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Changing Ryan's Jaguar to RHD Changing a '59 Mark 1 to Right Hand Drive.

One weekend I decided to replace the deteriorated pitman arms in my steering linkage. I had a lot of difficulty extracting them, and decided to just drop the suspension sub-assembly out from under the car.

A severe case of shipwrights then set in:

  • Since the suspension was out, I decided to clean everything up
  • Since everything was clean, it was the perfect time to re-paint everything
  • To re-paint, I decided to disassemble- and to just go ahead and sand-blast the parts
  • The freshly sandblasted parts sure looked nice. Rather than re paint, I decided to powder-coat everything.
  • With everything apart, there was no excuse for not going ahead and replacing all the bushings.
  • And it was while re-assembling the A-arms and upright assemblies that I took note of all the symmetry and began to wonder just how hard it would be to put things back together properly (ie. right hand drive)

    320 X 364

    Why, an otherwise marginally sane, person might want to do this:
  • When I first saw the car, my reaction was "Wow, an old Jag sedan... I wonder if it's RHD". I was a little disappointed that it wasn't.
  • I noted similar reactions from several people who saw my new car.
  • Face it- BRG 1959 Jaguars are supposed to be RHD.
  • The dash of a LHD Mark 1 really isn't converted. The ignition, choke, starter, and hood release are all on the right side of the dash. Over on the left are the heater controls. The outer wood wings are the only dash pieces which are side specific, both sides contain a glove box, but the non-drive side has a cover (door). As a LHD car, everything seemed somewhat rigged.
  • I had driven RHD cars a few times before and didn't find it too bad. Passing on 2 lane roads is a bit exciting, but for a sunny Sunday car- perfectly acceptable. Your mail carrier probably does it everyday.
  • Some people are quite surprised to learn that I've converted my car to right hand drive; but to me it just adds to the character of the car, and I have absolutely no regrets about doing it.
    How it was done:

    Going into the project, my biggest concern was re-location of the brake and clutch master cylinders. It looked like the fire-wall had the proper holes cut into it (covered with blanking plates), but I didn't know how the cylinders mounted and if the mounting apparatus was moveable, or side specific. I decided to try and move them first, and if that was possible, then commit to making the change. I managed to move the mounts for the 2 cylinders in just over an hour- without any problems. At that point my mind was made up! Looking at the floor pan, all the mounts for the pedals, emergency brake, and steering column were right there. This was going to be easy.

    Next, I moved the upper steering column over to the right side of the car, and discover the first unexpected problem. The turn signal switch was still on the left side of the column. I Dug into my books, where it turned out to be surprisingly hard to find a picture to clearly answer the question, but eventually I found that, as suspected, the mount for the turn signal needed to be moved to the right side of the column. I checked into buying a RHD column, but discovered that for $15 I could have a welder move the mount for me. Re-wiring the turn signal switch isn't necessary- obvious in retrospect, but I learned this lesson the hard way; re-wiring, discovering my error, and then un-re-wiring it.

    The next project was the accelerator. The throttle linkage is the most radically different part between left and right hand drive cars. I won't go into details here except to say that I needed pretty much an entire right hand drive linkage. One trip to Jaguar Heaven (Stockton CA) and I was back home with all the requisite bits and pieces. I pulled the linkage from a RHD Mark 2. I'm not %100 sure that it is the right linkage (the "rod" along the top of the foot well seems a bit long) but it was workable. I was a little worried about getting a bushing for where the linkage passes through the transmission tunnel, but it turns out that it is the same as a tie-rod bushing and was very easy to obtain.

    It wasn't until the final stages of re-assembling the front suspension that I came across the next problem. It turns out that the steering boxes are side specific. They'll bolt onto either side, but the input shaft which connects to the lower steering column points out with a slight orientation depending of if the car is left or right hand drive.

    $250, the core from my parts car, and another trip to Jaguar Heaven got me the right hand drive steering box I needed. I pulled it from a '68 340, with hopes of getting the high-ratio box that was optional on the early cars, and standard on the later cars. I also picked up a new lower steering linkage; with the later ball and socket type joint; replacing the rubber flex-coupler used on the earlier cars.

    The last big project was the re-location of the hand-brake. Getting the correct cable linkage was the biggest problem; especially since I was working with a mix of MK1 and MK2 parts. There was a lot of trial and error before a final solution was achieved. The scissor pivot at the differential always mounts on the left side... but appears to flip upside down for left vs. right hand drive car. If you've been there you'll understand.


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