by Dan Bysouth
The first day of my apprenticeship had gone well and my second-ever job - a Jensen - didn't turn up till late in the afternoon, so it was the next morning that Keith and myself were told about the fire damage the car had suffered.
It was a Jensen Interceptor 111 that the firm's breakdown driver, Mick Amos, towed into the top floor workshop called the CBR floor ( coach building repairs ).
The driver, a very posh lady, was driving along one of our dual carriageways when she saw smoke coming from the centre console dash area. Swiftly pulling over, she jumped out and flapping her hands around, attracted the attention of a approaching tanker lorry, who fearing the worst, stopped then grabbed the massive fire extinguisher in his truck and promptly emptied the entire contents inside the smoking Jensen. Luckily, that did the trick.
We were faced with sorting the vehicle out and returning it to the owner in A1 condition. First job, push it outside and get hoovering. That was easier said than done as the extinguisher was huge and as a result the whole off the interior was at least 4 inches thick in powder. 2 hours we were in there sucking up this nasty stuff. It was like trying to juggle soot, as soon as you did one bit, a load more appeared.
When we got out of the car, we stood in the brilliant sunshine and all of a sudden we started falling all over the place, stumbling around and we couldn't stop laughing! We felt as drunk as a mattress! The bodyshop manager, Mr. John Spillings came to see what was going on as we had quickly attracted a bit of an audience. He knew something was wrong, as he knew Keith would never be drunk as Keith was Mr Spillings apprentice years before, and Keith was teetotal. Me he didn't know and I could very well have been leading his ex apprentice astray.
He straight away called both the ambulance & the fire brigade. We were just sitting in the sun looking like a couple of drunks and we couldn't care less. The ambulance men duly arrived to assess us and said we should have worn masks. It's common sense when you think of it now, but they assured us we would be ok in a couple of hours.
The fire brigade were looking at the Jensen, dressed in full ventilators, and after identifying the powder said that the only other after effect could be a touch of Delhi belly. It was just like having a night on the town, and having a curry on the way home, and we got paid for it! Mann Egertons was like a close family and soon the word went round that poor old Keith, who never had a drink in his life in 30 odd years, had only spent one day with the Honey Monster (me) and was stoned right away. ( I carried my Honey Monster nickname from school).
It was all good natured and was the talk of the firm for weeks. Next day we had a look at the Jensen and the only problem we ever found was a rocker switch near the centre console had a fault and had got a little hot. It wasn't burnt but the switch housing had smoldered, hence the smoke! We put a new switch in , tested it and it was fine. Our electrician said it was a small fault and would not have been a major problem. So thank you Mr lorry driver, or as Keith put it "Don't use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut!"
That Friday I was told that Keith was on holiday for the next two weeks and I would instead be assisting the number one coachbuilder, Mr Anthony Roland Pooley, known to everyone as 'TOOTS'. We were to become great mates in the future, but in that next week we would face the mammoth job of lifting the body off the chassis of a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud 111.
The following two weeks were a real baptism of fire, but it was all part of my ongoing apprenticeship.
To be continued.....
by Paul Sweeney
This series of articles is centred around the many and varied cars my father owned as I grew up in England.
The first instalment concerned the redoubtable Standard Vanguard and ended when Dad reluctantly sold it in order to change to a smaller, lighter car more suitable for my mother to drive. Enter the Triumph Herald.
Triumph Herald (1959 - 1971)
Light and shade; chalk and cheese. The Herald couldn't have been more different from the Vanguard. Where the Vanguard was heavy, American-influenced, lumbering and relatively large, the Herald was sporty, light, Italian-designed and stylish. Exciting, even.
The Herald proudly laid claim to having the smallest turning circle of any production car in the world at the time. More importantly, heaters were a standard fitting! Luxury indeed.
I don't recall the reason, but Dad was in a major hurry to replace the Vanguard. He couldn't find a car soon enough. Being long before the advent of the internet, the only ways to find used cars for sale were a) at car dealerships or b) classified ads in the local Paper, the Bristol Evening Post.
