All was looking good. Jerry Peston-Ladd was happy everything was as it should be and a brief road test indicated all was well.

So, the moment of truth. The greatest automotive story ever told (possibly) was coming to an end. Only one thing to do, load up and head south…

South Bound and Down

Armed with the trusty, and very heavy, transporter I headed sarf of the river, Indian country I’m told…

The sight that greeted me brought a tear to my eye. Lady Marilyn, and one of her sisters, were waiting for me to arrive.

two E-Types

No sooner had I extracted myself from the van after a 270 mile non-stop run than my lady came out of her resting place…

People who’ve built, or restored, a car will appreciate how much of a genuinely special moment this is. She’s far from finished, but she’s mechanically done.

Jerry explained the details of his work and some of the special features installed along the way.

Next we paid a visit to Jerry’s other project, the restoration of a 1917 steam locomotive no. 4253. This is another nut and bolt rebuild, but on a huge scale. Its all done by volunteers and, end-to-end, its likely to be a 10 year project.

The website is here 4253 and if its your thing, or even if it isn’t, why now drop them a few quid? There are a number of goodies in the sales and promotions section.


Back to base and time to load Lady Marilyn…

E type trailer

To be fair, this isn’t the perfect trailer for the job, so we had to adapt. The triple carb configuration requires the engine to sit a little lower and this means the sump would catch first followed by the exhaust and chassis. We unhitched the trailer used the rear stabilising legs and jacked it up with the nose wheel to get a good angle. Even then a couple of blocks of wood were required to get an extra couple of inches…

With patience and care we got there…

e type transport

Nearly time to say good bye, for now, to Jerry Preston-Ladd, without who’s help I’d still be months and months away from finishing. Jerry’s technical ability is astonishing and he knowledge of Challenger E Types unparalleled. He’s become a good friend over the past 5 months too.

Jerry Preston-Ladd

Here’s the old boy with his trademark grin 🙂

I managed to dodge the monsoons that typified this years Easter break and later that very evening she was back home tucked away in the snug (as in 2 inches clearance) garage in Yorkshire.

E-Type home

We had noticed one of the headlights had rotated in its pod. Not something we’d had off as the wiring terminated outside the pod. As the next job was an MOT it needed fettling so off came the headlight cover for a look-see.

E Type head Lamp

Here’s the final legacy of the previous owners work. The only bit of original wiring left and the final bodge. Easy enough to replace and that was done. the headlamp was secured and everything bolted back up again.

The next day was MOT day, I set off in between showers for my local testing station where she was driven onto the ramp in nervous anticipation.

E type MOT

Whilst on the ramp it was a good change to take some underside pictures.


and the front suspension

Some time later the good news came along with a pass certificate.

So she’s on the road!

I still have the roof to sort out and the internal trim to improve, but she’s now a rolling restoration.

Next bits on the list

Make the door card fit properly – currently catching on the cill

Repair the roof – its about an inch short at the rear

Interior trim panels – tidy up for now – replace at a later date

new wheels – the 185’s are period, but I prefer the 205 option tyre

Bonnet pushers – make a pair of new ones.

but mostly….

Drive the bloody backside off the car and smile like the village idiot.



Weakest Link

One of the issues we spotted when trying to rebuild the engine was the carburettor linkage. The need for a solution to the original system was discussed in “suckers” posted earlier in the blog.

It was a tricky problem and one that needed a clever solution. The original installation had connected to the spindle of the carburettor nearest the bulkhead. The other side of this spindle had been used to drive the shaft under the manifold which operated the remaining two carbs.


If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the linkage to the first carb

There were two principle problems with this system.

  1. The first carb spindle carried the stresses of operating all three carbs. This had caused the spindle bush to wear.
  2. Due to the inevitable slack in the linkage the other two carbs would operate after the first, making balancing the carbs virtually impossible.

