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.
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.
- 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.
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.