It all started when a friend offered us a 1954 Jaguar that he had started to do up. Thinking this would be a great Father/Son project, we accepted the challenge. Getting Hammy home needed a truck as her brakes were not working after sitting idle for many years. Rodents had made their home there and spoiled some of the upholstery. The woodwork was looking very sad and needed sanding and re-varnishing. The dash board was the worst. We got the motor going first and then overhauled the brakes.
Our son showed his friend, who is a car-painter, the car and jokingly suggested to him that he could use it as his wedding car… if he would do the painting. He accepted! That gave us seven months to get her finished. That meant taking everything out of the car to clean, sand and then paint.
Knowing we would eventually need another car we found one and trucked her up. They said she was “in going condition”. Ha-ha! Our first vision of Christie was very disheartening. Flat tires, a disemboweled interior and no glass in the windows. Once we pushed her down the driveway and took a better look we also found that the wiring had been taken out. Still, most of the parts to rebuild her were there. The body was in much better condition than Hammy's, so we set to work on Christie. At least the woodwork was already done and looked amazing. Her tires stayed up when we re-inflated them too. Peter checked that the motor actually worked by rigging up a petrol feed and battery to start her up. She ran smoothly. The brakes were overhauled borrowing some parts from Hammy. The whole family cleaned and scrubbed at the glass and chrome handles and cleaned and sanded her body inside and out for painting. What a job. Every spare weekend and many evenings were spent washing, rubbing and vacuuming.
Sparkling burgundy paint now coated her shell. After taking off the masking tape we set about restoring her to her former glory. The auto trimmer set to work re-upholstering seats, door panels and other bits and pieces inside the car. The windows had to be put back in with new rubbers, she needed new tires, and the bumpers needed new chrome as they were peeling.
While we were doing all this we were researching her ownership history so we could VIN her. Many phone calls, a lot of luck and some helpful people made it all possible. It was exciting driving down to the testing station for her first COF and re-registration. All this was finished only two days before the wedding. That night the whole family went to Te Awamutu for a late night picnic to test drive our new baby.
One down, one to go. We got really keen to have another car finished when we found yet another car, identical to Christie and Hammy that was in even better condition than either of them - and we could see and drive her before buying. Tammy was much easier to restore because she had always been a working girl and we knew what we were actually doing this time round. We stripped her down and cleaned, polished and painted for over a year. Of course we needed another wedding to spur us on. Our son told another friend about our amazing Jag and they were smitten. They also wanted two cars, not just one. With this motivating factor we had Tammy ready with a month to spare before the wedding date. The bumpers had given us plenty of trouble as the level of preparation needed before chroming had to be of a very high standard. It only took us two years to get four bumpers and eight over-riders chromed! The auto trimmers were marvelous getting the interior finished efficiently and beautifully.
This time our family went for a spin to Cambridge for a test drive. Half way there the temperature needle showed that Tammy was over-heating. We stopped on a side-road and lifted the bonnet to let the clouds of steam escape! Thank goodness for test-drives. Her first wedding in Te Aroha went off without a hitch, after cleaning out the radiator and fitting a new thermostat.
Driving two, beautiful, glamorous, identical Jags is a lot of fun and we thoroughly enjoy it.