Here is the note I just sent to Barbara Grayson at Consolidated Autoworks. That’s the shop that has ministered to our 1971 Jag V12 2+2 since it arrived in April.

Dear Barb:

I have now put 1,700 wonderful miles on the Jag since it arrived 8 months ago.

Bradley and I drove it to Astoria and back yesterday in the terrific sunny winter weather.

Here’s what I’d like to request from you. Let me know your thoughts. I have general and specific requests.

General: I’d like the equivalent of a PPI, where you put the car up on the rack, and walk around underneath and just see if there is anything that needs attention now that we have been driving it. Check all belts, hoses, etc., and replace anything that shows its age. Please renew or top up any fluids as necessary.

Specific:

  • I don’t believe the thermostat is working properly. (Of course, this car may not have been driven in cold weather in 40 years, as it was in Alabama for the past three decades.) Yesterday, in 45 degree weather, the only time the temperature gauge moved towards the middle is when we were sitting still, not moving. Otherwise the needle stayed to the left, at maybe 1/4. There is also no heat from the heater (unless the needle gets to the middle of the gauge, which it does not do when moving). We played with all four levers while we were driving to make sure we had the heat on and the air open. Simply put, it doesn’t heat up when you are moving.
  • There is electrical tape on the shift selector. Curious as to why?
  • Can the shift selector housing be tightened up?
  • Should he numbers on the shift selector light up when the headlights are on?
  • The plastic piece, over the choke levers, covering the bright white light that comes on when you turn the lights on needs to be installed. We have the piece.
  • Once in a while, when you turn the fan onto high, it squeals and then gets quiet. Is this a pain to lube?
  • The handbrake warning light comes on a lot. Can that be adjusted or is there another cause? I know this light is also shared with the brake reservoir warning system.
  • Are the backup lights working?
  • There is serious wind noise from the back edge of the driver’s door window frame. You can see where frame sticks out.
  • The headlights are very dim. Is it possible to put modern headlights in, perhaps with a relay?
  • It is very hard for me to push the high-beam button with my weak leg. Is there some way to use the flasher lever to make them stay on? Or use a dash switch to put them on?
  • The driver’s side wiper doesn’t wipe well; maybe it just needs to be cleaned?
  • I know a lot of this stuff sounds little, but it is hard for me to take care of them all.
  • I’d like to schedule the car for a detail and buff. Ed (Grayson) said he wanted to save the original air scoop, which is dented and shows some rust spots inside. A new one came with the car. Let me know your thoughts here. It is an original-paint car, and I think it will buff up nicely.

That’s a pretty short list for a 50-year-old car. It runs and drives fabulously, like a 23,000-mile car, and I am so happy to be getting to use it and learn about it.

Look forward to hearing from you.

KM

My learning experience:

The most overlooked part of bringing an old car back to life is the final fettling.

When you bring a car to a shop, they address the most glaring and necessary issues. Initially, on our Jag, the switch that turned on the heater fans had failed, so the car overheated. Also, the “upgraded” polyurethane suspension bushings had all disintegrated from age. Ed replaced them and all the clunks went away.

The cushions inside the headrests (on the original seats) had collapsed and Barb installed new ones.

When we left Consolidated the first time, 1,700 miles ago, we were ready to rock and roll. Kind of.

It took a 300-mile round trip to Astoria, OR, from Portland for the gremlins noted above to become apparent. How could a shop know any of these things? They are not going to drive a car around in the winter to see how well the heater works, or cruise on a two-lane road through Tillamook State Forest on Highway 26 at night to learn that the OEM 1971 headlights are so dim that you’d be better off riding a bicycle in front of the Jag holding a candle.

This Jag has turned out to be a much better car than I expected when I bought it on Bring A Trailer. Original miles, paint and interior. Never hit, painted or rusted.

I always treated V12 2+2s as corpulent, oversized imitations of the 3.8- and 4.2-L coupes. Now, I understand that those are sports cars, and the V12 is a true grand tourer. It will cruise quietly all day long at 70 mph with the a/c on. (And soon the heater, too!)

If I were giving you a seminar on how to bring a classic car back to life, this would be the section where I encourage you to put 1,500 miles on your car after the initial stuff you discover is dealt with. I use the notes section on my phone to write down every single thing that needs attention. Since I don’t drive the car regularly, if I don’t write things down I will forget them.

Then take your car and your list back to your specialists. I guarantee you they will be pleased to get such a specific list of things you would like them to address.

I’m looking forward to the next 1,700 miles and an even shorter list next time. 

9 comments

  1. One word: Hahahahahahaha!

    How ironic that you complain about the opposite of what an E-Type is famous for: overheating!

    Be careful of what you wish for…

  2. The squealing heat motor is similar to my 70 MGB. I have owned it for 36 years and is one of the few things I haven’t adressed. I live in the Southeast so I drive year round. A few flicks of the heater switch and it goes away. I did the following upgrades and the Prince of darkness has stayed away.Headlight upgrade with relays, SU fuel pump with electronics, gear reduction starter and a123 electronic ignition system that looks stock. I followed your advice and make a list of small items to address everytime I drive. It does make a difference when drive a classic.

  3. Keith,

    Am so impressed as to your shakedown of that glorious V12 Jag. Must admit I wouldn’t go to the lengths of driving 1500 miles or so just to get all the Gremlins out. Guess I’m too chicken to do it for fear of breaking down in the middle of freaking nowhere. Am sure John drooled over your XKE while telling his anecdotal stories about his car. From the recent pictures I’ve seen on your SCM website and in particular the trip to Astoria, you look extremely fit and well from your malady from awhile back. Keep it up and never stop driving. It’s the one relief valve I’ve got to chase away the COVID-19 blues. Perhaps, one day our paths will cross and we can compare notes about my stable of Phillies. Stay safe and be well.

  4. Keith.
    It’s all in the “details”…and, critical that you have these all fixed for the next owner, as the Steward of this Jag. Let’s hope the engine Does not fail….12 cylinders requires a lot of moolah !

  5. I just bought my dream car, a gated 1998 F355 spider. The shakedown run driving it home was 500 miles. Check engine light came on about 30 minutes into the drive, and the day after we got home, my husband wanted to drive it for the first time, and right after he started it, we smelled raw gas! So we’re waiting for an appointment with a Ferrari specialist for our post-purchase inspection! Hope it’s not too bad.

  6. As owner-maintainer of two Series 1 E-Types (63 & 67) for over 23 years, try WD-40 on the squealing heater fan motor. Worked for me.

  7. I hope you are well again. I really miss “What’s My Car Worth”, one of the few “real” shows on Velocity. I read in one of your car reviews that you liked hitting the “loud” pedal. Would that be another term for the “exhilarator” pedal in my cars?

  8. when i bought my 1973 ALFA GTV 2000 which was owned by a local enthusiast i took it on the first road trip from LA to palm springs. when i got home i had 88 new items on my work list. eventually it was reduced to 5 items which is pretty much what i have on all my cars. ron

  9. Well, you will be in love! E-Type V12, when we’ll tune are a dream. Please keep 4 carbs diafhams close. The new fuel eat then. They go, and fuel leak! And if any of the 13 wire from the Ignition are leaking power, Puff, and a great Fire on. The best, change the wire set and the carbs. Diafhams. Clean good oil, engine last a couple 100 miles. Please a good aluminium coolant. And enjoy the Open Road on your Coupe DRY. Keep the breeder fuel lines on the tank clean and continued. Not fuel smell on the cabin. Usually there 3.54 ratio, 3.07 the best for cruising Godspeed, Hope to see you on Chattanooga! 8448 TJ Aluminum XKE

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