XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

1989 TWR XJRS Coupe – The Full Story

KWE is commissioned to restore the body fully, renew the interior and rebuild the engine, along with KWE suspension, brakes and steering.

P5QuarterThis was one of the pre-Jaguarsport TWR-modified XJS coupés.

A standard 5.3 litre engine is fitted, but the suspension was uprated with a thicker anti roll bar and stronger road springs. 15″ Speedline alloys were more cosmetic than improving since the wheel arches do not allow significantly wider tyres. The interior is all cream with red piping, and the typical TWR white steering wheel.

The current engine will be retained even though it has had a major overheating event and the cylinders have been full of water for some years.

The body is very poor with substantial rust in most areas – but the owner wishes to keep the original body, and although a better body could be found the cost difference between repairing this one and stripping out another when the existing body is to be stripped and bare metal re-sprayed anyway is not so great.

The suspension, brakes and steering will be fully restored and the TWR-spec springing will be retained, albeit with all new components.

The interior will be completely restored with full leather from Scottish hides – to the original colour scheme.

This is a great project and will exercise all our skills! Keep watching the gallery


Date: 27/3/6 – Interior now stripped out leaving only air con system. Whether this comes out depends on whether we need to dip the car in rust killer and protection or whether we shotblast and keep it dry. There are arguments for and against dipping since it can leave residues that cause paint problems later – but it is a fairly sure-fire way of stopping rust in inaccessible places. But with so many panels needing removal and repair it may well be that shotblasting will suffice – which in some ways gives a better preparation for painting. Next out: The engine!

Date: 31/3/6 – Wings are off, engine is out and engine bay nearly stripped. It has all revealed substantial rust in a lot of areas. Fortunately not in the main longitudinal members so the body is saveable – but only just.

Date: 10/4/6 – Body virtually fully stripped exposing yet more rust, but surprisingly little in the sills where they had been covered with the TWR body kit – normally a recipe for major rust! The car is now almost ready for shotblasting though we have yet to remove the air conditioning system – a major job in itself….

Date: 24/4/6 – Parts are being sourced from all over the world to get to a point where we can decide how much metal fabrication needs to be done – as opposed to welding in pre-formed repair panels. Fortunately most panels can be still be found – even some quite obscure ones…

Date: 18/5/6 – We have at last obtained nearly all the panels we need! Costly in parts, but cheaper than trying to fabricate some of the complicated pressings – and of course they will fit. We have now completely stripped the interior as well and the body shell is off to be shotblasted on 19/5/6. Will there be anything left? Watch this space…

Date: 19/5/6 – The bodyshell is now shotblasted – see new pictures in the gallery. While there is plenty of welding to be done, we can see the full extent of the rust damage and the primary strength of the car has been unaffected. Our thanks to A&C Shotblasting in Newbury for doing an excellent job in bad weather.

Date: 22/6/6 – After a long wait for a slot in the bodyshop the shell has gone off to be welded and painted.

Date: 5/7/6 – Cutting and welding progresses. One new floor pan is in, and the front damper strengtheners. See the restoration gallery.

Date: 7/8/6 – Steady progress on body, with all of right hand and front completed. Reconditioned differential is back from the original manufacturers and is now built up into the rear suspension. Front suspension is in progress. Engine is due back from VSE tomorrow! More pictures in the gallery.

Date: 30/10/6 – Over two months later and we have a lot of progress. The body is back at last – fully repaired, primed and painted in Jaguar Signal Red. It looks fantastic and it will be a real treat to reassemble the mechanicals and trim into a perfect body.

The engine is mostly built up and the power conversion kit is awaited. The reconditioned gearbox has arrived, so it’s pretty much down to us now!

The new leather seats and trim have been completed with just some carpets, the door cards and the steering wheel to go. Our thanks to Berkshire Bodyshop for their painstaking work.

Date: 4/12/6 – Plenty of progress now. Both suspension assemblies have been fully built and re-installed into the car. Springs are Jaguar Sportspack; dampers are Gaz adjustables. Standard anti-roll bar. Depending on the customer’s feedback we may fit an additional rear anti-roll bar.

The engine bay electrics, plumbing and heatshields are now complete, as is the boot installation of fuel tank and plumbing. The interior challenge of air conditioning and electrical harnesses are now all in. We spend a lot of time individually cleaning every connector and greasing for a long, trouble-free life.

The doors are currently being built up. The customer has visited and asked for more trim items to be renewed. Fortunately most item can still be obtained. Our thanks to Lancaster of Reading, and SNG Barrett amongst many.

The engine is nearly complete – just awaiting its new fuel rail. We should be hearing that V12 soon now….

Date: 20/12/6 – Doors and glasses are back in. Engine is in and plumbed. Of all things, the aircon radiator has been hard to find and has held up finishing the cooling system. We’re now about to start on the interior.

Date: 4/1/6 – And the engine runs! One faulty relay, and one misplaced wire but the rest right first time. Nothing so sweet as a new V12 powered up for the first time – in this case after about 6 years of lying idle after a major overheating incident. Then rebuilt this year and now re-installed. Now the endless fiddly bits to make the car perfect…..

Date: 29/1/7 – The body, engine and suspension are complete. The screens are in and the body kit re-fitted. Just brakes, some final fettling and a road test remain…

Date: 13/6/7 – Well, there has been a long delay caused by some engine problems, resulting from some residual internal debris from the initial seizing-up on the road some years ago.

Although chemically cleaned in a three stage process, the aged, hardened mixture of old gaskets and oil lurking in the recesses of the engine began to re-appear in the oilways and caused further damage. In total the engine has been removed and replaced three times since we had the car, and thankfully all is well now after a complete rebuild (again) and some prolonged bench testing. The engine is now back in and runs very sweetly.

The car is just a few days from completion….

Date: 4/7/7 – The car is now completely finished and is awaiting collection by its owner on Monday 9th. It looks fantastic and handles beautifully; it will be sad to see it go!

Date: 9/7/7 – The customer has collected the car and is delighted with it. The total time taken was 16 months although 4 months of this resulted from the engine problems. See the last picture….

Chris Knowles
9th July 2007

5:00 pm KWE Cars