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1964 3.4 S-Type Automatic

Alastair Lauener

3.4 S-Type Automatic
Chassis No P1B 1288BW (May)
Engine No 1346
Opalescent Metallic Silver Blue
Biscuit Interior


S-type under restoration

The Full Story

This is a 3.4 S-Type, 1964, Auto. I don't think I could ever part with this car.

The car was my father's which he purchased in January 1967 when it was almost three years old with 19000 mioles on the clock, when I was 11. Therefore I grew up with it at the age when you make all your prejudices about cars. It could so easily have been the Rover 100 he had before that, or the Austin A55 etc. When he got a company car (Citroen CX2400, I still have that too, 1977, 42000 miles) the old Jags then were worthless, and he let me have it.

By this time I was a student at Edinburgh University, (1974-1977) and for three years I learnt all my mechanical knowledge about keeping an old Jag on the road,ie ball joints, UJ joints, siezed calipers, starter motors (it is possible to remove it with carbs in situ), gearbox mountings and the endless replacement of bits of exhaust systems. My father used to fund the more expensive parts like tyres, exhaust parts as well as my grant, as he loved the car as well. What a car to start to learn on. simple technology, but everything so big and heavy.

Eventually (1982) I decided to take it off the road for bodywork, (inner rear wheelarches), which turned into outer rear wings, and new outer sills, with very little repair needed at the front, the front wing are original.

At this stage the trouble started as I cannot weld, and the car was taken to the proverbial back street garage in Glasgow. They actually did a very good job on replacing the inner rear wheel arches, a very difficult job in its own right, but made a real mess of doing the outer lower panels of the rear wings, I think because of the long line to weld it distorted, and the sills were none too neat. I think they were very happy when I turned up with a trailer and removed the car.

I took the car to my lockup (1984), and proceeded to remove engine gearbox and interior, and disconnected both subframes for easy removal, so they could be removed at a minutes notice, but leave the car mobile. A friend who ran a business at that time redid the sills, and new (again) rear lower panels, from Robeys, and painted the car. The man doing the prep to the painting spent two weeks on it! This took about 8 months (1990) Between 1984 and 1990, life was concentrated on other things,, and the car could easily have become another abandoned project (although I still feel that way sometimes).

I was pleased that my father saw the car painted and looking really good before he died. He had had all the stories about what was happening to the car from me, and I think he was not really believing it all. One day I picked him up to go and see his grandchild, and when he looked out of the window at my house he saw his old Jaguar looking as good as new (no windows, engine, grill, lights etc). He walked round and round it for ages, an effort for him by that time. I would swear that I saw a tear in his eye. I am very sorry that I have been unable to take him for a drive in it, as he was very proud when he first bought it that he was able to take his father out in a Jaguar.

I do not want the car to be concours, as the (now three) kids will be doing everything kids do to a car, but a neat example of its kind. Meanwhile at work I took the engine in bit by bit. That took me a year of coffee breaks, lunchtimes, and a lot of favours owed. 112000 miles, and only needed new shells/rings. 1/2 thou of wear in the crank and 3thou wear on the block. Yes, the crank was cleaned out. New oil pump and chains and all bearings, small ends, cam shells, valves etc. The head was shaved. Getting a complete engine/gearbox out the back door and into a Landrover took some organising, not every trolley can take 1/2 ton.

A new Stainless exhaust by "Double-S" is in place, only the differential and auto box have been left untouched. The interior is going back in meantime as original, except for new carpets still needed. I used the modern ball joints on the front suspension, no shimming, however the camber/castor etc will need setting. The carburettors took me a week to get installed, having been rebuilt years ago. I would hate to do it with the front subframe, radiator et all in situ. Finally, new petrol tanks from Robeys went in, as well as fuel pumps. The engine/gearbox/radiator is now full of all its fluids, and just needs a bit of courage on my part to press that button (May95) I actually have every bill for every part, but I do not have the courage to add it up as Ryan has done for his Mk1.

29th May 1995 - This weekend I finally had the courage to connect up the battery to my S-Type I had cranked the engine over by hand a few times. I checked for no huge current drain before I connected the battery (I am paranoid). There was a tiny drain. I connected the battery, got inside, the clock worked :-) Plugs out, Key on, brake warning light glowed for the first time in 15 years, as did the ignition light. Fuel gauge worked, pumps are disconnected for now. Press the button, and over it went, turning for about 5 seconds, no nasty noises. I kept turning over and over, until finally the oil pressure gauge rose to about 30-35 (20/50oil) which I think is good. The sender unit is the original one. I could hear the choke solenoid operating with the key also. Rear lights, indicators also worked, front are not connected yet. Internal dial lights worked as did the wipers, which promptly parked themselves when I first turned on.

