After we had had a little play with the car and discovered that it wouldn't run I decided to let it slumber until the XK 140 was back on the road. However, as events turned out that isn't what happened.
It became necessary to sell the house and with it my garage and workshop. This left me with the quite tricky problem of what to do with the cars. If you happen to have read the story of the XK restoration you will already know that Mike Moore of Broomstick Cars agreed to take both cars. I seriously contemplated selling the E Type as it was a complete car and could have been someone else's restoration project. In the end I asked Mike to cost out a very basic repair to get the car through its MoT so that at least it was a runner and could be driven. I told Mike that I didn't care how ugly it looked as long as it was legal to use. This, of course is complete rubbish because once you start to do anything to a car like an E Type you can't fail to care how it looks.
Mike trailered the car back to his workshop and a few weeks later came back to me with a rough costing having had a reasonable look over it. He made the stipulation that the figures he had given me were provisional and depended not only on what was found once the work started but also on the understanding that it didn't include any work on the engine. At this stage we still hoped that he would be able to get it running without any problem.
So I made the decision to ask him to start work and we agreed that the first task was to get the engine running. This was where the plan went immediately wrong as within a few days I was informed that they couldn't get it to run and that it was suffering from lack of compression on at least two cylinders.
Looking back on, this was the point where I should have baled out and just sold the car as a non-runner. But we thought that the problem might only be stuck rings so we persevered by pouring freeing oil through the spark plug holes and then we waited a week to see if there had been any improvement.
There hadn't been any so Phil, one of Mike's mechanics who very sadly is no longer with us, said that we'd have to take off the cylinder head and have a look. It was suggested that one of the pistons might be holed or there could be broken rings. So, the head came off and we were not all that much the wiser.
I said that I would take the head away and overhaul it myself and it was also obvious that the carburettors needed a complete rebuild. At this stage my plan was to pop the refurbished head back on having fitted an overhaul kit to the carburettors (which incidentally, still had their original green tags) and then to see if the engine would run. Phil wasn't having any of this and said that it would be ridiculous to waste time when we should remove the pistons to check for broken rings. The bores looked in pretty good condition without any noticeable top ridge and measured up OK. They certainly needed deglazing but I couldn't see any evidence of scoring that might indicate ring trouble.
However, Phil was insistent that we couldn't rely on that and it was clear he wanted to do the job properly by removing the engine and rebuilding it. I remember being annoyed with him at the time because I thought this was an unnecessary waste of money. But it turned out that he was absolutely right.
Jaguar E Type Restoration