There’s few things on this earth we love more than a good comeback story. And what better comeback story is there than a beat up, rusty old Jaguar Series 1 E-Type with little to no life left in its bones that is restored beyond its original beauty. Now that is a true comeback story. You’re about to read the story of that exact scenario. This Jaguar was left to rust and rot. You’ve got to see how this plays out!
Christopher J. Many restores cars as a hobby. He documents all his current, past, and failed projects – and we sure are glad he did. One of our favorites of his is the one you’re about to read and see in this article. Chris began archiving his work as a way to help other people who might be restoring the same models. The Jaguar you see here isn’t just any Jaguar…and this isn’t just any restoration. The way this ends is a true once-in-a-lifetime restoration. Check it out…
What you’re about to see is the restoration of his 1963 Jaguar Series I E-type. This is the third year of the model, and one of the most sought-after. However, this particular car was anything but sought-after. Look at that uphill battle!
Chris was sitting on the Jaguar XKE for four years before beginning the project in December 2007. He knew it would be a phenomenal restoration once finished, but the sheer quantity of work was enough to make him stall on getting going. Can’t blame the man, can ya? This car has a pretty storied history, too…
He says the car went through a lot. It survived two accidents and was repainted three times with different colors. The story of how it fell into Chris’s hands is pretty amazing. Find out next…
Before receiving the car, the previous owner was David Lamphere of Westford, Vermont. Mr. Lamphere said he bought it for $300 from a guy behind a dairy farm in the 1980s. Apparently, it belonged to a Vietnam War veteran.
The veteran told Lamphere that while he was in Vietnam fighting, his brother and friends used to race it. When he returned, he found out his brother left it outside (what!?!) where the vehicle’s condition considerably worsened. What a shame.
After he returned from war (thank you for your service, Mr. Lamphere) Lamphere’s luck was not the best. He stored the Jaguar in a barn along with some of his other cars. The barn eventually collapsed due to heavy snow, further damaging the Jaguar in 2001.
The insurance company labeled it as a total loss and sent it to the insurance auction where Chris’s father purchased it for $750 plus a buyer’s fee. After not pursuing a restoration, Chris bought the XKE from his father for $1,200 in 2003.
Once in his garage, Chris waited a few months for someone to respond to his want-ad on an internet forum. Finally, he managed to find a roof clip from a Repair Service in Colorado for $540, shipping included. That was the first step in the long line of this amazing restoration. You’ve simply got to hang around to see the end result!
So much work had to be done. But on the upside, Chris mentions it already had a factory-new bonnet, which he estimates were costly.
It was time to get started. He began by removing the bonnet, which he described as simple since the car was missing balance link assemblies.
Next, he began to strip the tub. He took many pictures of items, like the dash, for reassembly since because there is little information out there on this particular model.
With the engine, Chris got it out of the car by lowering the front of the vehicle to the point where the motor cradled on a wooden cart he made. Chris wrote this method was easier than removing it from the bottom or top of the car and does not understand why hobbyists rarely use his technique.
In the summer of 2008, after Chris replaced the roof and removed the doors as well as the rear hatch, Chris placed the whole thing on a rotisserie to get easier access to angles of the shell. Look at that new paint job! There’s some pretty wild facts on this particular paint coming up.
He spent the next two years on bodywork, including sanding and welding sheet metal. Chris was also thankful that none of the previous owners tried to restore the body because he has a lot of experience fixing other people’s “restoration” projects. With this one, he at least had a clean slate to deal with.
Once complete, he placed the shell back on the rotisserie for the painting process.
Chris chose to use the Jaguar’s original Cream color, which he noted is often confused with Old English White (OEW). He thinks the confusion comes from people in the original production using the color names interchangeably.
The paint type was PPG 8894 and cost $425 per gallon. Chris needed two gallons because the color was light, and there was a lot of surface area to paint.
After Chris completed the sanding, buffing, and polishing process he was ready to restore components and put the car together. Except at the time, which was October 2010, he did not have a single part prepared.
In the next five years, he restored, rebuilt, and replaced parts that were difficult to come by. So this part, although not too difficult, did take some time.
Like many restorers, he wanted to keep the car as original as possible. Chris wrote the value of the vehicle is affected by the originality of its running gear.
He worked on the interior, frame, installed glass, etc. for years. It will definitely be worth it though. Just wait!
Putting the engine back, Chris had his father use a skid steer to carry the wooden cart to his house next door. They chained the engine to the bucket of the skid steer.
Starting to come together! This is definitely not the finished product, though. The car itself, on the other hand, was placed on a drivetrain where it could easily be put on his father’s lift and lowered onto the engine.
With everything now installed, Chris opted for American 195/75R15 with 2/4″ white walls tires instead of the XKE’s factor issued 6.40-15 RS5 bias-ply tires. His reasoning was the tires would not make for a good driving experience and did not care if he lost points at shows for that decision.
Chris finally finished the car in 2015. It took him over seven years to complete the project.
It was also the first foreign car he has ever worked on, which we can now say has been a rousing success.
Look at that! How beautiful is this restoration!? We bet he was delighted to put his 1963 Jaguar Series I E-type under his “Featured Restorations That Are Completed” category on his website.
As for what he is doing now, Chris has continued to restore three different cars: a 1970 Dodge Challenger, 1967 Camaro, and a 1970 Plymouth Satellite. We cannot wait to see progress as he works to return these beautiful vehicles onto the road. You can check out his website Relic Recyclery, to see more of his downright impressive work. Well done, Chris!!