I think I would have actually had the courage to start the beast, except I have lost the banjo connection and bolt to the power steering box, and the system is empty, and I have no wish to run the pump while it is dry.

It is looking good, it has life!

June 14 1995

I had put the final connection on for the power steering as I did not want to run the engine with the power steering pump dry. I suddenly realised that there was no reason why I shouldn't start the engine, I only needed the bottle as my 5 year old says.

It was a warm sunny evening, kids just gone to bed, about 8.30, mug of coffee in hand. Go on go on, I said to myself. Into car, turn on key, push the button. Churn, churn, churn, about 5-10 seconds a go, I tried twice. No go. Ask Ruth out to push button, while I check for spark. No spark. Check power to distributor, OK, remove distributor, check, replaced the new capacitor with a 30 year old one, replaced distributor, check with meter OK. It is now 9.45, beginning to get dark, will I leave it another day.

Oh go for it. On key, no throttle, press button, and S**t it started, frightened the life out of me. Once the distributor was OK, it started first time!!. Spat back once and IDLED at 700 rpm, I couldn't believe it, I hadn't even touched the throttle. Oil pressure about 50-60, ignition light dimming, blip throttle, ammeter shows charge, fuel gauge going down :-). Out the car, check for water/oil leaks, only lots of smoke from things like Coppaslip heating off. A few spit backs if I tried to use the throttle, then the choke went off, and it stopped. I could only get it to run with the choke earthed.

Ho-Hum, There was no air filter on yet, the vacuum for the brakes was open, probably running weak. The carbs were only roughly set at initial settings. I plugged the vacuum hole, richened the carbs, upped the idle setting a turn, and started again, and it was running beautifully. Every time I pressed the button, it started with no throttle. Heated up to 70degrees on the gauge, and settled., Oil pressure 40-50 at 6-700 rpm. (I realise the oil wouldn't be very hot yet). Good response on the throttle, no nasty noises. A bit noisy as only 3/5 of the exhaust system boxes are on, I suspect the ignition timing needs set more accurately having removed the distributor. One slight misfire where a (new) champion plug cap is touching the cylinder head, I see the occasional spark jumping.

Faults? Slight cam cover leak, nuts needed tightened down at back. 1 power steering connection to the reservoir is leaking a bit, I suspect the hose is slightly too big and the jubilee clip cannot tighten it down. Eventually decide at about 11.15 that the neighbours have had enough, and go inside and open a bottle of cask strength 12 year old St Magdalen (distillery sadly closed), 110 proof . Thinks, could the car run on this if I run out of petrol! I was still surprised a couple of hours later how much heat the engine had retained. I am a happy bunny, big grins all round.

August 16 1995

I have now installed the propshaft and have brakes. Ran the engine and warmed it up. Foot on brake (hard), kids away from front of car and drop into Drive A very reassuring tug against the brakes. Let off brake and out of the garage for the first time in years. Reverse worked too (checked that before the car moves out, or I would never get it back in).

It may only have been 20 feet, but at least it moved.

My carb flooding has been cured I think by a tip from group member Alastair Reynolds. The float lever can catch on the posts that support it and cause the float to stick down, and the (in this case front and starting) carb floods. A wee squeeze of the lever cured all. And I was about to order new floats, needle valves, levers etc from SU so saved a few pounds there.

I have also fitted the rechromed front bumper which made the car at least look finished. My 5 year old thought the car had four indicators at the front as they reflect so well.

I used Dot5 brake fluid, with all new girling seals, and a new master cylinder and copper brake pipes. I know all the arguements here, and time will tell if I have done the right thing. At least they don't stick on (yet). Of course they haven't been at operating temperature yet.

In May of 1996, the car passed the MOT (British annual road test).
The only problem at that time was a gearbox oil leak which was soon cured.
The car is slowly settling in, and has to date (May1997) done about 1000 miles, averaging 18mpg.
I slowly took the engine faster and faster, and now have no misgiving about using up to 4500 rpm, which will take the car up to nearly 70 mph.

May 1997, a steering box oil leak developed. This was one part that was not dismantled in the past.
It is now replaced, and appears to be leak free. Awaiting new MOT.

Alastair Lauener
May 1996

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Last Update 5 June 1997


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