Dad found an ad for a Herald, made a phone call and having been given the address, he and I journeyed to an unremarkable street somewhere in Bristol one dark evening. It was raining and when we arrived, the car was parked outside the owners house in the street. We could hardly see it in the darkness until the guy moved the Herald beneath one feeble street light that cast a ghostly orange sodium glow on the car. It was pure white and before I knew it, Dad had agreed to buy.
I was surprised but excited and we soon had the car home in Patchway. The very next day I took the photograph above showing Dad sitting at the wheel outside our house in Standish Avenue. As far as I know, it's the only photograph of that car in existence.
The Herald was a 2 door saloon and considerably smaller than the preceding Vanguard. It was too small for a family of five in my opinion, but Dad's top priority was - as ever - to do the best he could for Mum. This car certainly was lighter, easier to control and had far better all-round visibility than the Vanguard (which Mum recently told me she used to call, 'The Elephant' due to its size, colour and shape).
I'm not at all sure how long Dad owned the Herald for, but my next memory of it concerns the day he packed the whole family into it and drove into Bristol. The plan was to drop the car off for its annual safety check, known in the UK as the dreaded MOT Test (NZers would call it a WOF).
We dropped the car off at Williams Automobiles and went off somewhere while the test was done. On our return, the owner of the garage welcomed us and asked us into a little waiting room where we sat nervously awaiting the news. 'I hope you have enough money for the bus fare home' he began, 'because in all conscience, I cannot allow you to go anywhere in that car. It's a death trap."
He went on to explain that the chassis was so full of rust that he expected the floor to drop out onto the road at any minute and was insistent that it was too dangerous to even drive the few miles back home. I don't remember how we did get home, but I know it wasn't in the Herald, which was rapidly despatched to the breaker's yard.
Poor Dad never really forgave himself for buying that car. In those days, the old adage 'caveat emptor' definitely applied to buying used cars. Today's used cars are relatively safe to buy, but back in the 1960s it was a jungle out there and there was every chance of throwing your money away on something totally worthless. Dad knew very well that it was definitely not a smart move to buy a car in the dark and beat himself up about it many times over the years that followed. I don't believe any of the family gave him a hard time about it, but he was always his own harshest critic.
As luck would have it and possibly a little suspiciously, Williams Automobiles just happened to have a used car for sale that had recently arrived and was about to have a newly reconditioned engine fitted.
And so, that was soon to became Dad's next car - but more of that in Part 3.
by Joseph Scott
The Jaguar Heritage Challenge Racing Series has released more details about the dates, classes, and eligible cars. Get your car tuned up and your vintage goggles ready and let’s hit the track.
Weekend racing is about to get a little more serious as Jaguar is teaming up with the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) and go racing. The competition will take place over five weekends and stretches across Europe including the UK. The tracks include some of the most challenging on the circuit and will give competition an exhilarating experience. Open to pre-1966 Jaguar models which includes; MkI, MkII, C-Type, D-Type, and the iconic E-Type’s. This new race series will be the first time this wide of a range of vintage competition Jaguars will go wheel to wheel on track.
Seeing the five classes battling on-track for the checkered flag should offer some of the best racing seen in years. Drivers will pilot the Jaguar XK series cars as well as two different classes of the E-Type’s and will transport you back in time to what some say was the golden age of European racing.
The races will take place beginning between May 2nd and August 31st, 2015, each weekend will take place at some famed tracks including;
The timing seems perfect for this new race series because the popularity of the vintage Jaguar has never been better. The Jaguar Heritage division is part of the Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Operations and has contributed to the successful Heritage Driving Experience and the growing Heritage parts and restoration businesses.
Derek Weale (Jaguar Land Rover Heritage Business Director) was quoted as saying: “We are delighted that our new Heritage Race series will take place at some of the best drivers’ circuits in Europe and at world-famous historic race meetings – The spectacle of seeing a race dedicated to these classic Jaguars, on these circuits and at these events is going to be a sight to savour and behold”.
