Tag Archives: bonnet

August/September 2004 – Painting, finally!

Painting color, finally!

It seems like it’s taken ages too long to get to this point, but the body is finally sporting Opalescent Dark Green instead of blotchy primer grey! It’s been nearly two years since the boys and I fetched the car from Virginia, and it is only now on the way to coming back together into car-like shape.

I don’t think it’s worth going over the tedium of sanding the bonnet (endlessly!), except to say that the process forced me to head to the paint shop for another quart of high-build primer. That last quart barely made it, too. To count the quarts of primer I’ve sprayed, you’d think that the car body would be little more than a large clump of primer, but that’s not the case. Most of the primer ended up suspended in water in a bucket after being wet-sanded off the body. I do think that my inexperience made the block sanding a little more difficult and protracted than would be the case in a real body shop.

If there is a science to block sanding, it has to be a matter of using the longest sanding board that you can manage on the space. I think the depressions that I ground into the primer — only to refill them with yet another spray — came about because I used either a short block or I used a too flexible styrofoam block at the wrong time. The persistent waves on the bonnet’s wings were conquered after I only used my long firm sanding board. (The picture above appears to show some wavy light lines to the right of the performance bulge. Those light lines are bowed because of the pressure of the bonnet sitting on the sawhorse underneath. When it’s not mounted on sawhorses the bonnet itself is straight, thank goodness!)

All surfaces of the car have been sprayed with color now, with the exception of the exterior sides of the doors and the trunk/boot lid and the gas filler cover. These final parts will probably be sporting Opalescent Dark Green after the Labor Day holiday in September.

Body shell color

The body shell took color well into August, and really the body shell didn’t take much time in August to prepare since most of the work had already been done. In July, I sprayed the final coat of high-build primer, and then I pretty much let it sit. The only preparation was sanding the wings lightly with a flexible styrofoam sanding board and them paying much more attention to the sills. I used the long sanding board on the sills, and this final prime/block-sanding took out the last of the ripples.

So, when it really came down to doing the job, the first part was masking. Since I had already sprayed color on the interior, inside the boot/trunk, inside the gas tank filler hole, and on the front bulkhead/firewall and subframes, those were all masked off. The borders of the already painted areas were scuffed with steel wool, and the masking tape exposed a small section of the already painted area. The narrow painted areas would get another coat of seal, basecoat, and clear. I figured it was worth coating these areas twice, just to make sure that color was uniform, and no lines of primer appear in the final product. These sections were all in “channels” so they are unobtrusive or obscured by rubber seals.

The process of masking took far longer than I anticipated. The easiest was the firewall/front bulkhead section since it was pretty much a straight shot. The trunk/boot area and the interior were more difficult because tape needed to be pressed from behind the plastic sheeting. I usually outlined the area with wide masking tape and then pressed plastic sheets onto the outline. The masking picture to the left shows the finished product. I used plastic grocery bags on the “A” posts, and Costco paper towel packaging served as the plastic covering for the trunk/boot area. The interior was draped in garbage bags that were cut along the heat-sealed edges to make large thin plastic sheets. I found that the thicker “drop cloth” plastic that you get at the lumber yard was simply too thick and not pliable enough to work with easily. (I ran out of 2-mil plastic sheet, and that worked very well, I should say.) The gas tank filler hole was just taped, no plastic needed.

On the masking tape: I don’t recall the wide selection of masking tapes a few years ago. Perhaps there were indeed time-rated masking tapes of various colors at paint shops, but I never ran into them. For this masking, I unsuccessfully tried a purple masking tape whose adhesive was supposed to be good for up to a month without drying out. The adhesives, apparently, can cause damage if you leave them on too long. I will admit that I have run into very old dried masking tape that’s been a bear to get off without damaging the underlying paint.

Well, kinder and gentler masking tape is a very fine idea, but the stuff has to stick in the first place. My experience with the purple masking tape was that it stuck at first, and then let loose with the slightest of pressure (like the blow of air from a paint gun) or it simply pooped out and let loose. My suggestion on the time-rated tape is to use the regular sticky beige masking tape, which I was told was good for “no more than four hours.” Unlike the purple stuff, the regular masking tape sticks. Although it’s worth taking it off as soon as you can, I’ve not had trouble with it damaging underlying paint even after several days. Leave it on for weeks, and you might have trouble. I noticed that Bill McKenna used the purple stuff when he was masking his E-type coupe for painting. I don’t know what he thinks about it, though.

The paint process, as before, entailed careful cleanup, spraying sealer, spraying basecost, and finally spraying clear.

I was a bit concerned about any wrinkling in areas where the paint might resist sticking, as I had run into before. Clearly, this is a surface preparation problem, and I think I ran into it because I did use a silicone-based sealer on some weld points. That should not be an issue on the body exterior anywhere, but I was careful to clean the primed surface with clean water, which I then dried with lint-free towels. This left the surface without any dusty primer residues from sanding. Next I used a “liquid deglosser/degreaser” that I have seen remove oils and grease quite effectively. I picked it up at Lowe’s so it is not anything special — just a typical brand. The degreaser is quite volatile, so it evaporates quickly. Then, after about an hour or so wait, on goes the sealer. The process is the same as before.

We departed from the previous paint sessions by blocking the completely dried clearcoat with 800-grit wet sandpaper. This wasn’t done immediately; I waited ten days to take it on. Because the surface was well shaped, there were no areas where I sanded through to the basecoat. I used a fairly small block of medium stiffness styrofoam (actually it was 3/4 inch foam insulation). For areas where I detected runs in the clear, I used either a section from a wood paint stirring stick wrapped in 800-grit or a small hard rubber sanding block to focus on the high areas. When I talked with the people at my paint shop, they were concerned that the clear was thick enough. If you do sand through to the basecoat, I was told, “you end up with a mess.” They advised that at least two coats of clear be on the surface before sanding. I didn’t count the coats on the car body, but I know that we resprayed the clear after the original coat had set a while. So, I wasn’t worried.

This post-clearcoat sanding was not a tenth as onerous as blocking primer, and a third as messy. The clear is much, much tougher than high-build primer, naturally, and so the mess is small. You end up with a thin lather of suspended clear over the surface, and the unfortunate orange peel or run ripples are easy enough to remove.

Bonnet color

As I’ve said before, the E-type bonnet makes up much more than even its formidable size in the imaginations of car enthusiasts. The bonnet itself comes close to expressing the most special qualities of the E-type. So, when it came to applying color, painting the bonnet meant really painting the car. And we wanted it to be perfect. But we did run into disconcerting troubles before we finished the job.

