Micah Wellman (US) reporting on 15th June 2003:
Jaguar Mk X - restoration / part 1

 

In July 1982, I was looking forward to finally receiving my driver's license. I was also looking forward to the arrival of my second car. A year or so earlier, I received my first car, a 1971 Ford Maverick, which I still drive to this day.

  Several months earlier, I remarked to my mother that I wanted to find a car to fix up. I had always liked taking things apart, but, as mom would often say, putting things back together was a different story.
 

I was hoping to find something with a large engine and attracted the girls. I figured something like a 60's Corvette or '57 Chevy. A few days later, mom told me about a car that her boss wanted to sell. One day, we drove over to see it, a Jaguar. I do not think that I had ever even heard of one. This one was in pretty bad shape.

 

It had not been on the road for years. The interior had literally turned to dust in the hot Nevada sun. The outside was a mixture of different colors of spray paint. It did not run and had been years since it last had.

 

I told him that we would think about it. A few days later, I was told that I could have the car. The boss' wife wanted the beast out of the back yard.
A few days before my 16th birthday, I waited for the trailer to arrive with my "new" car, a 1963 Jaguar Mark X.
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As soon as the car arrived, I began to work on it. I wanted to get it running.
Somehow, I managed to get it to run, but it had no brakes. The parking brake worked and I figured I could drive it from the backyard to the driveway with no problem.

 

When I got to the driveway, I forgot about the parking brake and drove the car into the brick wall separating the two garage doors.
Mom has always wondered why there were cracks in the wall and the garage door never shut quite right.

 

The car did not make it through unscathed. The hood never again opened correctly and the bumper never looked quite right. One of the best thing that I ever did was to buy a factory service manual. I could not have done anything without it.

 

In my junior year of High School, I enrolled in Auto Shop and brought my car to school as a project. I still remember driving the beast to school with no license plate and no insurance. The brakes did work though.

 

In school, I managed to get the car to run better, but it was becoming obvious how much work needed to be done.
I supported my parts "habit" by working as a busboy in a local restaurant.

 

In the summer after High School, I rebuilt the front and partially rebuilt the rear suspensions. I had the body stripped down to bare metal and most of the bodywork done. The door jams, trunk and engine compartments were painted.

 

The original body color I thought was "Golden Sand" (recently I discovered it was bronze) I decide to change the color to a dark brown with a gold pearl in the clear coat. At the time, I thought it looked good.

 

In my freshman year of college, I had the engine and transmission rebuilt. The rest of the car was painted and I refinished the interior wood. The interior was re-upholstered in cloth, since I could not afford leather. By my sophomore year, I was driving a 1963 Jaguar Mark X. I was 19 years old. Even though she was road worthy, she was by no means complete or reliable.

 

At that time, no one made seal kits for the doors, so I tried to make some with poor results. The automatic transmission was terrible, I had to rebuild it two more times and it leaked. The power steering box also leaked badly. The new engine always had low oil pressure at idle.

 

But, she looked good! I liked to take it out cruising in downtown Reno, NV.
In 1987, I enlisted in the U.S Navy and spent the next two years on active duty. The Mark X sat in storage.
In 1989, I was back in college. I would work on the car when I had the chance.

 
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I entered it in two shows with the Reno, NV Jaguar Club. In 1989, I received a third in class and in 1990 I received a best in class. In 1992, I graduated college and drove it off and on until 1994. I put a total of 10,000 miles on the car in all the years. In 1994, the Jaguar was put in storage.

 

In 2001, I finally had the time, space and money to work on the car again. I took the car out of storage and figured I would do a little work on it and start driving it again. Once I started going over it, I realized how poor of a mechanic I was. The car should have never been on the road.

 

Back then, I tried to do everything quickly and ended up doing them poorly. I started with a complete rebuild of the rear suspension. The brake calipers were seized up from the wrong seals that were sold to me. One of the "new" shocks was bent.

 

The seals were shot and leaked oil on the brake rotors. This time I took the entire thing apart. The gears were rebuilt and everything was powder coated. I installed carbon fiber brakes and Koni shocks.
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Next was the front suspension. It received the same treatment as the rear. To my surprise, when I went to remove the suspension, it nearly fell out from the rotted mounts. I rebuilt the suspension with neoprene bushings and modern ball joints.
  When I removed the front suspension, I noticed a crack in the frame from my encounter with the wall years earlier. I welded this up but was concerned that the frame had been bent.
After the suspension work was done, I decided the paint had to go.

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After the suspension work was done, I decided the paint had to go. No one appreciated the color and the quality was not very good. The doors did not close correctly. The hood still did not open correctly and the bumper was not correct.

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  Also, I had recently learned that a previous owner had cut a section out of the frame in the engine compartment. At this point, I decided to spend the money and do the restoration 100% correct. So began the process of removing every nut and bolt in the car.
  In February 2003, car was then trailered to the body shop. The frame was straightened and damaged metal was removed. This was a result of my encounter with the wall and a pervious owner's accident and subsequent poor repairs. The front and rear suspension was removed once again.
 

The car was put on a dolly and sent to be bead blasted. It is now June of 2003. The car has been bead blasted inside outside and underneath. It is quite a site to see one of these large cars stripped down to bare metal.

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  As a result, some minor rust damage was discovered in the front toe boards and in the right hand fender well. Also, previous repairs to the right hand wing and rear quarter panel were done very badly. At the moment I am searching for new replacement panels.
 

When I removed the engine from the vehicle, I decided to take the cylinder head off because I had a minor water leak. To my amazement, there was deep scoring in the number 4 and 6 piston wall. The engine only had about 10,000 miles on it, but always had low oil pressure at idle.


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The engine was taken to a machine shop. The lack of oil had destroyed the engine. It is now being rebuilt.

If you are interested, I will continue to update the progress of the restoration. I hope you enjoy it.

Micah Wellman
San Jose, CA.

 

Yes Micah, please continue.
Your contribution is exactly what this website was made for.
Robert
 

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