Sunday, January 9, 2011

Two Homecomings and a Trip Back to High School

Saturday marked a major development in SABCC'er Richard Cunningham's Jaguar E-Type restoration: he brought the painted bodyshell back to the Garagemahal in Daphne. 

Getting the body back from the paint shop in Fairhope was going to take a couple of trips with a trailer since the main body was on a dolly and the expansive bonnet was on a rotisserie fixture that took up a lot of real estate. There wasn't going to be any loading help from the bodyshop so, Mike Darby and I volunteered to help with the effort. Mike would also help give the final paint finish a quick inspection and I would, well, try to stay out of the way.

Mike Darby at the Wheel
I arrived at Richard's just before Mike drove up in his near-as-dammit-finished MGA roadster. Mike offered me a lift to Fairhope in the MG and I couldn't resist. The lovely red car was just striking in the bright sunshine and it would be first time I've ridden in an MGA since 1973. Sign me up!

My best buddy in high school - Tony Barone - had a '62 MGA roadster and we spent a lot of time in that old car. The yellow paint was faded and chalked, it didn't have side curtains and first gear sounded like rocks in a coffee can (a common malady, says Mike). In short, it was perfect! I can remember the view from the shotgun seat very clearly - the center mounted and horn button and the starter knob were just cool. The top was never up unless it was pouring rain and even then, the use of liberated gym towels for side curtains didn't do much to keep us dry.

Riding with Mike brought back a lot of those old memories, but his MGA is light years nicer than the beater I knew. Mike is also a top-down guy and temps in the low 40s (Fahrenheit) didn't mean that the soft top needed erecting. He cranked the heater up to high and set out. I was in heaven.
The Glowing Body Tub

We got the project E-Type back to Richard's home in two trips with the trailer. We handled the beautifully painted body with the awe and caution that the expensive work demanded. Mike and I followed Richard as he towed the body home and there were more than a few double takes and pointed fingers from those in passing cars. The E-Type is a showstopper even in a disassembled state.

The new Opalescent Silver Grey paint is stunning. In the sunlight, the metallic paint simply glows, almost as if it was lit from within. I'm excited about the progress made on the Jaguar and I don't even have a dog in the fight! 

A Justifiably Proud Richard Cunningham
Richard offered to make a side trip over to Mike's shop in Silverhill, Alabama to retrieve my new-to-me hardtop that I purchased for my faithful MGB. It made the trip back from the seller's place in Meridian, Mississippi in Mike's pickup and I haven't had the time to fetch it home. We strapped it down on the trailer and brought it back to my humble garage in Spanish Fort.

As I mentioned, the gel coat has a ding or three and there are a number of scratches that might buff out. It needs new side windows and some of the rubber seals would do with a replacement. There is also a broken tab that engages the clip on the tonneau panel that I need to find or have made. But, for the price, I did very very well. I spent an hour or so this afternoon giving it a thorough clean up and I am starting the search for parts. If you've got factory hardtop parts that you would like to part with at a reasonable price, please get in touch.


  1. I'm waiting for the time you write a blog talking about driving the E-Type for the first time. :-)

  2. Great blog, and it's great to see Rich has such good friends to help! I look forward to keeping up with all y'alls projects!


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