The bonnet came in from the outside where the interior was sprayed with color after all the rock guard and primer had gone on. I believe that we can finally dismantle the old rolling rack that held the car shell for over a year. (We made the rack from wood salvaged from a humble old chicken coop. So, I guess one could say that instead of finding this car in a chicken coop, this one was on top of one for more than a year.) We put the bonnet on saw horses that fit to each side of the performance bulge and nearly touching the inner duct wings. This was a mistake. Or, at least the way we set the bonnet on the horses was a mistake. We didn’t pad the points where the bonnet and the sawhorses met, and we discovered that the weight of the bonnet pushed the metal out at the forward-most points of contact. On the left side, this was a gentle bulge that disappeared when we lifted the bonnet from the sawhorses, but on the right we have a little touch-up to do. I think we’ll be able to press out or gently knock out a persistent bulge on the left side. Aaron noticed the bulges when we were rubbing the bonnet with steel wool (for reasons spelled out later). They were unfortunately not visible at the time we set the bonnet on the sawhorses.

The Moral: If you use sawhorses to suspend your bonnet, make sure that you have the sawhorses well padded, and I think fashioning a broad supporting plate from plywood is advisable. You need to spread the weight resting on the sawhorses.

I mentioned steel wool. Here’s the story — another mistake that a little research solved, but that could have been messier to deal with had we continued with the painting process. After the sealer and the basecoat was applied, we noticed that the basecoat was drying “cloudy,” as if it had been lightly covered with a whitish-grey spray. This was only apparent after the basecoat had dried, and the cloudiness was not uniform across the surface of the bonnet. In general, it followed wide lines of the spraying itself, usually appearing where there was probably an overlap of spray.

I had not run into this on other surfaces, and I initially thought that the cloudiness might be resolved when the clearcoat was applied, since the clear is supposed to melt and resuspend the base. But I wasn’t sure, so I searched the web and found that this is a common phenomenon that is usually caused by thinning the basecoat too much or by applying clearcoat before the basecoat has dried sufficiently. The “cloudiness” is actually suspended flakes that float to the surface of the too-thin paint. The recommendation was to reshoot base on the surface, making sure that the basecoat paint was accurately thinned. Not too much, not too little — just right.

I took a little fine steel wool after a cloudy section, and the clouds disappeared with a little rubbing. The integrity of the basecoat (which dries very soft) was unassailed. Aaron and I rubbed the entire surface of the bonnet with steel wool to dispel the clouds, so to speak. After that, Aaron cleaned the surface with compressed air, and I sprayed another thin coat of basecoat over the bonnet. It dried as expected, and then the clear went on. We let the clear set for about a half hour, and then sprayed a second coat over the almost-dried first coat. It was a bad oversight on my part to have missed taking a picture of the clouded basecoat. If it happens again, and I hope it won’t, I’ll remember to take a picture. You can imagine that things were a little tense around the old DeLong hacienda as the bonnet clouded up!

The bonnet will get the 800-grit sanding treatment in mid-September, about two years after we initially rolled the car into the old cat cage garage.

The photos below show the bonnet in primer, basecoat (after steel wool treatment) and after the clearcoat. You can see one of the door panels to the rear of the bonnet. The interior sections of the doors and the trunk/boot lid were painted with the bonnet.

July 2004 – Priming, sanding, and bonnet again

Moving car shell off rack, bonnet again (17 – 23 July)

The weekend of 17-18 July was mainly devoted to lowering the car shell from the wooden rack, cleaning the garage, and moving the bonnet outside. It was, I suppose, rather uneventful, except for the fact that it meant that the car was closer than ever to supporting itself on four wheels. For that matter it was closer to the ground than it had been for over a year — on 15 March 2003 the car went up on its wooden frame.

We moved the wooden frame out of the garage and then moved the bonnet from its corner to perch on the wooden rack. I can cover it with a tarp to protect it from the elements until it’s ready to move back into the garage. Actually, the bonnet has moved in and out of the garage during the last half of July, since we’ve taken it out to spray primer and have better access to the internals and such. And then we’ve moved it back into the garage in order to fit it to the body shell.

The bonnet had received the occasional final brush full of “Tie-Coat” primer when I was busy doing other things, but once it made it’s way out of the garage it has become more of a focus of our attentions. I finally sprayed it with “Tie-Coat” and this was the first and last of such stuff on a good portion of the bonnet. I wanted to use more mainline primer on the bonnet, since it worked so well on the body shell. The “Tie-Coat” cured for a couple of days, and then I went over it very quickly with a sanding block to remove the drips and such. Then I sprayed a good Dupont two-part high-build primer. This was really the first “working” coat of primer — one that would get some attention from the sanding block.

As with the other blocked primer coats, this one got a “guide” coat of spray paint, this time a black gloss because it was the only spare can of paint I had on hand. I’ve found that the Rustoleum “rusty metal” primer is a good guide coat paint, since it doesn’t build up in sandpaper. I didn’t have any available, though. The bonnet nose finally looks as though it is getting into final shape. (Somehow, I feel that I have said or thought that before with the bonnet.) Once again, I have shaved off and tapped metal a bit on the right side. This has the good effect of removing body filler, but it seems a bit late in the game to be shaping the nose even still. Some final dings I have filled with Evercoat “Easy Sand” filler (good stuff!). If you look closely at the bonnet nose pictures you can see several shades: spots of exposed metal are dark, a pinkish color is body filler used after hammering out the metal, light blue (almost white) is “Easy Sand,” sky blue is “Tie-Coat” primer and the grey is the two-part high-build primer. I put three small pieces of purple masking tape on an area of concern: a gentle dip on the left side of the “performance bulge.” This place will get a little extra high-build when I next spray it. This is a barely perceptible dip that I think can be eliminated without too much of a buildup of primer, especially since the area surrounding it has been brought down with block sanding.

Bonnet hardware

Quite a while ago I had zinc plated parts of the bonnet latch brackets that attach to the body shell and accept the latch “peg” from the bonnet. I had to repair the parts of the side latches that attach to the bonnet and hold the pegs that fit into the holes on the brackets. I believe these are called “bonnet locating pegs” and “bonnet lock brackets.” The single remaining rubber bonnet locating peg pad is exhausted, so I’ll need to get new ones. They look like special parts, and I don’t think I’ll be able to find a “generic” equivalent. These rubber parts fit around the pegs and keep the metal latch brackets from banging metal-to-metal.

