Ad of the week: W111 European Delivery

This weeks ad has a great photo of the W111 Coupe.   While this car is a 220SE, it looks very similar to the 250SE that I used to have – this car has a red interior and mine had a red wine coloured one, but they look similar.   It also wears the zoll plate for European delivery programme.

Mercedes European Delivery Programme W111 220SE Coupe

280CE power steering

The 280CE came back for a visit this week complaining of groaning power steering.   Turned out that the belt was slipping once the wheel got toward full lock.   On further inspection, the belt had become too loose – not because it was stretched, but because the bolt that allows the belt adjustment had lost its threads in the critical area and it was slowly adjusting itself outwards.

The lost threads meant that it was also impossible to remove the nut to replace the bolt.   Luckily the power steering pump is fairly accessible from below (especially with a hoist), so the nut could be cut off with very careful use of an angle grinder.


the picture above shows the situation quite well.   As can be seen the pump can move to tension the belt but the bolt was not tightening properly allowing it to work loose.   The bolt has a little cog at the end so only one side of the bolt needs to be tightening to tension the belt.   We didn’t have one of these so a conventional bolt was used for now and a new bolt will be ordered.

After a test drive full operation of the steering has been restored.

Ad of the week: Jag Engineering and Elegance

This weeks ad is a well known Jaguar ad focusing on both the engineering and design elements.   It is an early ad because it shows the outside bonnet latches and a different position than normal for the reversing light.     The picture below is supposed be elegant, but the lady in the car looks like she is trying to abduct a child.

Jaguar XKE Engineering and Elegance

Ad of the week: Citroen Safety

This weeks ad a great summary summary of all the safety features of the DS and a great cutaway.   These days they try and sell cars with lifestyle shots, but this ad delves deep into some of the technical features.

Citroen DS Safety

The Jaguar Compact Saloons

Outside their sports cars, the Jaguar Compact Saloons are the best known of the classic Jaguars, and have eclipsed their more upmarket and larger siblings in interest, and market value.   This makes the full size saloons rather good value, but today the focus is on the compact saloons.
The compact saloons encompass the period from 1955-1969 and soon developed a reputation of a car for lovable rogues.   They combined strong performance with raffish good looks and the practicality to seat five adults – not to mention their extremely inexpensive purchase price when new.
Over time the range became quite complicated, as shown in the table below that highlights years of manufacture, units produced and different families.
Compact Jags

Jaguar MK I

The Mk I was Jaguar’s first monocoque design and was produced from 1955-1959.     The MK 1 used the XK engine that had debuted in the XK120 and was now also used in the full size saloons (the MK VIII), starting with the new 2.4l size and later adding the 3.4l model as well.     The car was known at the time as the Jaguar 2.4 Liter and the Jaguar 3.4 liter, with the Mk 1 Nomenclature only coming on the introduction of the MK 2.
During the production of the MK 1, disk brakes were made available as an option and an automatic transmission was also made available.
The interior as expected from a Jaguar had lashings of leather and wood and was similar to the XK series sports cars.
While the MK I was very successful in its own right, it was totally eclipsed by the MK 2, and there are now few survivors.     Once the Mk 2 had been on sale for a few years, values of the MK 1 plummeted to next to nothing.   At Jaguar car club events you’ll see at least 10 MK 2’s for every MK 1.
As Jaguar did not own Daimler at the time, there was no Daimler version of the MK 1.  The photo below shows a MK 1, the most obvious way to identify one is the smaller windows, but careful inspection shows slight differences to the front too.   This car, having wire wheels does not have the spats as the knock offs would not fit.
MK 1

Jaguar Mk 2

The Mk 2 is the definitive compact Jaguar Saloon and was produced from 1959-1967 (not including the 240/340 which is covered separately).    The MK 2 was the product of a number of major improvements over the MK 1, including slender A, B and C pillars giving the car a lighter look and much greater glass area, a redesigned dashboard that would be similar to the upcoming E-Type, Significant suspension improvements, standard disc brakes and now with the option of a 3.8 liter version as well as the 2.4 and 3.4.
The 3.8 is the one (manual, with overdrive) that all the collectors want, and therefore this model commands a premium over the others.  In some ways, the modern day BMW M3 now occupies the same place in the market that the 3.8 MK2 did.   Based on this, the 3.4 is probably better value as the performance is not dramatically different.     MK2s reached massive values in the 80s and then suffered a big drop, with slow but steady increases over the last couple of years.   There are always plenty of MK2’s to choose from on the market due to the high production rates and generally good survivability.      A number of MK2’s have been modified for classic rallye purposes and are now sporting the 4.2 liter engine from the 420.
It was a 2.4l MK2 that was driven by John Thaw in Inspector Morse.  The photos below show two different red MK 2’s from both ends, highlighting the styling that has made these cars so popular.

