ROSIE REVIVED

BY GEOFFREY CRAMB


This article by Geoffrey Cramb appeared in the June 1978 issues of the Ontario Jaguar.

When I first saw Rosie, she was a stunning red-head. In the intervening years,it was obvious she has had a hard home life. She had not been kept in the style that such a lady should have been. Her complexion had suffered badly, but her frontal features were as beautiful as ever. By the way, Rosie is my 1962 3.4 Mk.2 Jaguar; not my mistress.
The aim of this restoration project was to get the car looking as presentable and road-worthy as possible with the least expenditure. Some of the work is not to concours standards but then I have no intention of showing the car.
When a car is restored to such standards, one tends not to want to use the car every day. My car was intended to, and is currently being used every day, winter and summer. Perhaps a Jaguar is not the best example of a car to restore as a first restoration project, nor on a budget, but by looking at the expenditures list it can be done if one tries. I admit I had a great deal of help from various people thank you; all of whom enjoyed it, I hope, as much as I did.
It was on the morning of Feb. 22 1975 that I purchased the car. I went for the usual "test-drive". It started first time - promising anyway! It seemed to run quite well, but the problem was stopping. The brakes, I was warned would need some work. If I'd known their condition beforehand, I would not have gone for a drive. After the drive and looking over the car, it was obvious some work would be needed, but what used car doesn't need a little work. Then I asked the question how much? The sheepish reply from the lady was $100, and the radio even works! So out came the cheque book and Rosie was all mine. Actually, I only paid $99.89 - a dime and one penny were found under the carpets.
When I got the car home, there appeared a puddle of brake fluid on the driveway, so as I attempted to tighten the offending line, the pipe literally broke off in my hands! As it turned out, many things on the car were in a similar state. Looking at the entire car it seemed that the engine was perhaps the best part,as it had indicated only 37,290 miles, even though the rest of the car suggested a milage more like 137,290. However this being my first car, and a Jaguar at that, these things seemed trivial at the time.
Full of enthusiasm, it seemed that a bit of fiberglass here and there and the car would be on the road in no time. One thing I found from the restoration, always allow yourself two or three times as long as you think you will need, because for one reason or another, you will. Also, have patience when you run up against rusty nuts and bolts. Let them soak for a few days with oil on them, and if possible use heat to expand the nut. Above all, do the work in a garage, not on your driveway, because days of snow, rain, extreme heat or cold are days lost, plus you don't have to worry about the kids next door walking off with the wheels while you've just nipped in for a quick pee !
I should point out that the interior had suffered as much as the exterior if not more so, just from sheer lack of attention. Walnut veneers and leather do not mix well with sun. The seats looked as though they might have been mauled by a jaguar. The wood was covered with a mustard coloured "fuzz" of peeling varnish. Running my fingers over most of the wood caused this "growth" to drop off.
The carpets were thread bare in most places and the driver's side was down to the felt padding beneath. The rear window had been leaking for goodness knows how long, as there was a visible high-tide water mark around the headlining at the rear. Because of the rear window leak, both forward facing curves of the rear wheel arches had rotted away, exposing holes of about six square inches at the bottom. This was later patched by welding using steel plates. All of the floor panels with the exception of the front passenger side were in very good shape, thanks to the oiled tar paper stuck to the metal when new.
Looking at the exterior, extensive work was obviously needed. The lower four inches of the body had rotted away. The rocker panels were perforated shells flapping in the breeze, which left the main wiring harness to the rear of the car hanging out exposed to the elements. The chrome was in quite good shape when compared to the rest of the car. The tires had white-walls which, whenever it rained, ran. The maroon paint of the exterior also tended to run in the rain, so quite often the car had pink wall tires ! The rest of the metalwork had crazed very badly due to the. lack of any polish. Basically the car was very original.