The right side latch bracket that fits onto the bonnet was broken at the point where the locating peg was attached. This seems to be further evidence of a rather bad impact to the right front side of the car at some point. My guess is that the peg was either ripped off at that time or the bracket and the peg were severely bent and they eventually weakened and fell off, or were simply torn off to get them out of the way. Blame a previous owner. I could have located a replacement, but I decided to repair the original with a washer and some deft welding and grinding. I also fashioned a new peg that is very close to the peg on the intact left side latch bracket. I am now thinking that I will plate the pegs with zinc and paint the brackets with a metal/aluminum paint. The pegs will need to have a durable, abrasion-resistant coating.

The latches really helped in fitting the bonnet to the car body, since they keep alignment and support the outer rear wings in place while you adjust the bonnet mounts at the bonnet hinges. When I had previously (and grossly) fitted the bonnet (see the earliest attempt in August 2003 and the most recent in March 2004), I had not used the latches, since these were, after all, gross fittings. My main intent was to see how well the rear section of the bonnet met the front bulkhead. But at this point I was more interested in seeing how the outer lines of the bonnet fit the outer lines of the body shell, and so I needed to be more discriminating in the fit.

The more discriminating fit was, well, merely all right. The side panels met better on the left side than the right side, and the gross geometry overall was in good shape. But I could not do the blocking over the channels as I had hoped. The structure itself was too fluid and loose, and so it was apparent that I had to fit the bonnet internals more permanently in order to work with the outer lines of the bonnet.

Bonnet internals glued and primed (25 – 31 July)

So, the bonnet came off and was returned to the rack. This time it went on upside down, though, in order to give easy access to the inside of the bonnet. I had not yet glued the flanges to to inside of the center section of the bonnet. These flanges hold the two ducts in place and overall provide internal support to the bonnet structure. My flanges fit very badly, leaving as much as about a half inch (one centimeter and some) of a gap toward the front of the bonnet. I decided that it was better to fashion new flanges than to try to fill the gap, so to speak, with adhesive. Apparently using an excess of adhesive is common practice, but I think it would look tacky and probably not be as stable as customized — and (I know) non-standard — flanges. So we put the last bits of the 20-gauge steel to use. (Historical note: Aaron and I fashioned the new flanges, but we also used one welded up by John Boutin when he and his family visited us back during Thanksgiving vacation 2003. He wanted to try his hand at welding and that was his project. The flange now sits in the forward right position, holding the right side duct nearest the bonnet mouth.)

Mike Moore, a two-time Jag E-type restorer in California, gave me particulars about getting the Sikaflex adhesive that is “original” for the E-type bonnet. Mike says it is very good stuff. Nonetheless, I decided to go with a polyurethane adhesive, since I had read in a post from Dan Mooney (of Classic Jaguar) that a good polyurethane adhesive would do the trick. Besides, I could obtain that nearby.

We glued the flanges to the metal after cleaning up the lines well. The polyurethane adhesive was certainly messy, but it set in about 24 hours. Pictures I had seen of the glued pieces show that the glue was applied generously and bulges out from the joint. Ours looks pretty standard in that regard. The polyurethane glue we used is tough stuff after it’s dried. Like what I’ve heard about Sikaflex, it is somewhat flexible, but quite resistant to movement. It is not “rubbery.”

North Carolina has periods of summer rains that occur regularly in the afternoon. Since mid July it has been a little wetter than the earlier part of the month (though we have really needed the rain). That is to say: moving forth with the bonnet while it’s perched (and covered) outside has been a little hit-or-miss. I’ve been reluctant to paint when rain threatens, of course. Priming has been a bet with the weather, but by the end of the month the bonnet internals got a coating of “Tie-Coat” primer and the two-part high-build primer. Also, the front wheel wells were coated with rock guard. Inadvertently, the rock guard ended up a two stage process, in part because our Internet connection went out after a power outage and I couldn’t consult the well illustrated “FAQ” on applying “underseal” that is posted on Classic Jaguar‘s web site.

Anyway, I initially left the frontmost section of the front well well without rock guard, since I have pictures of a restored Jaguar without rock guard. I went ahead and smoothed out some ripples on both of these sections, thinking that they were going to be smooth and painted. When RoadRunner came back up, I checked the FAQ on Classic Jaguar. Sure enough, the front portion also gets rock guard, according to Dan Mooney. The more I though about it, the more I recalled removing rock guard from that part of the bonnet, too. (I should say that I have learned not to trust anything I found on this car to be particularly reliable as far as originality is concerned.) I went ahead and applied rock guard to the front section. This was hardly an aggravation. The stuff goes on easily and is an easier cleanup than having to clean up a spray gun. I again used the “Gravi-Tex” product that I used for undercoating for the IRS well, rear wheel wells, and the underside of the car. It’s significantly less expensive than the 3M Rock Schutz.

That pretty much closed the month of July. I was hoping that the car would have color by the end of July, but this is close enough. The rains of the last week or so didn’t cooperate with me. The inside of the bonnet still needs a bit of block sanding (nothing too meticulous, though) and another shot of two-part primer. Then I think we’ll refit it to the car body, and finalize the blocking.

Then … color! Maybe. I’m now hoping that August is the magical month.

Forgotten tidbit: Underside painted Opalescent Dark Green (a while ago — mid-June 2004)

I neglected to mention how I managed to paint the underside of the car. This entailed lifting the car up off the rack and moving the rack back until the rear section of the car was supported beneath the foremost section of the boot floor, just behind the housing for the IRS. The front of the car — basically at the point where the frames attach to the body — was supported by a saw horse. This left the entire mid-section of the floor completely free. And I simply painted it. I wasn’t too cramped, since the car was about four feet (a little over a meter) off the ground. (The operation did not lend itself to photography, I’m afraid.)

Of course, the underside of the car is painted Opalescent Dark Green over the rock guard.

March 2004 – Bonnet test fit, plating prep, cylinder head cleanup

Bonnet test fit

The garage had a very special visitor over this weekend. My dad, Wallace DeLong, came up to North Carolina after making the rounds through Florida to see relatives and participate in a travel exchange with people in Sarasota. I was a little worried about suggesting that we take on a project with the old car, since I didn’t want to impose my restoration work on an unwilling participant, but it actually turned out that Dad wanted to do exactly that.

As I mentioned before, Stefan Roundy provided a fine replacement for the bent bonnet subframe. That piece, along with the replacement left subframe from Bill McKenna, meant that the front frame could be put together with sound pieces. The bent up bonnet frame meant that the bonnet itself hung badly, and I was anxious to see whether the new bonnet subframe would straighten out the bonnet fit.