The following website has been set up to help everyone from drivers to fans keep up with all the latest details: Jaguar Heritage Challenge Link
Stay tuned to Torque News for more information and race coverage as it becomes available.
by Joseph Scott
James Bond 007 is the definition of sophisticated swagger, so why not have him drive a new Jaguar F-Type? It’s the power he needs and the sexy style that Bond is known for.
Jaguars have been in a few James Bond movies but never driven by Bond himself. In Die Another Day Zao (a villain) drove an XKR equipped with a front grille machine gun, door panel missiles, rear mounted Gatling gun, and boot mounted mortars. Wow, that’s a Jaguar packing some serious firepower! Skyfall featured a Jaguar XJ (X351) that was M’s official British Intelligence car used in several scenes. During Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace a Jaguar XJ8 was driven by three different actors.
So we know that Jaguar has been used in some recent Bond movies, but why has the British agent not driven a Jaguar himself? Although most of the vehicles Bond has driven throughout his history of movies have been Aston Martin, he’s used a few other memorable cars. He drove a sleek looking Lotus Espirit Turbo in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and then another special Lotus Espirit that transformed into an underwater sub in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Some of the most famous cars Bond has sported includes; Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights, 1987), Aston Martin DBS V12 (Casino Royale, 2006), and the iconic Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, 1964). The famous DB5 has made other appearances in Thunderball, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Casino Royale so it seems to be Bond’s car of choice. And it is also the car that comes to mind any time you think of Bond in a chase scene running from the villains.
Speaking of villains and cars, more details have emerged about the latest James Bond movieSpectre. Bond gets behind the wheel of Aston Martins new DB10, however the villains have been slated to give chase in three vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover. Three different models from Jaguar’s Special Operations division are set to make a big screen debut in Spectre, the 24th installment of Bond’s 007 movies. The Jaguar C-X75 (Hybrid-Electric Supercar) is a 778 horsepower power house that might be hard for Bond to handle. The Range Rover Sport SVR and the mighty Land Rover Defender Big Foot are sure to make a splash as well. The Defender Big Foot is sporting 37 inch off-road tires and enhanced body protection that I’m sure will be needed to fend off the assaults from Bond as saves the day.
Now back to my original question, just why has Bond never been given an opportunity to drive a Jaguar? Maybe after the Super F-Type is finally unveiled, Bond will get his chance to open up the Jaguar F-Type and let the world see just how powerful the cat’s growl can be. To me it just seems fitting that the worlds most beloved British undercover agent would drive a car with the same powerful yet elegant persona Bond has.
See more at Torque News
by Paul Sweeney
Say hello to the latest addition to the British Car Museum collection: a stunning original 1955 Alvis TC21/100 'Grey Lady'.
First things first: I was lucky enough to drive this original unrestored beauty today! 4 forward gears, lovely smooth gear change and a sweet, quiet but powerful straight six 3 litre engine. It also boasts a fully operational sun roof, sun blind in the rear window, full leather seating, walnut dash and door trims - it even has a heater! Luxury indeed - for this car was no 'everyman's motor'. The Alvis is firmly in Rolls Royce-class territory, albeit more compact and practical for those crowded British towns and roads.
Power is produced by an overhead valve, 3 litre naturally aspirated 6 cylinder engine, with twin SU carburettors and 2 valves per cylinder that provides power and torque figures of 104 bhp (105 PS/78 kW) at 4000 rpm and 221 N·m (163 lb·ft/22.5 kgm) at 2500 rpm respectively.
The car was available in four-door saloon and drophead versions essentially the same as the TA 21. The doors now had chrome-plated window surrounds and swivelling quarter-lights were fitted to the rear doors. The saloon bodies were made for Alvis by Mulliners (Birmingham) and the dropheads by Tickford. A sunshine roof remained standard as did "separately adjustable front seats; heater and air-conditioning unit; Trico windscreen washers" drawing the comment from Autocar "In detail fittings . . . this car leaves little to be desired".
TC.21/100 Grey Lady
The TC.21/100 or Grey Lady announced on 20 October 1953 came with a guarantee of a speed of 100 mph resulting from an improved exhaust system and an engine compression ratio raised from 7:1 to 8:1 to take advantage of the availability of better petrol. The final drive ratio was raised from 4.09:1 to 3.77:1.