The rocker panels were the first parts of the body work attempted. These were hand fabricated out of aluminum, which would cut down on the amount of rusting for the remainder of the carts life. These were constructed of two pieces, an outer casing and an inner stiffening and attaching plate. (see dia.#l) The inner plate was rivetted to the curved longitudinal lower body member already existing and would provide a surface to which could be attached the outer shell.
I found that having another car of identical type proved useful when trying to remember where and which way a particular piece went. Obtaining the curvature of the rocker panels was an example of the above. A cardboard template was made and then a four by four was chiselled according to the template, and the aluminum was bent over the wood. Luckily there was enough solid metal left to rivet the top of the rocker panel to the lip where the door seals seat. The bottom edge was pop-rivetted to the inner stiffening piece to form a box section, similar to the original. Before the rocker panels were put on the car, the metal on the car and the rocker panels themselves were painted with several coats in order to stop a corrosion cell from forming, which occurs when two unlike metals are placed together. (see Newsletter #4- Feb. 77 Article on Corrosion)
The bottom edges of the front fenders were next. Templates were cut and traced onto steel sheets. These were cut out and welded to the existing metal and wrapped under the car and welded to the floor to give added strength and rigidity. Where the aluminum rocker panels met the steel fender, fiberglass was used to blend the two together.
The front bumper had to come off in order to straighten the brackets as it had been pushed back into the grille, and also in order to repair the valance just behind the bumper. This area is particularly prone to rusting because there are fan shaped stiffening plates which are welded to the bottom edge of the. front fenders (see dia. #2) and trap mud and moisture. Mine had rotted away badly and so had the valance. This repair had been done once before, but was in need of repair again. With the lip of the fenders entirely rotted away a cardboard template was taker, and in this case the template was actually used as the base for the repair. After scotch taping the template to the fender, layers of fiberglass were applied and blended into the rest of the fender, and they) several (coats of resin hardener applied to add strength ... It doesn't sound like a Grand Touring type of restoration, but then nor is my budget. The area does not take any load, and to most people it looks as good as the original)
Removing the front bumper was a bit of a trick, as the rust had more strength than the captive nuts on the bumper brackets. If someone could patent rust as a form of adhesive they could become quite rich, because nothing sticks quite like rust! With the captive nut sheered off, but still on the end of the bolt, large screw-drivers were used as wedges, and finally strong arms pulled the bumper off.
Spacer plates were bolted to the existing brackets on the back of the bumper, and captive nuts in turn welded to these. These spacer plates as it happened gave the needed room to move the bumper out from the grille, a much easier way than trying to bend 3/9" thick steel brackets.
The secondary bumper mounts which hold the bumper at the extreme ends were useless, so they were sawed off at the chassis. To take their place, a piece of angle iron was bolted through the chassis-cross-member at the front of the car. To this, slightly modified secondary mounts were attached.
Under the front fenders, the splash guards which protect the door hinges from the elements, were in bad shape, so they were cut out and new ones were fabricated of aluminum sheets and pop rivetted into place. Behind the front wheels there now existed a closed in box section bounded by steel on several sides. In order to cut down on the amount of rusting, a quart of old engine oil was squirted in this area which is accessable from the inside of the car through a circular inspection cover at the foot well level.
The rear bumper was removed in order to do some body work there. It was necessary to remanufacture new secondary bumper mounts, as the rust had played its part here as well. In order to make these mounts it was easier with the fuel tank lowered, and when it was out it was patched up along the seam which looked somewhat rusty. When the tank was back in position there occured a failure of the fuel pump to deliver fuel to the carburetters. This was traced to a crack in the suction pipe on the fuel tank itself just below the attachment to the fuel pump inlet hose. This required removal of the tank again and taking it to a commercial shop specialising in fuel tank welding.
