The Fake Jaguar Thread

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Ulu

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Over two years ago, I bought this Fiberglass kit car.
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It belonged to a car dealer back east who had it in his collection for a long time and it never was driven.
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The gauges look beautiful and showed under 400 miles.
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Consequently the body is all very nice with almost no cracks at all & little more than minor cosmetic damage anywhere.
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I am in the middle of a total resto-vation, and I’ve had this car together and apart twice now. It was a completely drivable car when I recieved it, but there were some horrible things wrong that I will discuss later.

For now I wanted to start this thread, as I have started working on this car again.

When I bought it I worked on it as much as I had to immediately and then, it sat for about a year.

When I got back to it, I rewired the thing from stem to stern, reinforced the chassis, added rubber body mounts, straightened out the seat mounting, reinforced the runningboard sub frame by welding in steel tubing, and I patched up the Volkswagen floor pan, nasty fuel, and brake system.

Here you can see only some of the horrible wiring being stripped out. During the shipping gasoline head leaked from an overfilled fuel tank and spoiled all the wiring by melting the colors off. It was a crappy job to begin with and I knew it when I bought the car that it would have to be completely rewired.

Here’s a trivia question:

If you give a monkey an infinite supply of quick taps, how many will he use?
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One on every wire.

Of course this means that every wire will fail in turn. I replaced every wire in the entire car. I soldered all the terminals and they got two layers of heatshrink.

I redesigned the entire loom, both functionally and electrically. Of course no one can drive this car without my instruction, unless they know cars and automotive wiring.

The worst spoilage on the body were the huge holes cut in the firewall (for the huge fuse panel from a ‘73 VW, and the cheap stereo, which I immediately sold.)

There are speaker holes in the tub as well which will have to be dealt with, but they do provide lots of access for assembling and disassembling the body, so I will probably just seal them off with removable panels, and they will be covered by the upholstery. For now you can really hear the engine.

Here you can see me starting to assemble the new miniature marine style fuse panel. This was before I decided to remove every wire from the car and start from scratch.
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… much more to come, but duty calls…
 
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Because of the gasoline spill, all of the upholstery and carpet was damaged, and of course all the glue had melted, and it was loose. That means it all came out easily.

I was able to save the seats & belts, which were well above the gasoline.

When the car was delivered, the driver rolled it off the truck where it had been parked at a steep angle, allowing gasoline to flood the carburetor. It took quite a bit of cranking to start the first time, and when it did it ran strong, but everything smelled like gasoline badly because it was so flooded.

Now I didn’t realize everything that was going on at this point. There was literally gasoline in a puddle under the seat, the first time I drove this car.

There was a puddle of gasoline in the battery box. There was gasoline soaking the main wire loom, making a big gooey mess, right under the gas tank. There was gas in the frame.

Fortunately no gasoline was leaking in the engine compartment.
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Unfortunately there were loose wires under the dash for the wiper switch (which was broken) and the hot lead was very close to touching the steering column. I didn’t realize any of that until later. It cranked and cranked like it was flooded as the devil.

When that car started, I mashed the gas pedal down and dumped the clutch, and raced it around the block and into my garage. A total of 1/3 mile. It was as fast as you might imagine a hopped & lightened Volkswagen would be.

I didn’t drive again for 19 months. The first days of ownership were spent stripping the car to get rid of the gasoline and gasoline smell. I didn’t want my garage to burn down!

Doors came off first thing for access.
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I have put away the project bicycles and tricycle for now, as the weather has turned absolutely perfect.

I am going back to work on the fake Jaguar until I get it back on the road.

Including taxes and shipping I have $12,000 tied up in this thing, not including my own labor, and some parts I bought since I received it. It was pretty shiny. You can almost see my reflection in the boot.

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So what is this car really, and what does it purport to be?

This is a DIY fiberglass kit car, that I purchased assembled and running, as a birthday present to myself three years ago. It is based on a 1973 Volkswagen sedan chassis, lightened and hopped up a little.
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The body was manufactured by the tiny Antique and Classic Automotive of Buffalo New York, in approximately 1980. The purchase order says Feb 1981.
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Although it shares no physical dimensions with the Swallow Sidecars manufacturing company SS100 of the 1930s, it is an imaginary replica based on the design of the car which would once become the first Jaguar. It is in fact, longer, lower lighter and wider than the jaguar, has less horsepower and torque, but more traction, and full independent suspension design.

The old SS100 made do with solid axles and leaf springs, front and rear, little different from my IHC pick up.