A paired front fog lamp and matching driving lamp became a standard fitting. The bonnet gained air scoops and wire wheels were fitted to try to enliven the car's image. A heater was fitted as standard but a radio remained an expensive option.
A saloon version tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 100.1 mph (161.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.6 miles per imperial gallon (13.7 L/100 km; 17.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,821 including taxes.
Nevertheless just 18 months later the Times' Motoring Correspondent tested and reported on the Grey Lady under the headline "Few Concessions to Fashion Trends". His opening gambit was that this Alvis was now one of the few British cars that did not look American and, he said, there was little concession to the cult of streamlining beyond the two air scoops in the bonnet.
He wrote that spacious internal headroom and wire wheels completed that picture. It was noted the instruments were not in front of the driver but in the centre of the dashboard (instrument panel) and so the speedometer was apt to be masked by the driver's left hand. However the front seats were comfortable and rear seat passengers received padding on the wheel arches surmounted by armrests.
Leather upholstery, pile carpets and walnut facings for the dashboard and lower parts of the window frames completed the traditional picture. He did however say that "the driver who is sensitive to the "feel" of his car will enjoy every moment of his motoring irrespective of the traffic" and reported the car's behaviour on corners was extremely stable though potholes like those caused by recessed manhole covers proved very heavy going for the springing.
The Graber body would be displayed at the 1955 Earls Court Motor Show
Finally, enjoy this short video I found on YouTube. It was filmed and posted by an awed Aussie who saw a Grey Lady in the street and had never heard of Alvis before ... clearly it had quite an impact on him! Interesting that one doesn't have the wire wheels that our is sporting.
by Joseph Scott
The Geneva 2011 Car Show was the birthplace of a radical concept car from two icons, Jaguar and Bertone and it celebrated the 99th Anniversary of Bertone. Was the sexy look of this car too much?
Concept cars are the perfect way to showcase new design ideas or do something that’s never been done before. Automakers basically have a blank canvas to paint their next masterpiece. So, when I ran across the photos of the Jaguar B99 Concept car show back in 2011, I had to wonder……why not? I mean this car had some killer looks, distinctive design cues, and even a hybrid drivetrain. The car was designed by Bertone’s Michael Robinson and Adrian Griffiths and we can learn a lot from this fantastic looking concept. At the time Jaguar was flattered by the vehicle but politely said no thanks to building the Italian design this time around.
Jaguar was still looking to overcome the pitfalls of the X-Type that had become a styling thorn in the side. They were also trying to be proactive and bring a new car to go head-to-head with the BMW 3-Series that had a seemingly monopoly on the competition. Bertone called the B99 a “dynamic imbalance between parallel lines and leaping forms”. The car was pointing to the direction that Jaguar would take with an all-new high mileage hybrid drivetrain designed by Bertone. Two electric motors were powered by batteries that draw a charge from a small onboard engine.
The car was a perfect blend of classic Jaguar styling with a dash of elegance from Bertone in a compact sedan also using an all-aluminum body (does this sound like the all-new 2016 XE?). The B99 name was inspired by the B in Bertone and to pay homage to the 99th Anniversary and it also marked another special significant accomplishment. With this vehicle, the Italian designer became the first and only Italian designer to have created five different Jaguars. They had already worked on the 1957 XK150, the 1966 Jaguar FT concept car, the 1967 Jaguar Pirana, and the 1977 Jaguar Ascot.
The first thing that grabs you about this concept car is its muscular look, the smooth but sleek lines seem to be leaping forward like the “Leaper” used on the hood. The leaping Jaguar is an iconic symbol of the brand that has been used for years and was the perfect way to show this car could gaze into the future and still carry on the infamous heritage of Jaguar. The wide rear with bulging hips and sleek sexy taillights should have given consumers a hint of the F-Type Roadster that would come in like a bolt of lightning in just a couple of years.
I hope that design teams and collaboration like this will always push the limits of the modern cars so that it will keep automakers on their toes. Some of the best designs come from radical ideas when we think out of the box, so never stop dreaming.
