May 22, 2017 in Front Page

Jaguar Fever,  The story behind Ken Laymon’s stunning 1965 Etype FHC (Part II)

After completion drive train, the time had come to fix the rebar holes, it was not until this time that I discovered that my car was a rust bucket, beauty was really only skin deep! I decided to send it out for bead blasting so that I could determine what repairs were needed, I was shocked when it returned suffering from a dramatic weight loss, it needed front and rear floors, inner and outer sills, firewall, as well as sub frames, my rust bucket was a true work of art in Bondo. This mess was beyond my abilities, I checked around and found that XKs Unlimited had a jig in their shop which would assure proper alignment for a major body rebuild. Cost was more than I expected, however I already had invested in a top notch drivetrain and all numbers were matching so, after removing everything, off it went to XKs. Many many dollars later, the car returned totally dissembled without a trace of rust or paint, new subframes in the boxes and two pallets of parts, one with all the smaller parts and one pallet for the rear suspension assembly, the bonnet was sitting in front of the body tub, all that was left to do was put it back together!!##. I was devastated; I stared at my pile of parts for a couple of weeks before finally deciding to buckle down and make an attempt at a show car.

My new project became an obsession; I was slow but methodical and received lots of help and advice from friends, special thanks to Richard Darnell and Dick Mila De La Roca, their help and encouragement which were indispensable. Blue paint was done by Roundsville’s Automotive in San Bernardino, interior by K&N in Garden Grove. I spent a couple of years preparing parts and bolts for refinishing and plating. Chrome and cad plating was done by MJB plating in Rialto. Any paint, other than blue, was my garage job. Thanks to the fantastic factory Spare Parts Catalogue, I was able to assure myself that everything was assembled as original. One piece at a time over the years things went together until I finally ran out of parts to install and, presto,  I had a pretty new blue E Type that again ran like a top.

I felt that the completed car looked pretty good but I really didn’t feel like it qualified as “show quality” work but the first JCNA show was a couple of weeks away so I decided that it was now or never and I mailed in the application and reserved a U Haul Trailer.  The day before the show, I picked up my trailer and, after many delays, loaded the car for the next day. The next morning Caroline & I departed for the big debut. Half way to the show, the sky broke loose and we were caught in pouring rain with no option but to continue on if we were to arrive on time.

On arrival at the show we did our best to clean up the car before rags down time. When we could do no more, we took the time to check what our competition looked like, we concluded that we didn’t have a chance. When awards presentation time came around, I was astounded to hear my name called for a third place, I was thrilled! A couple of weeks later, I received the judges sheet in the mail, I used it as a check list to correct any deductions that the judges had taken. On to the next show, more corrections and on and on it goes, maybe someday all of the corrections will be done, but that someday hasn’t arrived, so on and on I we go, time to get ready for the next show.

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