So, Dad and I installed the front subframes and mounted the bonnet on its hinges.

It fit squarely off the front bulkhead (firewall), though the bonnet measured just shy of an inch forward of the bulkhead — a bit too wide a space. We figured we needed to get the space to about a third of that.

We made some makeshift shims to insert into the hinges at the top. Basically, to bring the bonnet back, we had to make sure that the hinges were tightened until the hinge touched the area on the lower valance where they fit. No shims there — we needed to get the bonnet back as far as possible. Shims at that point would move the bonnet forward. Once we had done that, checked to see how the bonnet fit against the lower sections of the bulkhead and the upper sections. Things were slightly wider at the upper part than at the lower, meaning that we could raise the bonnet to even things out.

We did the raising in two ways: we raised the bonnet subframe by inserting a small shim between the subframe and the “picture frame” at the lower connections. And we placed shims over the top section of the bonnet hinge that pivots on the subframe. These two things did the trick. I do not think both will be necessary when we actually fit the bonnet after the suspension is in place, since the dynamics of the frame will change, and the bonnet subframe will probably sit slightly higher as a result. Roger Los mentioned that his bonnet fitting was simplified after installing the suspension pieces that fit into the picture frame. When I first read that, I felt it might be a little dubious, but seeing how the structure fits and acts when bolted down, it is very probable that the rigidity of those pieces will support the frame in the right places, with the result that shimming will be less of an issue. I think we’ll still need to shim upward, though.

The final gap between the rear of the bonnet and the front bulkhead ended up being about 3/8 inch — about a half centimeter, a little wider perhaps. I’m reluctant to go much narrower than this, simply because the thickness of the primer and paint will make things a little tighter. The gap is about right. It is amazing to see what a new bonnet subframe will do to the gap, at any rate. When we first mounted the bonnet back in August of last year, the gap was a crooked disaster.

Front suspension parts for plating

Although I didn’t subject my dad to the gritty glories of sandblasting, we did weigh and organize the front suspension pieces that are due for nickel plating. There is still one suspension fitting that needs disassembly and cleaning. It has resisted my efforts to extract some pretty rusty bolts. It’s soaking in penetrating fluid now. We have 64 pounds (about 30 kilograms) of metal to be plated. I’ve decided not to send off small parts like washers and nuts. These I will probably plate myself, as I’m leaning toward ordering a nickel plating kit from Caswell Plating. Bill McKenna says it’s actually less putzy than zinc plating, and that seemed simple enough.

The platers is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and UPS wanted almost $90 USD to ship the parts. I figure that the trip will be a pleasant drive, and I should know what the charge will be without having to spend $180 USD on shipping, roundtrip.

Cylinder head cleanup

The final thing we did was clean up the insides of the cylinders where the valves are located. Five of the six chambers had a good deal of grime in them, and the remaining one (number one) was not too bad — which made me suspicious. I think that the fuel mix was set rich, probably to avoid pinging? Wire brush attachments to the drill made quick work of the grime. The valves were obviously in good shape, and my dad and I wondered if the valves were recently replaced in an overhaul. Dad looked pretty closely at cylinder wear and the valves and felt that the last overhaul wasn’t that long ago, and the engine didn’t require a massive amount of work. We did not look closely at the crankshaft (most of which is still in place), and there is a high probability (in my mind at least) that the rebuild of the engine was focused on the top, and not the bottom. Even though the bearings for the piston rods weren’t bad, the keys in my mind are the crankshaft bearings. After all, it’s fairly easy to replace rod bearings, but to replace the crankshaft bearing you have to remove the crankshaft. Wear related to that is heavier on this engine, so I’m suspicious. When we get to the engine in earnest, the crankshaft comes off and the measuring begins.

Here’s what the chambers looked like after some cleaning:

January-March 2004 – Winter cleaning, undercoating, plating prep

Part 1: Winter cleaning, undercoating, plating prep

It’s been a while since I updated the web site, but when cold weather comes in, as it did in abundance this winter, you just want to hunker down and get through it. So I occupied my restoration time with things that were easy to do in short and less cold moments. Little things over a long period do add up. This is a two-part addition to the restoration journal. Welcome to part one….

I mentioned that I had chosen a non-3M undercoating. It is called “Gravi-Tex” and it seems to me to be a good equivalent of the 3M “Rock Guard” that is well known in Jag restoration circles. It goes on with a spray gun (that I got free with purchase of two bottles of the stuff). I got the material in black, although I suspect that other colors are available, simply because the color was listed on the label. It’s manufactured in the UK.

I followed the guidelines on the Classic Jaguar website for undercoating. The illustrated instructions are listed in the “FAQs” and show you what you need to mask up and where the borders of the undercoating are on the rear boot bottom and the lower outer sills. It took a short evening to mask up the body shell. Since I’ve decided to ignore the bonnet for the time being (yes, I got sick of messing with the bonnet), I didn’t worry about the front wheel well areas on it. I figured that I would go back to the bonnet in earnest once I had the bonnet subframe issues resolved.

I went about two and a quarter inches up the outer sill from the bottom of the outer sill and followed the photographs on the Classic Jaguar web site for the border on the boot floor. Use the notches in the bottom that meet the wheel wells to guidance. Your masking will almost bisect the hole for the fuel “bung.” Be sure to mask the radius arm mounting cups and the bolts for mounting the exhaust pipes beneath the floor.

I used fairly low pressure to spray the undercoating — 40 psi — since I wanted to have the coating go on roughly. Higher pressure will make the material finer grained, so to speak, and smoother to the touch. The original undercoating was even rougher than what I eventually ended up with, and I suppose I could have backed off on the pressure even more. The final effect is nice nonetheless.

I left the undercoating for a week or so before spraying a thin coat of primer over the surface. This may have been unnecessary, but auto paint folks suggested it for good sealing and for a uniform color beneath the paint.

In addition to the body work, I prepped the front suspension parts for nickel plating. I decided to go ahead and blast them. They’re pretty clean now, for the most part, and I have just a few more small parts to clean up before shipping the lot of them to a plating service I located in North Carolina. (I’m sending them off with a little trepidation, I’ll admit. The parts are practically irreplacable, after all.)

And, since one can easily spend money in warmth inside, I did a bit of that, too. Shocks, bushes, brake cylinder rebuild kits, ball joint kits, front brake rotors, and so on. Also, I got a used bonnet subframe from Stefan Roundy to replace the bent up one that came on my car. I can hardly wait to get the subframes ready!