As I have reported, Jaguar is about to release some of the most exciting and distinctive vehicle they have ever produced, but in today’s fast paced world they have to keep moving forward. The famous car builder Carrol Shelby when asked what his favorite car he ever worked on was said “The next one”. Meaning he loved each vehicle he birthed, but his desire was to never be satisfied with the iconic cars he competed, but to always be ready to start something new and fresh!
- See more at Torque News
by Dan Bysouth
Memories from my apprenticeship
I left school on a Friday in 1977 and the following Monday I started work where Jock Skinner had secured me an opportunity to an apprenticeship at Mann Egertons, a member of the Inc Cape group.
I was put to work straight away with the Trimmer who was the number two coachbuilder, a man by the name of Keith Chilvers. He was straitlaced, highly skilled and a brilliant tutor. We had to supply our own tools so I had brought my own spanners from home as well as a set of AF combination open end and ring, an old screwdriver set, a pair of pliers and a hammer.
My first opportunity to get dirty was on a Triumph Stag that had been stuffed up the rear end. The job was to completely strip out the rear end to enable the panel beaters to do their bit. It was white , clean and as this was still 1977, in lovely condition.
I was told to remove the rear bumper by releasing the bumper irons from the chassis and the two end bolts. I had to find the bolts first, buried under at least 6 inches of rock hard dirt, it took me at least an hour first to find them then to clean the heads, apply WD40 and assess the size. A 9/16th ring spanner was the outcome.
It took me an age to loosen all 4 bolts, then remove the two end ones. Once again, WD40 and two spanners did the trick. Where was Keith all this time, you may ask? Sitting right next to me laughing at my inability to coordinate what to sort first and telling me under no circumstances to drop, damage or scratch anything. Although these parts were going to be replaced, it taught me to take care and consideration with anything that was removed from a customer's vehicle. The company motto was, "We all share in customer's care". Today that may sound corny but they really meant it, and it had a profound effect on the 16 year old me - eager as I was to learn and to do well.
Each nut and bolt was bagged in its components labeled package, and all parts were removed, cleaned and placed in a neat pile in the trim shop. It took me a whole morning to do this; a skilled man could have done it within 2 hours.
Keith told me, "After lunch lad, you can go and buy yourself a socket set at Affiliated Factors" (a motor stores and tool distributor a few yards down the road). I had no money, but the company would pay and I could pay them back at a rate of £1 a week. I bought a half inch drive 16 piece Britol socket set for £16.00 My weekly wage at the time was £16.50.
The afternoon was just as good, as we sorted new parts for the Stag , polished my sockets, and waited for a Jensen Interceptor 111 to arrive. That was our next job. I'll tell that tale next time, it didn't go too well, as the fire brigade and an ambulance got involved!
So, all in all it had been an easy first day for me and I loved it. Cars were going to be my life and right then at just 16 years of age I already knew it.
by Joseph Scott
This one-off Graber-bodied 1938 SS Jaguar 3.5 litre FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) is a stunning example of a custom car that won a few prestigious awards.
This iconic Jaguar has won awards all over the country at national concours events, but had never been able to win Best of Show. This honour was finally taken in 2012 at the Concours d ’Elegance at Hilton Head and it was well deserved for such a beautiful car. The 1938 SS was never offered as a FHC, but Hermann Graber (Switzerland Based Coachbuilder) was commissioned by Monsieur Michel Dionisotti of Geneva to build this fixed-head two door 1933 Jaguar coupe. These touring cars were already a sought after car, but became a near work of art.
The car has a straight-six overhead valve 125 horsepower engine with a four-speed gearbox, which is much more than the original setup offered. The car was originally black with gray leather interior, but was restored in an exquisite royal blue with red leather and upon completion it immediately began winning awards. Gerald and Kathy Nell (Jaguar collectors from Illinois) had the car restored in 1990 from just parts in boxes. The Nell’s had RM restore the car to their wishes. Shortly after completion in 1994, the car placed third in the Jaguar class at the Pebble Beach Concours d ‘Elegance and won the Designers Choice Award at the Meadow Brook Concours d ‘Elegance that same year.