In essence we needed to find a way to use the under-manifold linkage to drive all three carbs. the solution was to engineer a new linkage to join the throttle movement to the existing linkage.

The bits of linkage were collected and some thinking followed…

Challenger throttle linkage

Jerry’s solution was as follows:-

Challenger carb linkage

This seemed just the job and so it was this design that went into production.

challenger linkage

Once installed on the engine it worked a treat.


Of course the real test would be how it worked when the engine was running. How the modulation transferred to pedal travel, for that only time would tell.

Here’s a final shot of the installed linkage from the underside on the engine once installed.

E type linkage

In this shot you can also see the installed individual carburettor return springs. These were mentioned in an earlier blog, but not shown on the car.

another job jobbed…..



When lady Marilyn first rolled off the trailer 3 years ago, and I do mean rolled as the bugger wouldn’t start, the first problem came to light. When I say the first problem, that’s like the first grain of a sand storm.

The reason she wouldn’t start is that the Carbs were buggered. They were full of crud, the diaphragms were all shagged, the floats were all punctured and the AED didn’t work.

Its only the carbs I thought, we’ll be done in a jiffy.

HD8 float bowl

So I cleaned them all up, bought new diaphragm and jet kits and new floats. I then rebuilt them



Heres the thing. I was so focussed on getting them in decent order, and they were in such bad condition that I only fixed what I saw. The engine ran fine when they’d been re installed but I didn’t set them up properly as the engine needed stripping anyway.

Once Obi-Wan Preston-Ladd got his hands on them he diagnosed an Issue that I hadn’t spotted. The butterfly shaft on number one carb had worn the carb body and needed some work.  This was because the existing throttle linkage had been attached to the butterfly spindle on carb number one and the other end of the spindle connected to the throttle shaft that moved the other two carbs.


Above you can see the throttle linkage to the first carb, the other end of the spindle is fastened to the linkage arm which sits under the manifold and operates the other two carbs.


There are a couple of problems with this. slack in the linkage (and there must be some, its a moving part) means that the second two carbs are fractionally behind the first in terms of operation as this first is hard connected to the throttle cable. This is not a good idea and an alternative throttle control system will be designed and made later, firstly though carb one needed repairing. Fixing the problem involved boring the carb body and fitting new bushes to take the slack out.




This was one of the times I realised how lucky I was to have Jerry finish the car for me.

Once the new bushes were in carb number one (closest to the bulkhead) carb 2 was also resealed and carb three was fine – except Jerry found one of the butterfly screws loose. That could have been a problem….


They are all done now and to prevent the same thing happening again, Jerry is making a new linkage to prevent premature wear in the future.

While we’re on this picture, Jerry also made a splash guard yo protect the master cylinders for the new pedal box as well as a new foot well cover. In addition the fluid reservoirs were mounted an a newly manufactured bracket and fixed to the equally new trim panels (shown in the picture behind the reservoirs).

There’s a new trim panel on each side that Jerry has made from ali sheet.




In the picture above the feed lines have been fitted too.


A comedy of errors….

One of the things I’m learning about rebuilding a classic car is how and where to get the bits I need. Like all things there’s a pay-off depending on the driving forces at the time.

SC parts are a staple supplier, they carry most things and have a great delivery system. The down side is they cost a bit more than others. British Parts are generally cheaper, but have a much smaller range and I’ve had issues with missing bits which they wont replace because I didn’t advise them with in 3 nano-seconds of receiving the box (just a tad of exaggeration there). Ebay is generally low cost but a bit of a lottery as to what you get – although many of the main suppliers sell stuff on Ebay that works out cheaper than there own on line shop. Something to look out for.

I recently found The Hutson Motor group in Bradford, they were falling over themselves to be helpful, had a massive range of parts available and took the time to show me round their very impressive facility when I popped in to collect a dash panel.