October 2003 – Color choice, subframe & “boot” primer

Color? It’s going to be British Racing Green

Ah! to fix dents is easy. You see them, you fix them. You know when it’s right. Not so with color. I know that I have driven my family crazy with this decision, and I can’t but help think that even this decision is, well, provisional — at least until the paint sits in a can in the garage.

I know I have felt as committed to

  • Opalescent Silver Blue — too much like Carolina Blue, and I’m a Duke man,
  • Opalescent Dark Blue — Duke blue on a car, but my wife’s truck is the color already and red or dark blue interiors are recommended, and
  • Opalescent Dark Green — great in theory, but the car recently sprayed the color in the Classic Jaguar workshop just didn’t appeal to me.

And British Racing Green is a color with roots. The earliest surviving E-type roadster, if I’m not mistaken, is BRG. It was (and still is) known as 77 RW, restored in 2001. British Racing Green is a good traditional color for British sports cars. So why not have one in rural North Carolina, too?

Centering the bonnet subframe

When we stuck the bonnet on the frames, just to see what the old thing looked like, we noticed that the bonnet was cockeyed. The trouble is in the bonnet frame, which probably sustained some accident damage. (My initial observations, including a description of the way the damage was “repaired” or at least hidden, appear in a previous entry.) What we needed to do was more systematically and geometrically characterize the damage: What was pitched? How much was it off center? Where is the pivot for the pitch to the left side of the car?

The exploration really began with some crude drawings that I made back in August, when we could measure the effect that the frame damage was having on the fit of the bonnet. Those measurements showed that the bonnet was set too far back on the left side — in fact the bonnet was butted against the firewall (front bulkhead) on that side. On the right side of the car, the bonnet was too far forward by about 3 centimeters or so. Drawing out the general structure of the frame identified a couple of places where the pitch to the left could have pivoted. The entire frame structure could be pitched, meaning that the side frames (the “A” shaped structures that make up the engine compartment) could be bent. This would mean that the pivot would be at the center of the firewall. Or, the front frame piece that holds the bonnet and the radiator could be pitched. This would mean that the pivot would be at the center of the so-called “picture frame,” the front of the engine compartment that attaches to the side frames. Clearly, the pivot from the center of the picture frame would be preferable, since a pivot off of the firewall would be virtually irreparable.

I doubted that the damage was off the firewall, since there was no other evidence of damage there. But the side frames themselves could bear the damage in some not-too-apparent way, I thought. The left side frame already concerns me because of the rust damage I discovered on it.

Another thing that helped was a schematic of the body shell and the front frame structure that appears in the Terry’s Jaguar catalogue (“Body Dimensions,” Terry’s Jaguar Parts, 11th ed. [Benton, Illinois, 2001], p. 6-3). The drawing and measurements help to situate the frame structure especially in relation to easily figured out points on the body. The information is for “checking points for accidental damage on [the] XKE body and front frame.” The only thing that might be a bit misleading is the accuracy of the measurements. They are, I believe, too precise, sometimes going to the 32nd of an inch. That kind of accuracy usually isn’t necessary for the body, since fitting sections together often includes bolts and holes that are designed and intended to be used to make minor adjustments to the fit. But this catalogue is a good reference to have on the shelf. Terry’s Jaguar Parts has a good reputation as a parts supplier. They’ll send you a catalogue if you ask.

Using TJP’s “Body Dimensions” as a guide, we strung some string along the center line of the body shell, extending it out into the front frame area. We found that the picture frame hit dead center as it should, but the bonnet frame was off about 2 centimeters to the left. We marked the point where the center line of the car crossed the bonnet frame hinge tube (the forwardmost pipe) and the radiator mount. We measured these points against the centers of the hinge tube and the mount. Then we tied the string to the center of the picture frame and ran the string to the true center of the bonnet frame hinge tube and checked to see where the string crossed the radiator mount. It crossed at the center point of the mount.

That process of string measuring might seem a bit complicated, but it established that the problem with the fitting of the bonnet was entirely in front of the picture frame. The pivot of the bending was at the center of the picture frame. The picture of the frame from the top plainly shows the bend, and now that I see the frame in a photograph I see how rough it looks. So, now I’m wondering about having even this frame repaired. But that brings up another topic….

On not repairing the subframes

A kind email message from fellow E-type restorer Bill McKenna urged me not to have the damaged left frame repaired. The steel (Reynolds 351) was brazed from the factory and is a fairly touchy metal to work with if you don’t want to lose the temper or otherwise weaken the metal. As Bill put it: “To me those frames are all that’s between a nice drive in the country and a major disaster, so not a good thing to skimp on.” Now, I don’t think that the bonnet frame has quite the stress that the other frame parts have to bear. Nor does the bonnet frame quite have as much riding on it in terms of safety. So, I think I could have the bonnet frame repaired.

About the same time that Bill sent his note, a thread on jag-lovers.org brought up the welding issue, and hammered the point home about “repairing” frames. It just doesn’t seem wise, and even if you would have the repairs done following all of the steel manufacturer’s guidelines, you’d probably end up spending about what a new frame would cost. And, having “repaired” it properly, you’d still have a 40-year-old frame at the end.

I think that my left frame will need to be replaced, not repaired. I’m going to have to look around.

Tie-Coat primer in the “boot”

“Tie-Coat Primer” is designed to bond well even to cured POR-15 coatings, and so I’m using Tie-Coat as a base for the topcoat in internal sections of the body and as a base for high-build primer on external sections. I’m trying something out. I read on jag-lovers.org that someone brush paints high-build primer, since the stuff is supposed to be sanded smooth in any case, so why mess with the mess of shooting the paint out a sprayer? When I first read that, I dismissed it, but after a while it did make some sense to me. And so I’m testing it, not with a high-build primer, but with the Tie-Coat, which is billed as a “sandable primer.” I painted the inside of the trunk (aka: “boot”) with Tie-Coat, and I put two coats on the trunk floor, since I’ll need to smooth it very well, especially in the area around the spare tire. I do not plan to spray this area, or any other inside section of the car, with high-build primer. That’s for the outside.

In addition to the inside of the trunk, I brush painted the upper nose section of the bonnet, which still needs attention. I figured that the paint-primer-with-a-brush hypothesis could be better tested on the nose, too. It certainly could stand some smoothing. I’ll be treating the nose as though it has high-build on it, so I’ll be using a guide coat of some sort of paint to mark where I’ve block-sanded. If brush painting works, I’ll put all of the Tie-Coat on with a brush. I still think that the final primer needs to be applied with a spray gun.