The 240 and 340

The original plan was that the MK2 would be replaced by the S-Type, but it was still selling well, so it was continued and sold alongside it.   With the advent of the 420 and the upcoming XJ6 on the horizon, it was repositioned as a cheaper offering, with a reduced price and specification.   The leather trim was deleted, the bumpers simplified, and other changes made that generally cheapened the car to better reflect its position in the Jaguar line up.     These cars sell for a slight discount to a regular MK2.   The 2.4 received the straight port head so performance was a little better.
Officially the 3.8 was withdrawn, reflecting the 240/340’s position in the market, but a handful of 380’s did sneak out the factory gate.

The Daimler V8

In the Early 60’s Jaguar was a company on the up and was looking to expand its production facilities, however the socialist government would only allow expansion into low employment areas, so Jaguar purchased the struggling Daimler company, who had an underutilized factory nearby.   The Daimler company had always appealed to a higher class / old money buyer and had recently introduced the SP250 sportscar with a great little V8 engine.     This engine was tested in the MK2 body shell and a new model was born.    The 2.5 Liter V8 as it was originally called was slightly more upmarketly trimmed and equipped than an equivalent Jaguar (the 2.4), and the 2.5l V8 offered significantly better performance than the 2.4 liter XK, although not to the level of the 3.4 or 3.8.     Based on its buyer type the car was originally only offered with an automatic transmission, but in later years a manual was also offered, albeit in small numbers.     The body also featured the ‘fluted’ Daimler grille, hubcaps etc.
The Daimler V8 was produced all the way through when the Daimler versions of the XJ6 were introduced in 1969 and it offers one of the best value ways of getting into a ‘MK2’ – with a much better engine than the 2.4 liter unit.

Jaguar S-Type

The S-Type was a further evolution of the MK2 and in some ways could be thought of as a MK 3 model.   It provided a step up in luxury and refinement over the MK2 with the independent rear suspension from the E-Type and MK X, an improved interior based on the MK X including better ventilation, more boot space and rear passenger space and so on.   Originally planned to replace the MK 2, in the end it was sold alongside it as a slightly more expensive option.
Many collectors do not appreciate the rear end styling changes of the S-Type, and feel the long boot and flattened roofline are not in keeping with the front of the car, which was very similar to the MK 2 (the most obvious change being the eyebrows over the headlights).     However, styling aside, with the independent rear suspension and better interior, the  S-Type is probably the better car.    Regardless of this, market values are Significantly lower than for a MK2 primarily because collectors find the MK2 the definitive compact Saloon.
The S-Type was also the first in a long line of Jaguars with twin rear fuel tanks.      At least in Australia, many S-Types were sold with an automatic transmission.   There was never a Daimler version of the S-Type.

The 420 & Daimler Sovereign

The 420 was the last and most powerful of the Compact Saloons before they were replaced by the XJ6.   It builds off the S-Type, so again it can be thought of in some ways as a ‘MK 4’ (not to be confused with the MK IV) – now the front of the car has been restyled to resemble the much larger MK X and complete the job that was started with the rear end restyle of the S-Type.     It also took the 4.2 liter engine from the MK X with a dual carburettor set up.

For the Daimler Sovereign, the car was simply a 420 with Daimler badging and some upgraded trim.   The specific engine as was found in the 250-V8 was gone and the 4.2 XK unit was found same as on the 420.    It would have been interesting if Jaguar had considered using Daimler’s 4.5 V8, but for such a low production model it wouldn’t have made sense cost wise.

Optional on the 420 and standard on the Sovereign was variable rate power steering, and as a derivate of the S-Type both cars came equipped with independent rear suspension.

The 420 has largely been forgotten about and is quite inexpensive compared to the MK 2.   Sadly, many 420’s ended up as engine donors for MK 2’s and even E-Types and while this model was never common, survivors are not plentiful.     Note the 420 should not be confused with the 420G, which was the new name for the MK X.



The Jaguar compact saloons are a very attainable classic car with models to suit a variety of tastes and budgets.   Parts supply is good and the cars are practical and can keep up with modern traffic.   Many have been been given minor modifications to allow them to continue to be used as daily drivers – uprated radiators, air conditioning, electric ignition etc.     Some people find the S-Type ungainly but many disagree and this keeps prices more reasonable.

Ad of the week: 300SL Velvet Glove or Male Fist

This is a great ad for the 300SL roadster.  It would probably be seen as Sexist today but it tries to cover the softer personality of the 300SL in roadster form but still the maintenance of the Gullwing’s performance.     The Velvet Glove or Male Fist caption and some of the wording in the ad invokes powerful imagery.    Unlike most of the bland ads you see today – one is great.

Mercedes 300SL Velvet Glove Male Fist

Favorites of the 2016 British Car Show

The British car show has such a selection of cars that its hard to pick favorites, but these represent the standout cars for me on the day.

Healey Elliott

I found this to be a really striking car and not one I had seen before.   Apparently it has the 2.5 liter Riley engine and was capable of 100mph, quite a feat at the time for a four seat car.