When I’m finished with my car it will still only be worth about $12,000. A real Jaguar SS100 would be worth $120,000. This is why I chose the kit. Plus I know how to build Volkswagens and I don’t know how to build Jaguars.

Here it is parked next to a Toyota Camry for scale. It’s quite tiny, even for a two seater.
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At 51 seconds, this is the longest known video of the fake Jaguar. This was taken a year ago around Christmas. The engine is stone cold, so look for the puff of blue smoke when I step on the gas.



Look at the cloth top in this photo and compare the car in the video.
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If you look at the top in the video you can see how it’s become way too tight in one corner. I noticed this had changed after only the second time I drove it. The body alignment had changed because the frame was sagging.

Every time I went over a real bump, the frame sagged a little bit more. It was rusty inside, and the front suspension was set up so stiff that the car was slowly taking itself apart.

Anyhow I have uncovered the chassis and jacked it up and started playing with the various bits that I’m going to use.

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How long it will take, I do not know, but my job now is to repair the frame and weld it all up solid with new steel tubing and various other bits.
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Then, I have to put the body back on and change the tail lights around a bit to suit my fancy. I will probably also change the gas tank.
 
My brave wife takes her first and only ride in this car. December of 2021.
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The engine housing on this car was of course the fuel tank on the original SS 100.
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My fuel tank will be up front with the battery and tools. No spare tire yet.
Being a fiberglass car the wiring harness has ground wires for every bit of electricals.
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That galvanized floor pan was once the back off of a Maytag washing machine.
 
The chassis on which this car was originally assembled was rusty and had maybe been involved in a front impact accident. Fortunately the rust was limited to the front end of the chassis and so I won’t have to replace the whole thing.

There’s a huge amount of draw from the welding when somebody decided that it was easier to spit expensive weld wire out by the mile than buy a little piece of steel angle as a patch. This weld from the tunnel to the floor pan is throwing the chassis off to the left.
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Instead of screwing on an adjustable stop for the clutch pedal, someone welded this flimsy steel angle to the floor and then scabbed the piece of steel plate onto it.
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The story gets more desperate because it was obvious that when they put the pedals back in and got all the cables hooked up, they wouldn’t work.

Now they could’ve taken the pedals back out, and ground off the ugly stop, But it’s a bear to get them in there when the body is on. Those ragged grinder marks on the steel forging which pushes the push rod into the master cylinder are maybe how they solved the problem?

This is what I call automotive forensics or automotive archaeology. Trying to figure out what went on in the car before you bought it.
 
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Here’s another view and you can see that the clutch pedal and the brake pedal both stop against the same piece of metal. I threw some chalk on the scabby thing so you could see it better against the dirty floor pan.

They coordinated the motion by grinding the brake pedal down. Imagine getting in the car to bleed the brakes, and find out that the pedal won’t move enough.

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Anyhow, grinding on the brake pedal would not have been my first inclination in a case like this, but it works. It’s just need some TLC.
 
So I took out the leaky master cylinder and remote reservoir assembly and plugged off all the brake lines with rubber caps. I rerouted the brake line over the top of the tunnel temporarily.
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There’s the brake line, to the rear brakes , up on top of the tunnel. This was laid on the floor and went around the Volkswagen pedal group in a big loop, under the carpet. :eek:mg:
The VW pedal group
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I am going to run the line inside of the tunnel, but for now it is out from under the carpet/my feet.
 
Here I show some big chunks of VW floor pan that I cut off, because they stuck out underneath the fiberglass fenders and you could see them. I put on the baby blue paint so I could mark where to cut them.
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I cut these off before I got the car registered, and then pulled the body off for the second time.
The shiny galvanized bit lying in the front floor pan was once the back of my old Maytag.
 
This car looks terrific in the photographs when it’s all put together, but here is a real life example of how badly it was put together. This is why the car was only driven 400 miles since 1981.

The rear body of the car was too far forward and they had tried to shim it up little bit. They could’ve shimmed up another inch, because the body was literally sitting on the muffler.
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The muffler wore a notch thru the fiberglass. This occurs at the rear facia of the car, and inside that facia is glued half of a cardboard mailing tube covered with fiberglass, which creates a reinforcing rib along the entire length of the facia.

I removed the interfering fiberglass rib and the cardboard inside it until I had good clearance for the muffler. I also moved the whole body rearward just slightly, and removed the unnecessary shims.
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All the cardboard is gone but I left some fiberglass ribs as reinforcement and I will clean this up in the future and improve it. You can see it easily now because I have the body off the car, and it is sitting up on a cart.

