cdowd Dork
9/5/18 1:09 p.m.

I haven't driven our old cars for a few weeks.  So last night I went out with a friend and cleaned and drove our old Jaguar and Alfa. 

cdowd Dork
9/5/18 1:09 p.m.

nderwater UltimaDork
9/5/18 1:15 p.m.

Wow those are super clean. Nice! What are they like to drive?

Ransom PowerDork
9/5/18 2:37 p.m.

Those are gorgeous. And I have the same question!

cdowd Dork
9/5/18 2:57 p.m.

The Alfa drives like a modern car with good synchros and a 5-speed.  It has konis on the 4 corners, and disk brakes.  It handles great but is not fast by modern standards. 


The Jaguar is quite fast.  They were the fastest car in the world in 1948.  This one has a more powerful engine out of a 1959 MkX.  It has 4 wheel drum brakes and fast stops are interesting.  It has square gear and requires double clutching.  It has recirculating ball steering box that i would say is vauge.  It will rip down the highway at 100 and makes wonderful noise while doing so.  I would be happy to address any particular aspects if you want more detail.

Kramer Dork
9/5/18 6:51 p.m.

It's funny how huge the license plates look in relation to the cars!  

I appreciate restomods, but there is something special about driving old cars.  I enjoy slowly cruising in my dad's 1948 International KB6 fire truck, or floating along in his concours 1976 Cadillac convertible.  The driving experience, which is spectacular, kinda sucks, which makes it awesome.  

My dad has taken his 1930 Chevrolet Sedan Deluxe on an 800 mile, week-long vacation.  He said it was exhausting, but wonderful.  

Without experiencing the old cars, we don't appreciate what we have now.  

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
9/5/18 7:12 p.m.
Kramer said:

My dad has taken his 1930 Chevrolet Sedan Deluxe on an 800 mile, week-long vacation.  He said it was exhausting, but wonderful.  

The funny thing is in 1930 no one knew any better, so they just got in the car and went places.  smiley  Having said that, from a modern perspective if you wanted to take a trip in a bone stock old car you'd probably want something at least from 1940 or newer.  They would have more power, better brakes and a better ride.

My oldest car is a '61 Pontiac, but I do think about getting something older some day.  I have a pretty comprehensive list of the cars my dad owned, starting with a Model T he had as a high school senior back on 1929...there's a few of them I wouldn't mind having today, like the 32 Ford Tudor he had before he married my mother (of course, back then it was just an old used car.)


wspohn Dork
9/6/18 2:42 p.m.

Love the shape of the Jag, just never cottoned onto the long rigid steering column pointed right at your chest so that in an accident you becone the 'shish-ka-boob.

Tom1200 HalfDork
9/6/18 9:16 p.m.

All I can say is WOW, two really gorgeous cars in one garage.

dculberson UltimaDork
9/6/18 10:23 p.m.
stuart in mn said:

The funny thing is in 1930 no one knew any better, so they just got in the car and went places.  smiley 


True, BUT they went places slower than we do now and didn't go as far. My dad went cross country in the 50s and it was an enormous undertaking and he had all these stories about it and how sick and beatup they felt when they got to California. I went cross country in a $500 Prelude and we partied the night we got there. So they suffered from their cars just like we suffer trying to drive them now!

I am thinking my 1970 Ford truck needs to take me on a long trip some time.

Run_Away Dork
9/6/18 10:42 p.m.


A couple questions about the Jag. Does it have a top? If yes, is there a way to open the doors from the outside?

What is the rectangle popped out on the side, footwell vents?

spandak Reader
9/7/18 5:10 p.m.

Beautiful cars, my wife and I have a thing for old Jags. Thanks for sharing!

Vigo UltimaDork
9/8/18 2:41 p.m.

The driving experience, which is spectacular, kinda sucks, which makes it awesome.  

I so get this. laugh 

cdowd Dork
9/9/18 5:40 p.m.

In reply to Run_Away :

It has a top, but i don't have it installed.  much easier to get to the batteries without it.  There would be side curtains installed with the top that would allow access to the door pulls so no access from outside the doors..  I don't know how secure they would be.  The rectangle popped out is a vent that the driver and passenger can open for fresh air to come in the cockpit.

frenchyd SuperDork
9/9/18 6:53 p.m.

In reply to cdowd :I lust after your Jag. In the late 60’s I owned an XK140 SE roadster.

That meant it had the C type head good for 210 horsepower   ( the 120 had 160 ) instead of the 1&3/4 SU’s it had 2 Two inch sand cast SU’s and dual exhaust.  

Unlike the 120 they moved the engine forward a bit so men with normal length legs would fit inside. It also had rack and pinion steering  and 16 inch 60 spoke chrome wire wheels.   

But I always preferred the looks of the 120 over the 140 and with the engine further back in the 120 the car handled better.  

The first batch was all aluminum over wooden frames later ones had a steel body but aluminum doors hood and trunk lid. 