Healey Elliott

Bentley S2 Continental

These cars are incredibly rare and valuable, so not a car I aspire to own due to the cost, but I think the pick of the post war Bentleys in terms of style, and in my view the best of the RR era Bentleys.   (all the continentals are up there)

B S2

Rolls Royce Phantom I

This car was for sale (I think for $150,000)  was was just full of exquisite details including a horn shaped like a serpent. Considering mass produced Porsche 911s go for this sort of money, I know which car I prefer.   I’m sure the running costs of the RR are just a little higher but you’re not driving around in a piece of history in a 911.


  Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe

This car is from 1953 and really shows off the attractive XK120 design.   Unfortunately it was hit in the front last week, but I am sure it will be repaired soon.


Jaguar E-Type Series 1

As an owner, perhaps I am biased, but I do think the original E-Type was a very striking piece of design and an amazing car for its time.   Both the Fixed Head an Open top cars are great and the 3.8 and 4.2 models both have their strengths.

Jag E-Type

Bentley S3 Continental

I find this design striking, and its one of my favorite cars at the various British car shows.    Not quite to the stratosphere in terms of value like the S1 and S2, but still a rare and valuable car.    I’ve seen VN-020 at a number of shows over the years and still every time I find myself going over and taking a closer look.   The owner of this car must have good taste as there was an other car standing to the left of it with VN-xxx number plates.    I believe that this was a Park Ward design, and the designer was of Scandinavian origin.


Jaguar XK140 FHC

The current desire for car collectors is buying cars with Patina rather than those that are restored and this XK140 is a good example of that.   Maybe a bit too much Patina for me, but still a lovely car and I find the Xk140 coupe a good mix of practicality with the XK120 style.


Jaguar MK 2 3.8

Its hard to see from the picture, but this MK2 had such striking blue paint that really showed off the shape well.  In a world where modern cars are in monochrome, its lovely to see a car like this.   I’m also partial to the MK2 style.  I prefer the regular wheels, but other than that I like this car.


Rolls Royce 20/25

I think this is a handsome car and the paint scheme really sets it off well.


Rover P5B Coupe

perhaps not a car beloved by collectors, but I find the P5 and P5B Coupe models rather elegant and this restored example is a good representation of the car.


2016 British Car Show

In my view, the British car show is probably the pick of the Sydney car shows each year.   It might not be as big as the Eastern Creek show, but it has a broader range of really interesting cars, and there is always something new you’ve never seen before.   This year the new one for me was a 1948 Healey Elliott.  Quite a striking shape and not a car I had ever seen before.   Donald Healey is always associated with the Austin-Healey but had a number of other ventures throughout the years.

For the first time, I brought my E-Type and put it on display.  I did not put it in for judging as judging in the Jaguar club is very hot competition!

This year, in my view the best display probably went to the Jaguar’s in terms of coverage of their model range and interesting cars.    As usual, a good selection of E-Types, MK2s, XKs etc.   Surprisingly, there was a whole row of MK2s, even a couple of MK1s, but only one S-Type.    I always think the S-Type gets a bit of a bad rap and find it quite a handsome car.     Also no MK X, which again is a car that is somewhat under-loved.     It also seems, at least in Sydney that there are good number of XK120’s and XK150s, but you rarely see a 140.

For other cars, as usual the Rolls Royce club had a nice display of cars, and the pre-war cars are always interesting, especially a Phantom I and a 20/25.   There are also always plenty of the old British favorites, MGBs, Minis, Frog-Eye sprites etc.  As well as those more common ones, you could also see fire trucks, stationary engines, buses etc.

All in all a good display and well worth it.   The 2015 photos can be found here.  My favorite cars from the day can also be found here.

Ad of the week: Pennzoil Jaguar

This weeks Ad is a Pennzoil ad that ties their engine oil to the high performance XK engine and its over inflated performance specs.   Still the ad had a great cutaway of the engine and the triple carburettor setup.

Jaguar XKE Engine Pennzoil

Traction engine troubleshooting

Today I started troubleshooting a potential engine issue in my Traction Avant.   When the engine is hot, it will sometimes smoke out of the valve cover and there is a single pulse of black exhaust like it is being caused by one cylinder.

My first test was to check the compression of the engine, quite easy on a traction engine as the spark plugs are easily accessible and there is a starter button in the engine compartment.

I found that #1, #3 and #4 had compression of 90PSI but #2 only had about 65PSI compression.    On a well running engine they should be similar.


Next step was to do a wet test.  This is done by squirting some oil into each cylinder, and if the compression comes back up you know the problem is likely with the rings as the extra oil helps worn or damaged rings seal against the cylinder wall better.

In my case the reading hardly changed, so as I expected the problem is with a valve not closing properly.   My theory is that one of the exhaust valves is not sealing.      Next step will be to check the valve clearances.