After Mr. Nell passed in 2006 the car was sold at RM’s Monterey for a reported $385,000 in 2010. The Jaguar changed hands again shortly after that and the Ricciardelli family bought it and continued to show the vehicle at Amelia Island and Hilton Head’s Concours events. Finally in 2012 the Jaguar took home the prestigious award of “Best of Show” at the Hilton Head Island Concours d ‘Elegance. The car impressed the judges and the crowds with its stunning looks and elegant styling.
This car surrounds you with an air of sophistication that takes you back in time and transports you into an era of days gone by. Seeing it makes me want to grab an old derby hat and a pipe and go for a Sunday drive.
It’s great to see cars like this resurrected from mere boxes to the present condition where all the world can see and appreciate its beauty. This car is often regarded as the most distinctive pre-war coachbuilt Jaguar and you can see why as you gaze at the craftsmanship in this vehicle. Let’s hope this car is still traveling the show circuit today.
See more at Torque News
by Dan Bysouth
Seeing that photo of a Morrie Thou reminded me of my very first day in a body shop. It was a Tuesday doing work experience at a small family run shop in the town where I went to school, Woodbridge, and the shop was called Jock Skinners.
I turned up early and excited to be met by a chap who was the charge hand. He handed me a half inch spanner and asked me to start removing all four wings from the Minor. I eagerly set to work, being careful not to lose any bolts or the sealing strips; I was having a ball. While I was working an older gent came in and put on a pair of white overalls. As he walked past he asked who I was . I told him my name and carried on working.
Two hours later at tea break I learned that the second guy was Jock Skinner, the owner. He told me that he was impressed with how I just got on with it and as a result instead of doing just three Tuesdays at the shop, I spent a whole year there, weekends and holidays too.
At the end of that he called a friend of his who was a body shop manager in a big dealership in Ipswich and recommended me for a job. I got it and started my apprenticeship. It was strict but fair and I will always be grateful to Mr Jock Skinner, God rest his soul.
Thank you, Dan
by Joseph Scott
We are close to the release of the new AWD (All Wheel Drive) Jaguar F-Type ...more details are coming out and you will be able to order with optional manual gear box.
The 2016 Jaguar F-Type is about to make some noise again and the timing is perfect for Summer time fun on those long road trips. The AWD option is available on the Coupe and Convertible models, however as stated in a previous review, the six-speed manual gearbox is only going to be available in the V6 model. The 8-speed automatic transmission is still available in the V8 models.
The AWD system is said to give the sexy F-Type a more stable and secure feel, especially on in the harsh climates of Europe and some parts of North America. Even though some consumers will stick with the 8-speed auto transmission, others may want to take more control and experience shifting with the optional manual shift in their V6 car.
Jaguar is also pulling a smart marketing move by announcing the release date of the new 2016 F-Type to coincide with the approximate time that some original F-Type owners would be looking for a lease turn in. Will they opt to lease again or buy something new?
How much longer will loyal fans have to wait to purchase the new AWD version of the F-Type? The V8 R Coupe with optional AWD system is expected to be on sale as early as March 2015. The car is estimated to sprint from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and top out at 186 mph, all while getting an estimated 25 mpg.
Consumers will have to wait till July 2015 to purchase the V6 Manual shift F-Type, but is reported to have a zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 171 mph. While manual shift fell a little short of the performance numbers of the V8, it was more economical with a 28.8 mpg rating (but who worries about mpg in an F-Type?).
Jaguar has many options and various prices to fit your budget; the F-Type starts at $77,679 (£51,250) for the rear-wheel drive (manual shift) V6 Coupe and $91,320 (£60,250) for the V6 S Coupe. If you want to drop the top, the convertible F-Type will cost an extra $8,307 (£5,485).
As soon as I can get my hands on the new AWD F-Type I will report back with a drivers review and give my opinion of what to expect. Jaguar claims that the car will still retain the rear-wheel drive feel of the car, while giving the agility and added control of the four wheel drive car. I’d imagine the AWD system will allow the car to feel more stable as it puts down the horsepower and torque on the pavement.
- See more at Torque News