instrumentation and fascia – although these are also inspired by the original E-type. LED headlights are also used to achieve energy efficiency. Again, they adopt the styling theme of the original Series 1 E-type.

 

 

Bespoke electric powertrain

An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. The experts responsible for developing the electric powertrain have ensured it will be placed in precisely the same location as the XK engine. The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies just behind the battery pack, in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox. A new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive. Total weight is 46kg lower than the original E-type.

 

 

Using an electric powertrain with similar weight and dimensions to the outgoing petrol engine and transmission means the car’s structure, including suspension and brakes, has not changed, simplifying the conversion and homologation. It drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type. Front-rear weight distribution is unchanged.

 

“We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point. We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.”

Tim Hannig

 

The XK six-cylinder engine was made from 1949 until 1992, and was fitted to nearly all iconic Jaguar models of that period, including the E-type, XK120, Mk2 and XJ6. The new electric powertrain could be used in any of these vehicles.

“We could use this technology to transform any classic XK-engine Jaguar.”

Tim Hannig

‘The most beautiful car ever made’

The E-type, launched in 1961, has regularly been voted the best-looking car of all time. Even Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”.

 

 

E-type Zero’s unique electric powertrain was developed by an electric powertrain specialist in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover engineers and to a specific brief from Jaguar Land Rover Classic. It uses some technology and components borrowed from the upcoming I-PACE, Jaguar Land Rover’s first production all-electric vehicle.

 

 

The E-type Zero has a ‘real world’ range of 270km (about 170 miles), helped by the low weight and good aerodynamics. It uses a 40kWh battery, which can be recharged from home overnight (typically in six to seven hours, depending on power source).

 

 

This is an extremely interesting development from Jaguar Classics, one that we at KWE like very much, having put thought into a similar project for the XJS… now that would be an exciting prospect, a fully electric Jaguar XJS. It would make these beautiful, comfortable classics timeless and clean.

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.

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.

Classic car shows coming up in 2017

We enjoy to showcase the cars we lovingly build and restore and what better way see restorations in person than attend a classic car show. There are many classic and sports car events and festivals to attend this year, we have handpicked a few of our favourites below.

Ready. Set Go.

To ensure your Jaguar is in pristine condition for this year’s events book it in with us for a spruce up.

 

Practical Classics Restoration & Classic Car Show

31 March – 2 April – NEC Birmingham

Classic Car Show Logo

Officially the UK’s fastest growing classic car event, over 19,000 enthusiasts attended last year’s show, bringing together all aspects of classic motoring. From barn finds and project cars, to restorations with proud as punch owners. The Restoration and Classic Car Show hosts motoring experts and celebrities, presents live demonstrations and showcases over 1,000 classic cars.

Stratford Festival of Motoring

30 April –  1 May – Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford Festival of Motoring Logo

Running for four years now, this event celebrates the driving of motor vehicles. With over 300 cars taking a run out in the countryside over the bank holiday and finishing in the town centre for a parade it is an experience not to be missed. The main feature at this year’s festival will make a superb display from the local car manufacturer, Jaguar!

Simply Jaguar

9 July – Beaulieu

Beaulieu logo

Shine your XJS and buff up your E-Type… whichever model you drive or admire, it’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts; all are welcome at the 2nd Simply Jaguar event. As well as seeing hundreds of Jaguars you can also enjoy all that Beaulieu has to offer. Entry tickets include admission to all the Beaulieu attractions; The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and more.

Silverstone Classic

28 – 30 July – Towcester

Silverstone Classic logo

The packed weekend of the Silverstone Classic provides;

·       spectacular historic motor racing on the world famous circuit

·       free access to the paddocks and grandstands

·       displays from over 100 car clubs featuring more than 10,000 classic cars

·       interactive driving activities

·       dynamic demonstrations

·       live music

·       air displays

·       a vintage fun fair

·       a shopping village

It’s an event for the whole family.

Goodwood Revival

8 – 10 September – Chichester

Goodwood logo

Every September the Revival recreates the golden era of Goodwood Motor Circuit, between 1948 and 1966. This extraordinary event assembles the most significant racing cars and motorcycles along with legendary drivers and riders from the past and stars of today. The Revival is the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely in period dress. Nowhere else can you see this combination of world-class classic cars and vintage style.

Classic Motor Show

10 – 12 November – NEC Birmingham

Classic Moto Show Logo

With everything from classic to vintage to retro cars, the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will not disappoint. This event gives you a taste of everything, whether you have a passion for traditional British classics, vintage motors, historic motorsport, European exotica, American muscle or if you prefer, like we do, the more modern retro classics.

 

Share your experiences

If you have been to a show that you have really enjoyed, we’d love for you to share your experiences and pictures with us.

 

Arrive in style

Arrive in style to all the classic car shows in a fully restored Jaguar XJS. Whether it’s rebuilding, repairing or upgrading, we can help you design the specification for your classic Jaguar XJS, just drop us an email or give us a call.