The sound of a early Jaguar is perfect!  Even though the handling felt more like a Chris Craft motor boat at speed it still rode pretty nice and with the most glorious sound makes your day any time you take it for a drive


frenchyd SuperDork
9/9/18 7:01 p.m.
Run_Away said:


A couple questions about the Jag. Does it have a top? If yes, is there a way to open the doors from the outside?

What is the rectangle popped out on the side, footwell vents?

Yes they came with a top, yes you can still get in one with the top up. The side curtains flip up from the bottom and you reach in and there is a cord you push down on to open the doors. 

The rectangle box is air conditioning for your left little toe.  Well, on a cool night it might cool both of your feet.  

You cant possibly imagine how glorious it is to ride in a early Jaguar!  The sound, the ride, the speed! Today they sell north of $150,000 for a nice driver and they are well worth every penny.  Only the Series1 XKE HAS A STRONGER MARKET. 

cdowd Dork
9/9/18 9:16 p.m.

This one has the mk9 or I believe the same motor as a 150.  It has around stock of 220 hp.  I have the original but both needed to be redone so why not go for more hp  and keep the other.  I had a broker look at the jag and he offered 75k and I passed.

cdowd Dork
9/9/18 9:21 p.m.

That is me after my wedding in that car over 20 years ago

frenchyd SuperDork
9/10/18 2:10 a.m.

In reply to cdowd :

Using the 3.8 mk 9 engine is exactly what I’d do given the choice, but it does hurt the value because too many people have read that originality means more than performance.   

When I raced my XK150 in SCCA D PRODUCTION CLASS  one of the people I raced had a  XK120  with the rack and pinion steering of XK 140 and Disk Brakes of the  XK 150 ( allowed under the SCCA rules). He. (Hap Richardson) also ran with the 3.8 E type engine like I had.  Even though I made about 30 more horsepower than he did ( because I used 13-1 compression pistons running on 115/145 aviation  gasoline. He beat me regularly because his engine sat back further and allowed him faster cornering speed. ( better balance) 

I’d go storming by him on the straightaway and with more weight on my front tires push up (understeering on corner entry)  while he’d smile and wave at me going under me with his better balance. 

Then one morning practice session  we agreed to swap cars and the light came on.  

The broker offered you about 1/2 of market value because he knew he could sell it at a profit and assumed you wouldn’t want the hassle. To find someone willing to step up to the plate and pay market is a hassle but from appearance your’s is clearly worth it especially if you still have the original engine to sweeten the deal.  

I’m glad you haven’t because the pleasure of owning something like that must be way better than having a fatter bank account. 

frenchyd SuperDork
9/10/18 2:19 a.m.

In reply to cdowd : very nice  aren’t all those memories wonderful?  


frenchyd SuperDork
9/10/18 3:35 a.m.

In reply to cdowd :

Driving a MGTD . 

I’ve owned it since I was 14, learned to drive it in the driveway. If I shifted into 2nd  gear I could  get to 3500 before I  had to dive bomb the brakes to avoid hitting the back wall of the garage.  

It also taught me how to replace the engine when my dad threw a connecting rod through the block 38 miles after buying it for me.  But you want to know what they are like to drive.  

Well they are easy to get in. Just like a pair of tight pants you put your legs  in the car one at a time. The second leg requires a bit of bending stretching and squirming around but once on, er in. You feel at home.  The steering wheel is thin and pretty flexible. it’s designed that way since it’s built with thin spokes  clamped together. 

A note about my, er build?!? 

I have short legs. The result of an early childhood broken leg.  In my youth I was thin but long waisted. Sitting on a chair I looked my 6 foot father in the eye but with my 28 inch inseam I’m only average height.  My father with his 32 inch inseam also fit but barely. 

At age 70 I’m overweight, nearly 100 pounds.   The result of long hours on the road selling, only taking brief moments to grab 3 fast food meals a day. I still fit comfortably in the car.  Although older women with wider hips can’t fit as well.  

The windshield folds down and you look over it driving but glasses are required, and they say eating bugs is pure protein.  But June bugs hurt like hel- well you know. 

The ride is surprisingly comfortable. Maybe because my fat stomach compresses the springs enough to make them compliant, maybe because I assembled the springs using anti-seize  between the leafs so they actually work as intended.  

As you can imagine starting is different. Normal way is to flick on the ignition switch pull out the choke according to the weather and how recently the car was last run. As soon as you turned it on the fuel pump started thunking.  Telling me things were working as they should.  By the time the choke is set the fuel pump has filled up the carb bowls the fuel pump stops thunking and it’s time to pull the starter knob.  Almost as soon as it makes contact the engine bursts into life.  You go from starter to choke pushing it about half way home , pausing for 15-30 seconds and then  shove it fully in as oil pressure climbs. 

No need to rush at this point,  let the oil flow around to the places it needs to be.  I generally let it have a minute if it’s been driven in the last 24 hours more if longer.  

This is special, don’t rush it, this is all part of the journey.  There is time for a little mechanical sympathy. It’s an old friend you’ve had most of your life.  Loyalty like that warrants a friendly treatment. 