Pictures below show the “boot” before and after the primer went on.

August 2003 – Frame temporarily installed to fit bonnet

I’m so pleased that at last the car has a shape that I’ll test your connection speed with a bigger than usual image. This is a temporary fitting of the bonnet, for reasons that are spelled out below. But here it is — the old car in a car-like shape!

Frame temporarily installed

After getting the bonnet more or less together, I got anxious to fit it onto the shell so that the entire car body would again appear as a whole. Even though I still haven’t glued the bonnet pieces together, I figured this would be a good time. As a matter of fact I was hoping that fitting the bonnet to the frame would help clarify any adjustments that I might need to make to get the bonnet internals ready for the adhesive. I crudely tacked the bonnet internals together with some of the bolts and screws and “oval washers” — but I hadn’t by any means fit them all.

The frame pieces are in decent shape, though I was disappointed to discover corrosion damage on the left frame (see entry for 16 March 2003). The damage was in the usual place, near the battery area. And a corrosion hole had eaten its way through an upper forward tube as well, though I don’t know exactly why this place would be susceptible to rust. I’ve found someone to repair the frame. The picture frame had dents where careless mechanics had used a jack without supplying a wood insert to protect the picture frame. These I pounded out quite handily. The good frames are shown in the brown primer in the picture.

The less stout frame that is designed to support the radiator and the bonnet hinges was suspicious to me even as we stripped and sandblasted it. For some reason it didn’t look quite square to me. I thought at one point that perhaps the irregularity was actually an element of the design — perhaps the bonnet hinges were slightly offset for some reason. The picture shows the irregularity if you look carefully at it. The bar separating the bonnet hinges (there’s only the right side one installed in the picture) favors the left side of the car (the right side of the picture).

Bonnet fitted onto frame

Aaron and I wrestled the bonnet into position and loosely tightened bolts through the bonnet hinges. We noticed that one side was fairly easy to fit and attach, but the other side (the left) needed a bit more coaxing. Even from the gross fitting, it was apparent that the gap between the back of the bonnet and the body shell was simply too big to surmount. This was especially the case on the right side of the car, where the gap is almost two centimeters wide. On the left side, the gap is almost a normal size, though the bonnet appears to be pitched a little toward the left. Also, the gap was large to begin with, so the only adjustment we could make was to draw the bonnet forward by tightening the hinge bolts. But, of course, they only tighten so far. I believe the usual adjustment is expanding the fit of the hinges to the bonnet — in effect loosening the hinge bolts. This is done with shims. The use of shims helps to widen the gap where bonnet and body meet, and heaven knows we don’t need it any wider there!

I think what we’re seeing in the badly fit bonnet and the irregular bonnet frame is the leftovers of accident damage. The question I had was why these bonnet issues weren’t apparent when we first saw the car. Even the smashed up nose couldn’t have hidden a Grand Canyon Gap at the back of the bonnet. This is where some odd holes I noticed come in, along with the benefit of taking lots of photographs of the car at disassembly.

I had noticed two pairs of holes roughly coinciding with the standard hinge holes. The photograph shows both sets of holes, with the “real” hinge attachment holes circled. I thought that perhaps the extra holes, which are slightly larger than the regular holes, might have been actually earlier holes cut into the lower section for some other hinge fitting or perhaps for wiring or whatever. The “real” holes appear in groups of four, two for a horizontal set of bolts, and two for a vertical set. In this way the hinge itself fits tightly into a corner and restricts upward-downward and forward-backward movement. The larger extra holes only appear on the vertical plane — for bolts that fit horizontally.

I went back to the photo archive and discovered that indeed the larger holes were used to fit the bonnet (see the hinge mount bunched toward the left of the lower valance with no large hole apparent). It fair to assume that the bonnet frame was bent toward the left, perhaps in the accident that damaged the nose initially, and the bonnet was altered by fitting it to new holes instead of the bonnet frame being repaired or replaced.

I think we’ll fix this problem by having the bonnet frame repaired. I don’t think it’ll be too much of a challenge, since the irregularities in it are quite apparent. Then I’ll have to repair those silly extra holes!

If you go under the bonnet and situate yourself where the engine will eventually be, you can see that the bonnet frame tubes nearly touch the internal bonnet wall on the left side. On the right side there’s plenty of room. It is apparent that the bonnet walls were fashioned to wrap around elements of the frame. It’s really a nice piece of design work — and I suppose only the designers and those of us fortunate enough to do this kind of restoration are privileged enough to see those details.

I’ve heard it said that the E-Type is a study of the ellipse. It certainly is that, and marvelously so. But seeing the fluid lines of the bonnet internals wrap around the frame is also a design delight, though one less apparent than the elliptical shapes of wheel wells, bonnet “mouth,” headlamps, or the cockpit.

July 2003 – Left outer sill, bonnet internals

Time has been split this summer between the garden (which is quite abundant this year), a wood floor we’ve been installing, and the old Jaguar. Progress has been slower than I’d hoped, but I guess that’s always the case. This September we’re coming up on the anniversary of picking up the car, and I’m interested to see where we are after a year.

Left outer sill

We completed the installation of the left outer sill — the one that I fabricated. As I mentioned, we had to use about two millimeters thickness of body filler along the top of the sill where it abutts the bottom edge of the door. I realize now that I could have avoided this additional body filler had I not been so intent on pushing the sill under the lip of the door frame (which is actually the upper section of the inner sill. I wanted to make sure that there was adequate metal to weld into, which was actually not a problem. Well, next time I won’t make the same mistake.

Now that I’ve nearly finished the body filler smoothing, I look back and think that those Martin Robey sills are a pretty good deal. Not only do they fit nicely, but you don’t have to mess with Bondo (except for the occassional dent or ding). I haven’t looked at the price I paid for the right outer sill, but I think it would have been worth the time to get a left outer sill from Martin Robey, too.

What’s the old bromide? Penny wise, pound foolish.

Aaron wasn’t too enthusiastic about doing the line of welds where the sill meets the floor panel — really under the car. He had done these welds on the other sill and was dodging hot metal droplets the entire time. I did the low welds, and it was not fun. I guess that rotisserie looks better all the time. But we are actually very near the point when such a thing isn’t useful.

We put the door on just to make sure that the door panel fit the frame perfectly, and the side really looks pretty good. It’s nice to see that the car is just now beginning to go back together into a recognizable shape.

