Spotting what I thought to be a bargain I acquired the car in August 1994 as a road going wreck from a garage in Chelsea. It had been advertised as an uprated Jaguar with lots of potential - I should have known better but went on to do a deal and came home (just) with car . I hadn’t realised that all of the brake calipers were leaking and just made it back before the brake pedal hit the floor - better that hitting a lamppost however.
I set about rescuing the old girl from the clutches of the local breaker’s yard and went on to spend many happy (!) hours burning the midnight oil to bring her back to something approaching normality.
My wife was heard to say: ‘Has anyone seen my husband? There is some strange bloke in the garage who spends all hours under an old car but I don’t think that’s him’.
Moving on, the previous owner had replaced the original engine with a 3.8 unit from a burnt out Jaguar S type saloon he owned and I rebuilt this in 2005 as it was showing definite signs of wear & tear, as well as burning a lot of oil due to worn pistons and bores plus the odd rattle or two.
Once you get the bug it can be difficult to stop so wire wheels quickly replaced the modest steel wheels and with spinners flashing, new red leather upholstery, repolished wood (all 27 pieces completed over one Christmas period), a new
limited slip wide rear axle, an uprated servo and beefed up front suspension soon followed plus a visit to my friendly bank manager with a plea of poverty to help keep the funds flowing.
The car is very popular for weddings in the Sussex, Surrey and Kent regions (www.agclassicweddingcars.co.uk), much admired and photographed.
‘My dad had one of those’ is the frequent comment when filling with petrol, and an offer to buy her on the spot is not uncommon.
The work goes on with recently rebuilt front suspension, new tyres, wire wheels, brakes and prop shaft.
And now fame has smothered the black beauty with national exposure in the press and a starring role in Endeavour Morse.
Latest successes include:
Voted Best Private Wedding Car Company
South East England 2017
LUX online global luxury magazine
Model: Mark I
Engine: 3.8 litre
Reg. No: UFF 325
Date of Reg: July 1959
Odometer: 40,500 miles
M.O.T: August 2013
Colour: Black with red leather
All text and pictures copywrite of Anthony Gilsenan. Not to be reproduced without permission.