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Behind the garage door: XJS Jag restoration

12 December, 2018

When an ‘oops’ needs serious attention

Not all Behind The Garage Door projects are major, body-off-type restorations. Sometimes a small accident is just as annoying as something major. If your classic car has already undergone a major restoration or has never needed one because it is already in pristine condition, a minor-damage accident is not something to be taken in a minor way.

Ace Panel and Paint in Whitianga has just such a situation to deal with now. The pictured XJS has only done 22,000km, and, recently, the owner managed to run into the back of another XJS on an outing. A touch embarrassing to say the least.

The car has needed bonnet, headlight, and other front-end repairs. Repairing that and getting everything to align again is not a job for someone who doesn’t understand the concept of repairing rather than just replacing parts. Getting everything back into line and making the repaired car look as good as a new car takes time, often more time than a small and specialist panel shop can charge for.

Bruce Hayes, of Ace Panel and Paint, says that, on a job like this, when an insurance company would be looking to, “just bolt the parts on”, he would rather take the time to sit down and do it carefully, using the correct parts. He enjoys doing it and enjoys the challenge of repairing rather than replacing, and says that frequently he’ll have spent more time than he can charge for, simply because he wants the repair to be faultless. Fortunate the owner of this XJS then.

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.