At some point that cardboard mailing tube had been on fire. It was blackened to charcoal and part of it was completely gone.

Is this evidence of a fire extinguisher job to the muffler or just burnt barbecue paint?
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This is the muffler at the back of the engine. I circled the shiny area where the rib was rubbing on the muffler.

In addition the seam, on the end had worn completely through. But you can see where it had burned the most was right in the middle of the muffler where there is a scorch mark inside the fiberglass. I removed that fiberglass and cardboard by hand, with a bare hacksaw blade, while the car was sitting on the muffler.
 
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Another prime example of automotive ineptitude. This kit came with a complete and brand new wiring loom and they just let it lay on the Rotating axle shafts!

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I removed the Volkswagen heater boxes, which have internal cast heat exchangers, (and they weigh a lot.) I recycled them at the local Volkswagen junk yard. I put some simple J shaped exhaust tubes on to replace them.

I built this little cart so I could take the engine in and out.
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Engine à la carte!
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There you can see the shiny black J tubes that replace those heavy heater boxes.
 
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Essentially, You drive this car from the backseat.

When the pedals were moved rearward, the control cables need to be shortened. You can see a big loop in the clutch cable.
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I cut that loop out because it was totally unnecessary. Maybe they didn’t have anything that would cut that german piano wire? I zipped through it with a Dremel.

All the wires are now loomed up to the fiberglass body, instead of being draped across the axle!

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Good on ya ULU, I rekon the car looks absolutely awesome, well done on pulling the thing apart to that extent, The humble VW has an aweful lotr to answer for in regards to home mechanics LOL, they were and still are a great machine.
 
After the model T finished, it was the next great car. I think the Ford model T production topped out at 19 million but VW produced even more bugs. It’s a crazy story how some crazy British airmen decided to rescue the crazy factory of a crazy car that nobody else really wanted.

I believe Nobody wanted this one, once they took a good look underneath of it. That’s what I suspect.

I was fortunate that I didn’t look too closely before I bought it.

More incompetence, or maybe just lack of time: When the seat and petals were moved rearward so was the stick shift.

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The parking brake, however, was not moved, and remains in the original location. Imagine working the parking break from the backseat.

Needless to say it is highly inconvenient in case of emergency so I am going to alter this.

But you sit much lower in this car, So if I simply move the lever rearward it will be difficult to operate. I want to make this brake lever point up, With a lever release instead of the push button.
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The photograph above has some weird perspective because it was shot with a zoom and then cropped from a corner.

It makes the legs of my cart look bent.

They are perfectly straight & parallel and this is all a fisheye lens effect.
 
All the wheels are off and I decided to bring the rear suspension up a notch.
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To adjust the rear suspension you must remove the shock absorber and snubber, lift the swing arm, and clamp it all the way up.

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To remove the rubber bushing and bushing housing you have to clean all the dirt, paint and tar from the torsion arm extension housing Once I wire brushed it with the mighty Milwaukee, it came apart with relative ease.
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That was misleading. :(

What I should’ve said is: the cover plate (or outer bushing housing, such as it is) came off with relative ease.

So far the spring plate and torsion bar did not come off at all and appears to be rusted in place. It works fine, and the rubber bushings are still intact and don’t need to be replaced yet, but I don’t really know how much rust is inside the torsion tube.

And if it doesn’t come off, I can’t make the suspension adjustment at all.
 
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Well I decided to hold off on the suspension adjustments a little bit and work on the framing.

I’ve got six tubular struts on the back of the car now but I have to rearrange the longest ones a little bit.
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They need to be on the bottom of the square tube along with the other braces. Otherwise there’s a big twisting force on that square tube. I thought it would resolve easily but it does not. The whole arrangement is still a little bit springy when I sit on the bumper.
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I’m only gonna have to shorten the two longest braces and move them down. Then all the forces will resolve in the bottom plane of the square tube, and I won’t have any torsion on it to speak of.
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If that’s not clear don’t worry. I will post another photo.
 
Before these modifications, they were only two struts and they were arranged to attach to the shock towers.
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This was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, not the least of which that the axles would smack into the struts under full power. You can see where the axle dug a groove in the strut on two different burnouts.
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The long struts (or braces) are shortened slighty and rearranged now, and all forces are resolved at the bottom plane of the square tube.

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I have removed the U-bolts, clamps and angle brackets from the rear torsion bar tubes. I am going to weld up a special bracket for this attachment, but it will still use U-bolts.

I did not take a photograph of the current bracketry before I disassembled it, but the red arrow here indicates where the U-bolts go around the torsion tube.

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