The fun part is hand starting it. I do that to show off. Go to the grocery store and return putting the bags behind the seat. It will hold about 4. You’ve got to unsnap the lift-a-dots to  remove the tonneau cover. Put in the bags and then un-clip the hand crank. As you walk forward stick the key in and flick it on nice and casual. Walking around front you bend over and with one smooth move you thread the crank through the front bumper, into the grill until it connects to the ears on the crankshaft twisting as it does. Depending on where the engine stopped it might be right in place to start or require a slight turn until you feel the piston come up on compression. Now you carefully fold your thumb under the handle in case it back fires.  I don’t know why just something the said back in the Ford Model T days and well habits are hard to get out of but this is a loyal old friend. He’d never do anything as rude as that. 

Anyway a sharp tug upwards on the handle and it’s running. No muss no fuss.  Showing off because they can’t do this!  The they, soccer moms with their SUV’s. Accountants with big 4wheel drive pickups that are never used off road or worked like a truck should be.  

That smile on your face will be there all day and you’ll actually have sore check muscles by the end of the day. Oh, I’ve squeezed up to 30 mpg but a car like this is about smiles not gallons per mile. When is the last time just driving, ordinary driving caused you to smile so much your cheeks hurt? 

 Sitting in the car the cut away doors, allow you to reach down and touch the road.  The definition of open air motoring.  Oh I can put the top on( I keep it in the garage because this is a toy you play with on nice days). .  Top and side curtains are used for rainy days but why expose the car to that?  

Normal driving I use about 3500 rpm as my shift point. That’s about 45 mph in high gear. Top speed is barely over 70 mph and not fun.  So you stay off interstates.  However aside from  the screaming engine, dealing with people looking and starring, some so much they wander in your lane.  Sometimes  trying to shout about their father or grandfather having one of those. 

First gear has no syncro , so you pull the transmission into 2nd gear before shoving up into 1st with a thunk. That’s the sound you want to hear as you downshift into first gear when rolling but it really takes a deft hand to do. Most will simply grind gears instead of carefully matching rpm with speed.  Hint, the car will actually let you know when to downshift if you listen. 

Admittedly few have that sensitivity but once acquired you can feel real pride. I won’t admit how many times I rebuilt the transmission to learn to feel that moment.  

Even today if it’s been a while I leave it in neutral coast to a stop then pull it back into 2nd  before putting it in first.  Mostly because gearbox parts are insanely expensive and all my first motion shafts are pretty badly worn. I’ve  given up on finding good cases. I can understand why so many have switched to Ford 5 speed gearboxes.   

Mine is modified. I want it to reflect my image of a proper sports car and a real sports car has wire wheels flashing in the sunlight.  The change is rather easy since the suspension in a MGTD is similar to the MGTF, MGA, & MGB.  ( also the Y type sedan)  You take what parts you want from some rusty hulk and clean them up to get whatever you wish.  I grabbed the wire wheels and rear end  (3.90 instead  of the 5.14) from a MGA, the front sway bar from a MGB / GT because of its diameter.  I was tempted to put the MGB motor in but left the TD motor in so I could race with other TDs 

The engine is pretty close to stock just reflecting the decades of use. Overbored .100 over stock with only another .040 left before sleeves are called for it has the slightly higher compression positions that probably give a 8.8-1 compression instead of the earlier 7.6-1 but not quite up to the 9-1 compression of the 1500 since it’s the TDC. 11. engine it does have the larger valves and ports of the later head  plus the 1&1/2 SUs instead of the earlier 1&1/4.  An estimate of horsepower puts it nearer the 63 of a TF1500 than the 54 of the earlier TD/ TC while the camshaft is a Crower regrind it was supposed to duplicate the original.  

Handling is nice with light steering and a nimble feel. Surprising since the design is over 70 years old.  It’s sporty rather than luxurious but still comfortable.  What wears the most over the miles is the noise and wind buffeting.  So at my age (70) a few hours is all I like before calling a break. 

wspohn Dork
9/11/18 2:42 p.m.

 I grabbed the wire wheels and rear end  (3.90 instead  of the 5.14) from a MGA

Actually, the MGA diffs were only 4.3 and in the Mk 2, a 4.1, so you had an MGB diff (3.9) as well as the sway bar.

The MGTD had an 8/41 pinion and crown, so you'd have had a stock 5.125 rather than 5.14.  OK for a stock TD but too low for much else, although I ran one in my TVR race car for hill climbs. Topped out at around 90 mph, but got there very, very quickly.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/11/18 3:07 p.m.

I just got back from the Watkins Glen Vintage Festival where Jaguar was the featured marque.  Dozens of Jags along with a handful of 120's, 140's and 150's. 

My ex' was the pace car driver in a friend's XK150 FHC.  She had a grand time.

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wspohn Dork
9/16/18 2:23 p.m.

I had an XK150 coupe with all synch OD trans and 15" E type wheels.  A good combo.  Always liked the body style.

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