Bonnet internals fitted (almost)

Inside the bonnet are several parts that have the roles of supporting the outer shell and of directing air to the heater fan and to the air intake for the engine. The “default” course of air through the bonnet mouth, as it were, goes to the radiator for cooling the engine — something the early E-types were not known to do very efficently. (Our E-type had a contraption that was intended to assist cooling,though it probably had the actual effect of decreasing the air flow to the radiator.) There are seven major parts of this internal structure, with some smaller, tab-like parts that are glued to the inside of the bonnet’s center section. Very early E-types had these tabs welded to the section, often resulting in visible dent-like spots along the top of the bonnet to each side of the “performance bulge” in the center. Not too long into the production of the E-type, these tabs were glued — use of adhesives for this purpose was quite new in automobile manufacture, as a matter of fact.

There are two walls that sit astride the engine and that have ducts going from the sides of the bonnet mouth to the air intake and the heater fan. These were damaged in the front, and I had to bang the wrinkles out and clip off some extra metal. Because I fashioned larger tabs at the front of the bonnet, I had to cut out a deeper slit where these parts fit against the front of the bonnet. These parts are very putzy to fit.

The walls don’t fit as well as I had expected. They are farther from the center section of the bonnet than I had hoped. Since this fitting has been done with the bonnet upside down (as pictured), I’m going to right the bonnet and then take a look at how the internal walls fit. It could be that the dynamics of the piece will change with the pull of gravity working in the intended way.

June 2003 – Lots of stuff

We have done a great deal of work since the last journal entry. I was too lazy to do the writing and formatting, and so the web site got a little stale. My apologies. The parts database is up-to-date, by the way. I got a little worried seeing all of the various parts beginning to accumulate, so I did the cataloging and data entry to get it all current. I’m hoping that rather than adding to the list of parts we can soon begin simply to update records with notations like “painted and ready for installation” — or even better: “installed”

Right and left outer sills installed

The last entry showed the two sills sitting side-by-side on a makeshift table. We went ahead and installed the right outer sill (the one made by Martin Robey) shortly after that picture was taken. Welder-in-residence Aaron spot welded — and closely spot welded — along the door frame just under a centimeter apart. The most tedious job was the spot welding to join the sill to the floor under the car. I did think that a “rotisserie” to swivel the car body would have been nice. As I write this (29 June), the right side is undergoing the final body work to smooth the welds and even up the line beneath the door. The section that was cut out from the right rear wing was replaced with metal, so the entire right side of the car is practically finished and ready for final sanding before priming. The left outer sill is about two-thirds complete. It stands as shown in the picture, with a smidgeon of Bondo smeared behind the door line. I had some left over from touching up the other side. (The picture was taken after I had moved everything in for the night, so it isn’t the best angle. It’s the best I could do given the space constraints.)

The fabricated sill fit well, though we will need to put about two millimeters of body filler along the upper edge of the sill to bring it out a little. It tucks a bit too far in where it meets the door and the “A” and “B” pillars. Other than that, the sill fits well.

Bonnet Wings and Internals POR-15’ed

The bonnet still demands attention, but not now because it needs whacking. The various pieces are all hammered out and smoothed. Now we’ve been trying to get them coated and ready to reassemble. There are a lot of pieces, especially when you count all of the oval washers that hold the thing together. All of these pieces, including the washers, we’ve been coating with POR-15. Luckily, most of the washers we were able to save, so we won’t have to make too many of them. I’ll be cutting them from 16-gauge steel, and I suspect that will take a fair amount of time. We were able to get most of the bad dents out of the bonnet internals, though there are a few remains of creases that I’ll need to figure out what to do with. Since these are inside the bonnet, I’m less worried about getting everything straight and really tidy, though some of these items will be visible with the bonnet open. (The picture was taken after a second coat of POR-15 over the nose section after I sanded out the insect bodies that had embedded themselves into the paint.)

These bonnet pieces will be loosely attached to the bonnet, using whatever hardware attachments are available. Since the center section has tabs that are glued, we’ll get the exact placement of those tabs from this preliminary fitting. Once the placement is all right, we’ll go ahead and glue the tabs on, and then we’ll be able to attach the bonnet pieces more firmly. I left bare metal at the places where I expect the tabs to attach. The adhesive will probably adhere better to bare metal than to POR-15. Interestingly, when we disassembled the bonnet, none of these tabs remained adhered to the center section. They had all come off and were screwed and bolted to the vents and various internal wing pieces. My guess is that there was a fair amount of rattling in the front when the car was in motion.

And here I thought that 60 hours or so would be all the bonnet would take to rebuild. Hah!

Left Frame, Front Suspension, Steering Rack Dismantled

In order to get to the final stages of the metal work and body shaping, we’ll need to be able to hang the bonnet onto the frames. We had dismantled the right frame and right front suspension some time ago, but the left frame, the left front suspension, the steering rack, tie rod, and picture frame were still in one piece. We took everything apart, with the exception of some of the left suspension that resisted the wrenches too much. We’ve stripped and sandblasted the left and right frames and the picture frame and the bonnet frame assembly that hangs off the front of the picture frame. This is ready to be attached to the body so that we can fit the bonnet to the car body. (No pictures of this, I’m afraid. All overexposed and out-of-focus. They will be available in the photo archive nonetheless, since they still have some informational value. I took lots of pictures of this disassembly, too. I figured they would be useful in reassembly.)

I have heard that you need to put in the front suspension brackets in order for the bonnet to fit correctly — at least this is something that I’ve seen in one report. The frames seem pretty strong for the bonnet, so I will be measuring the spaces where the brackets fit to see if there is a difference with and without the bonnet attached. We will rough-fit the bonnet using the failed left frame. It should suffice. Final fitting can be more meticulous later, when we’ll fit closely with the bonnet shims that are needed.

Good news: I think I found a welder who will be able to take apart and replace the failed tubes on the left frame. This will do the trick. I won’t need an entirely new frame. The fellow said that the left frame was already repaired once near the battery area. He’ll jig, cut, and replace everything exactly to spec. I’d like to have the piece in his shop in July.

May/June 2003 – Bonnet, part 6

Bonnet seam finishing

We repeated the cardboard trick that we used on the seams in the front of the bonnet. This time we concentrated on the seams that run from the headlight holes to the rear of the bonnet along the seam of the center section and the right and left wings. This seam is fitted with a chrome “bead” when the bonnet is complete. The process is quite simple: You take thin cardboard (we used a cereal box) and insert it into the seam before you bolt the pieces. You need to cut holes or slots for the bolts, but these needn’t be exact. After you insert the cardboard, you should have about a centimeter or two of cardboard extending along the top of the seam. Then you apply body filler to the areas along both sides of the cardboard, which separates the body filler nicely. You can sand right across the cardboard, though it’s usually good to cut the cardboard close to the set body filler before you fire up your sander.