The brakes were in a shocking state. I don't know how anybody would have dared to drive the car had they known their condition. The front lines were in worse shape, especially the line which runs along the base of the radiator. It sits in a shallow lip which collects moisture and dirt, and when I touched it, it snapped in my hands. I found that several areas of the car had rusted because they are constructed of such shape they become natural moisture traps. Where possible I eliminated them. The front brake line was raised out of the lip and securely fastened to the back of the angle iron used for the secondary bumper mounts. New rear brakes were fitted (the link pipes between inner and outer calipers) and the pipes which run along the rear axle. The calipers were all removed from the wheels, and the pistons and cylinder assemblies dismantled. All the inner pistons were seized and the cylinders pitted and rusted. These were cleaned out with emery cloth and new piston seals and dust seals fitted.
It was no wonder some pistons had seized. The brake pads were so thin that the piston backing plate had reached the end of the half moon recess in the caliper and was immobile at the end of its travel. (see exploded view of brake caliper, page 11) Not too long before I got the car all the outer pads had been replaced, presumably because they were more accessible, but not the inner pads. Some of the inner pads were only as thick as a few sheets of cardboard! The handbrake mechanism, which was inoperative due to corrosion and dirt was stripped and rebuilt at this time. The master cylinder was alright.
The usual problem of rusty doors along the bottom existed on this car as well as everything else being rusty. This was not surprising as the felt picking pieces between the doors had fallen to the bottom, and with water running down inside the door, the felt acted like a sponge, as well as blocking the drain holes. After drying out the inside of the bottoms of the doors they were painted with manganese phospholene, an acid which kills the rust and then liberal amounts of paint were applied, Before replacing the interior door panels, a new one was made for the right rear door as the original one had deteriorated badly. The new one was constructed of fiber board and the original leatherette covering was stuck back with contact cement, Before the door panel was put back, a green garbage bag was used as a moisture proof seal as had been there before.
The entire exhaust system had to be replaced, and a Bosal replacement was fitted. To do this, it is best to Jack the car up at the front end, as the down pipes will not fit as there is just not enough ground clearance with the car on the ground. New rubber suspension mounts for the muffler were used.
The Mk.2 has lights mounted on the top of the front fenders, which have a habit of rusting if the rubber grommet under the wheel arch comes out and moisture works its way in. The left one was in such a state. Some repair had been attempted in the past in the way of body tape. When, I peeled off the tape, the light cone came away in my hand. The bulb was broken and the holder badly rusted. After fitting a new bulb and the connections, the remaining cone was repositioned and fiberglassed back in place.
The interior had a little work done to it apart from refinishing most of the wood-dash capping and facia, door cappings and waist rails. The various pieces were sanded down to bare wood stained and painted with clear polyurathane, which is supposedly sun-proof, moisture-proof etc. With the cost of leather repair work being what it is, red body tape was applied in generous amounts in order to stop the stuffing from flying out. The best way to describe the interior at present is, scruffy.
The car was now ready for repainting, That was done professionally. The previous colour of maroon with maroon interior was just too much of the same colour , so, keeping the interior the same, a contrasting colour of silver grey was chosen. The total time elapsed since day one until the car was on the road was 2 years, 4 months and 16 days. The actual working time was approximately 300 hours of my own and my father's time.
I have had the car on the road now for six months and enjoyed every moment of it and intend to keep using it everyday for as long as possible. '. The fuel pump has had to be replaced since the car has been on the road- BLMC part #AUF 305 (an MGB pump) replaces the original. Canadian Tire's battery (Dual Duty 10-2761) is a perfect fit in the compartment when a replacement is needed.
The following is a list of expenditures needed to get Rosie on the road. It does not include what has been spent since.
Original purchase price 100.00
Transfer licence 9.00
Hardware (sheet metal, nuts and bolts) 66.94
Paint, primer, undercoating 27.72
Fiberglass, hardner, filler 48.32
Replacement bulbs 1.08
Replacement fluids oil, brake, anti-freeze) 19.09
Replacement brake parts (bought in UK) 42.32
Fuel tank repair 30.00
Exhaust system 133.95
Safety check and required work 71.78
Tires and mounting 63.23
Battery 47.03
TOTAL $662.46


Sept 13, 2011 by Webmaster