A Mostly British Obsession

First Drive in E-Type: Short But Eventful

I figured it was time to try the E-Type on the road: I’d sit on a cushion, wear sunglasses in lieu of a windshield, and use some trailer lights as temporary brake lights–what could go wrong? The machine has run successfully in the shop, and the addition of a NOS voltage regulator has it charging as expected. Should be a piece of cake, right?


The positive is that it handled fine (given limited cornering) and the engine seems quite nice. Plus it’s the first time I’ve ever driven this car, which I’ve owned almost 20 years.


The minus is that it doesn’t have third or fourth gear (!) and that it overheated. The timing is spot on and the carb mixtures are very close to dead on. I suspect the thermostat isn’t opening–which would be about par for the course with the repro pieces that have gone on this car. Speaking of which, here is something which is beyond words:


Those are my brand new exhaust manifolds from XKs. This is four miles from home, max revs 3000 rpm. Note that I also followed their instructions on bedding these in when the car was in the shop. This is pretty amazing and awful.


Above is back home, total of nine miles on the manifolds, no water, no revs above 3000 RPM, carb mixture is pretty darn close, definitely not ultra-lean.

Le sigh. In any case, I’m now back out to the shop to pop the top off the gearbox and see if there is a visible reason why it won’t go into third or fourth…and to contemplate putting the 50+ year old thermostat back into the car because at least it stands a chance of working. Argh.



  1. LLoyd

    It looks good so far, Roger. I’m wondering how well the O.P sender is working.
    Worst looking exhaust headers I’ve ever seen…. be interestinto know if xku will do anything about them.

  2. Nick

    Great panel gaps and contours! Beautiful!

  3. pauls

    Congrats Roger! Don’t like the overheating bit, you’ve got the fettling to do. So I guess it still holds that nobody is coating the manifolds with a reliable glossy coating yet.

  4. Kevin Bin Laden

    “These are the times that try men’s souls.”-Thomas Paine. Crazy frustrating to be sure. You’ll get it sorted, but a few stiff drinks are a logical recourse at this point.

  5. John S

    That would drive me hopping mad !. I sandblasted mine inside and out and coated them with high heat ceramic paint them baked them as per powercoating.
    I would email XK that photo.

  6. jeff groves

    sorry about your problems, particularly the gearbox {!}… but does the windscreen washer work ?? I mean, I’ve got to keep my priorities in focus here!.. onward! oh, and there is a special place in hell for the people at XK’s, but you know that already… J.

  7. Patrick Forestell

    TV’s Wheeler-Dealers “ED” suggested pricey waterless radiator fluid as it has a higher boiling temp. My 4.2 eng is still at the machine shop. When I get it back I might go that route. However, no water can be in system so water-less fluid only works with engine rebuild and dry engine (of course).

  8. Michael Creek

    Hi, I just stumbled on your web site. I noticed your exhaust manifolds. In the late 70s I went through a 1957 XK-140 Roadster. I believe the exhaust manifolds were porcelain coated from the factory. I took my exhaust manifolds to Pioneer Porcelainizing in Seattle. They came back in black porcelain and they looked like new. The problem with the exhaust from the factory in the E-Types is the rain water (or car wash water) getting in the engine compartment through the louvers and landing on hot exhaust manifolds. This caused the porcelain surface to crack and look terrible. So, if you go this route, don’t let water get on them when they are hot.
    Your car is beautiful. Back in the mid 80s I used to own a 1961 E-Type Roadster as well. It was serial #875003. It was not running with a serious rust issue in the floors below the seats. Being young and starting a family, I ended up selling it to a gentleman in California, who I believe still has it. Gods bless you and enjoy.
    Michael Creek
    Kennewick, Washington


Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