The point of this is to remove any ripples along the seam without disrupting the way that the two sections meet. Because you are smoothing the sections together, the seam is flawless. After you take the sections apart, you can do minor smoothing to the individual pieces.

We needed to do this smoothing because we had installed a new metal tab to the right wing of the bonnet, and the heat of welding made a few changes in the metal along the top of the wing. We had to do some pounding as well in order to stretch the wing back into the correct shape. The right wing flattened a bit along to seam. The left wing, however, required little work along the top.

I realized today that this “bonnet” section of this restoration journal is perhaps a bit tedious, simply because it looks as though much the same thing is happening over and over again. And that perception is not entirely inaccurate. The repair of the bonnet at this point is pretty much the same thing repeated (almost) endlessly. It’s a big job because it’s in fact a big part of the entire restoration effort. Relative to the rest of the Jaguar E-type body, the bonnet takes up about one third of the volume. The surface area of the bonnet is quite large and mostly flat. Since it is large and flat, doing the final repairs is difficult and time consuming. You can tell when you take on bonnet repairs (especially repairs that were as extensive as ours) that the prices that new bonnets go for are not really extraordinary. They fall in line with what “real” repairs would cost, since a body shop would have to invest a lot of expensive time into repairs like what we have done. A new piece imported from England is probably cheaper.

It’s a question of doing the math. And the nice thing about the amateur restorer is that he or she doesn’t have a payroll to make while fixing the old Jag.

Between hammers and welds and bondo-slinging, I removed the bonnet latches from the inside of the bonnet. The right side latch will need some work. It looks as though it was a casualty of a bump or two. The left side latch was completely intact, and the rubber bumper is still surprisingly good. As a matter of fact the left wing as a whole is in better shape than the right. I also fabricated and spot welded a replacement part for the left wing — the attachment piece for the inside wing (one of the internal bonnet parts) that is welded behind the wheel arch and runs vertically up the wing. I’ll take a picture later to whow where this piece is located.

I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should not update the online journal until the bonnet actually looks significantly different, since the pictures are looking too much alike. The nice thing about this: I think the bonnet will look significantly different in about a week.

May 2003 – Bonnet, part 5, etc.

Bonnet disassembly (again!) (24 – 26 May 2003)

I completed the body filling on the front section of the bonnet, and so it was time to take the various pieces apart once again. You might recall that we inserted thin cardboard strips between the sections before bondoing (more details here near the bottom of the page). Now that we needed to take it all apart again, it was just a matter of removing the hardware and tapping the pieces with a rubber mallet. The two wings came off with a little tiny tap, and the lower section dropped from the center section without so much as a wiggle or twist. The parts look good. (The pictures to the right are small because the originals were very fuzzy. Making them smaller at least shows the gross results a little more clearly. Next time, I’ll look at the picture on the camera before continuing!)

Once the various sections were apart, we could move them around more easily, making it easier to smooth the parts that were harder to access, such as the bottom of the lower bonnet section and the inside parts of the bonnet mouth.

One thing we ran into that sapped several hours was bad behavior of a “sandable” primer made by Rustoleum. We applied some sandable primer over well cured “regular” primer (also a Rustoleum product), and the sandable primer formed cracks before our eyes as it dried. We were dumb enough to try twice, thinking we hadn’t prepped the primer surface, but the same cracking occurred. Then we gave up, and the bad Rustoleum primer went on the shelf. I’m thinking it would work fine on clean metal, but over primer it will not do.

We wanted to use the sandable primer to take out some of the irregularities still hiding on the nose of the bonnet. We’ll do the best we can without it at this point, and pay special attention to the area when we use the “Tie-Coat” primer over the POR-15. It, too, is sandable.

We focused effort on the bonnet’s center section and the lower section. We were able to get the front of the center section in good shape and prepared for POR-15. The “mouth” section of the bonnet still requires a bit more work, especially since the left and right sides of the center section don’t seem quite symmetrical. One thing about working on the mouth with disassembled pieces: it is easier to get at areas and to compare the two sides of a part from different angles. That ability alone has speeded the process.

The plan now is to complete the little metal work (mainly grinding) that is left on a few of the tabs of the bonnet, reassemble the pieces using cardboard along the top seam between the two wings and the center section, and then smooth that seam as we did the others in front. The next time we disassemble should be the last (except, of course, for some adjustment as will probably be required). After this “cardboard” treatment, the bonnet will be ready for final smoothing and application of POR-15. Then reassembly with adhesives and all the parts!

A little chrome buffing (17 – 18 May 2003)

Since it was raining, a little inside work was in order. I took out the buffer and grabbed the left front bumper. The chrome was obscured by lots of dirt and what may have been oxidized chrome. But after some quick buffing with cleaning grits the old luster came out. The plating looks pretty good from a few feet, but at close range you can see how thin the plating is in some areas. Although the chrome isn’t blistered or grossly pitted, there are very small, almost pore-like, holes in the plate. These are visible only up close.

The bumpers are good enough that replating them would be a waste of money, and I’m hoping that a high-gloss clear coat will obscure the small imperfections. Even without the coating, the bumpers wil be fine from a few feet distant, and that’s good enough. The clear coat is another POR-15 product. I’ll be applying it to all polished metal areas of the car.

Rainy eyeball repairs

The weekend was rainy, on and off, so the bonnet was frequently hidden beneath plastic sheeting to protect the bare metal from the elements. I did do some repair to the right headlight area of the bonnet, though. In our enthusiasm to remove the dents, we were a bit overzealous, and we banged out a “dent” that was actually supposed to be there. On the side of the headlight hole that is toward the center of the bonnet, there is a crease that extends from the back of the bonnet to a point nearly two-thirds of the way down the headlight hole toward the front of the car. We flattened a good portion of that crease, and we discovered the asymmetry by running our hands on each side of the bonnet.

Fortunately, the left headlight area is in very good shape, untouched by collision damage. It provided the details of the correct shape, and a few pictures on the web really helped (notably some of the closeups in the “workshop” area of Classic Jaguar’s site).

That small repair pretty much characterizes what lies ahead for us on the bonnet. It’s a matter of getting the details as right as we can. It is this kind of work that makes the body repair so slow and tedious, but this kind of work is also something that can’t be hurried along or ignored. The details are exceptionally visible.

So, a weekend means repair of a little part of a headlight. Scary to think how many hours might go by working on this important part of the car!