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  • In pursuit of perfection - New Forest Classic Cars. You might have seen the odd #Jaguar-XK in the light and airy workshops of New Forest Classic Cars on the edge of Lymington, but the focus is firmly on E-types - and Sis at that.

    The game here is restoration and the work is a mixture of customer cars, which might have been bought after the stripdown and rebuild began, and the firm’s own vehicles for sale - slotted in as the schedule allows. The earliest car currently in progress is a 1961 fixed-head and the latest is a 1964 roadster that came to the UK 20 years ago. The 1965 drophead with factory hardtop was the demonstrator but is now for sale. It’s POA because this ground-up approach doesn’t come cheap, so think in the £150,000 ballpark.

    #New-Forest-Classic-Cars

    Staff 17 Hourly rate each job is priced individually
    Specialism #Jaguar-E-type restoration (mainly Series 1).
    Location Wellworthy Road, Lymington, Hampshire S041 8JY
    Tel 01590 610929
    Web newforestclassiccars. com

    It all escalated when the business, then in small workshops in town, so impressed a customer it was restoring an Jaguar-E-type for that he bought the company and all its stock. Eighteen months later, about three years ago, NFCC moved into its current base, where there’s plenty of room to move seven cars around.

    “We’re a bit anal about keeping it tidy!” confesses #Matt-Draysey, who, as technical advisor, looks after the day-to-day running of the show.

    On the ground floor there’s also the showroom, plus bodyshop and paint prep room, with spray booth and blast cell self-contained satel-lites. Upstairs is the engine shop, with “dirty” rooms for dismantling and a clean shop next door, plus the stores and in-house trimming, and a waiting area for customers that doubles as a boardroom. Here you can peruse the ‘books’. Each project - ideally an untouched original vehicle, often sourced from the States - comes with a hard-bound photographic record of the work.

    About eight cars go through the process every year, each one taking six months or so to do. “It depends on the condition of the shell,” says Draysey. “It takes longer if all we’re keeping is the bulkhead.” Cars retain proper concours-level details such as spot-welds showing under the rear pans, which are often filled over in a heavy-handed restoration.

    Angie Faulkener tidies cockpit of roadster.
    Daniel Smith covers rebolstered bucket.
    Mark Read checks crank with micrometer.

    Sensible modifications are a fact of life for an #Jaguar E-type that’s going to be used on today’s roads so, as well as an engine overhaul with #Weber carbs and high-capacity radiators, the menu includes five-speed gear-boxes and brake upgrades, as well as a choice of wheel widths and tyres. The default is to original spec, but with discreet improvements such as extra heat- and sound-proofing under the carpets, plus electronic ignition and a high-torque starter.

    ‘The difference is in the detail,’ is the motto, and one recent innovation has been to replicate toolkits using original-sized spanners and authentic Thor hammer.

    There’s also some high-tech 3D scanning in the air that will help to ensure conformity, so watch this space. #Paul-Hardiman.
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  • 1968 #Fiat-Dino-Coupe. Originally registered in Milan, this immaculate #Fiat was exported to the United States at some point in the '80s. There's a 1986 Massachusetts sticker in the windscreen, which might explain the rather odd 'age-related' numberplate. The engine was rebuilt and then the car was stored until 2012, when it was carefully fired up having had the oil pump primed. It was then exported to the UK and first registered here in 2013.

    The bodywork is in fantastic condition, with well-defined sill joints and corrosion-free floorpans. The paintwork is new with an even finish, although the odd sub-surface preparation mark is visible in the panel shuts. The brightwork is generally smart, too, apart from a couple of minuscule scratches on the rear bumper and a small ding in the front rail that could probably be improved, it being stainless steel.

    Year of manufacture #1968
    Recorded mileage 83,430km
    Asking price £44,995
    Vendor Cheshire Classic Cars, near Chester; tel: 01244 529500; cheshireclassiccars. co. uk

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price special order in UK
    Max power 160bhp
    Max torque 127lb ft
    0-60mph 8.1 secs
    Top speed 127mph
    Mpg 20

    The refurbished alloys wear #Ferrari-Dino hubcaps and the original 'dog-dish' items are in the boot, along with all the old door seals. The wheels have new Runway Enduro 185/70 tyres, which are the correct size although it could easily get away with something a little fatter.

    Inside, the seats, centre console and dashboard top have been retrimmed in soft leather rather than the factory vinyl, and the carpets look new; the headlining is excellent, too. One section of veneer to the glovebox lid needs re-glueing. And both electric windows work.

    The 2-litre V6 is tidy with no leaks and a recent clutch slave cylinder with braided hose, plus various fresh sections of throttle linkage. Its oil is clean and just over the 'Max' mark, while the coolant is a little rusty.

    The engine fires instantly, settling to a fast tickover and with no untoward mechanical noises, and the oil pressure gauge reads 30psi... eventually, so we're assuming that the instrument is faulty.

    The car drives beautifully, tracking straight with fluid feel to the steering and a supple chassis, with no clonks or thuds, plus decent brakes and strong gearbox synchros. Water temperature sits steady at 75°C, rising to 80°C when stationary. The MoT is current until 2015.

    SUMMARY
    EXTERIOR
    • Nicely repainted; just a small dent in the front bumper

    INTERIOR
    • New leather and carpets

    MECHANICALS
    • Fully checked out, although the oil-pressure gauge reads low

    VALUE
    For - Drives sweetly and faithfully
    Against - At this level of condition, you notice small prep marks

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    Top money, with almost everything going for it, but a Alfa-Romeo-Montreal or a Porsche-911 could represent better value
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