Then there’s Ward Engineering, I considered rebuilding the hubs myself, but I lack the measuring equipment necessary and there are some turned parts needed as part of the assembly process and I was a little conscious of messing it up. So I went to Ward as they describe themselves as the best… I sent my hubs and calipers off for a rebuild on 24th April on an advised 2-3 week lead time. They finally turned up on 8th July 11 weeks later. Not only were they late, they were sent to the wrong address and when I finally retrieved them a couple of parts were missing, one being the locking wire. None of this detracts from the quality of their work, which looks excellent, just be careful if the job is time critical.

So the forced hiatus that I’ve had on the suspension rebuild is over – at least when I’ve sourced the missing bits from Ward – and I can get the old girl back onto 4 wheels again.

I started with the shimming of the diff mounting brackets. I’d already tried to use a feeler gauge, but theres nothing like doing it properly, with real parts, so I ordered a bunch more than I thought I needed.


So, process, as described in Jerry Preston-Ladds article. I pushed the shaft through the cage mounting and let the thread engage with the mounting bracket hole. As the shaft is a bigger diameter you can see how the alignment is between the shaft and the hole.  Add a shim, do it again. One happy with that one I pushed the shaft all the way through to the second cage mount and used the alignment method the determine the shims needed there. Do it for both sides.

Its not a 5 minute job, but its worth doing right.

The absence of locking wire meant I couldn’t do a whole lot more on the IRS, so I went about assembling the brakes.



heres one calliper just resting on the new disk. What I actually needed to do was assemble the handbrake calipers to the main callipers.

Lots of trial building going on to make sure I had all the bits aligned right – you cant be too careful and a couple of trial fits to make sure the finished caliper would go back properly


The its a case of lubricating everything with wheel bearing grease (not copper clip – which cant handle the high temperatures) and tightening the new pins and securing with the new locking tabs, adding the brake pipes



Meanwhile I’ve been rebuilding the dashboard to get that into a tip top condition, the Rev counter and speedo refurb were covered last time, heres what else has been going on with the dash area.

the Hutsons replacement dash looks the business with the referbed parts and new indicator unit.


e type dash 2IMG_4892

I’m modifying the choke lever to work on a micro switch and then I think I’m done 🙂

Once the locking wire is here, I can continue with the IRS build, but before I go, id like to talk about the bolts. Each and every bolt taken off has been individually cleaned on the wire wheel, pickled and then oil coated. It takes a bit of time but it means I don’t introduce thread contamination and it looks good…


right, till next time in the work of skinned knuckles, I bid you farewell



Hubs and Handbrakes

Just a couple of hours this weekend. Cleaned up the hob carriers ready for new wheel and fulcrum bearings.

E Type Hub

the one on the left is the before shot…

Then onto the rear brake assemblies.

As you would expect, these are wonderfully simple units – oh wait, this is jaguar, so no they’re not…

the handbrake and rear calliper are effectively one unit, held together by a pair of long pins that are threaded at the top. These pass though an odd spring arrangement, which isn’t really a spring but rather a fork made from steel which depends upon the spring properties of the steel to act like a spring. Going back to my days in the class room I’m surprised we haven’t got any fatigue cracks, i think I’ll replace them anyway..

e type caliper jaguar rear caliper

Lots of WD40 for this job…

The brake calipers themselves are pretty standard. they are a unit design, but the previous design was a casting with two cylinders bolted to it – a link pipe was used to connect the two. In classic British motorcycle tradition, they’ve made a unit design by joining the loose parts but retaining the link pipe rather than making an internal oilway.

In pic one you can see the fork spring arrangement

Stripping the handbrake callipers off we can get to the detail of the internal components


Its a complicated mechanism to adjust for pad wear. I carefully stripped it all down – with lots of photos to aid reassembly


Its the little details that I like. The spring is located at the pad end by its own little pin through the casting – lovely

The handbrake callipers are all stripped now and will be off for zinc plating before re-assembly. The  callipers will be off to Ward Engineering for a refurb.

thats all for now…