CJ Jaguar XKSS (RG)
||Restoration log by Dan Mooney
We really want the steering wheel in our Team CJ XKSS to be as close a facsimile of an original D Type wheel as possible. I have bought and used several replica D Type wheels in the past, but they were not close enough to the original D Type wheel for this particular project. That being the case, I contacted Mike Lempert, who makes and restores steering wheels and is a true master of his craft. Mike made a stunning steering wheel for one of my Lamborghini restoration projects, so I knew he was the right person to involve in my XKSS project.
I learned from Mike that D Type wheels were made in period by a company called Coventry Timber Bending (I love that name). Apparently the wheels were very much hand made and therefore each wheel differed slightly from the next. The way the wheels were secured to the hub varied, too. Some were blind riveted, some used a combination of blind rivets and button head screws. Mike shared a couple of photos of an original D Type wheel he had once owned (see 3rd and 4th images below). CTB always used Beech for the D Type steering wheels, which is a very light colored wood that matures and ages into a beautiful coffee color. Mike describes the new Beech as more of a manila folder hue, but we have decided to replicate the aged look for our XKSS project.
The wheel in the McQueen car has obviously been restored and varnished at some point, probably when the car was recommissioned at Lynx in England in the mid 1980's. Accordingly, I believe it is a little more 'yellow' than it would have been when McQueen was driving the car. In the first two photos you can see the McQueen steering wheel, including a close up of the rivets and screws holding the wheel to the hub. Interesting to note that the screw at 12 o'clock has obviously been replaced, and is also the only one of the three that has a large washer behind it. Perhaps this was a repair done by the King of Cool himself, although this is one aspect of the wheel that we will not be replicating.
Huge thanks again to the great staff at the Petersen Museum, and especially my friend Bruce Baciu in the Petersen workshop, for taking the time to assist me in getting this very special steering wheel just right!
|My favorite steering wheel in the world!
||Note screw at 12 o'clock has been changed
|Note the beautiful coffee hue of an aged,
D Type wheel
|Look carefully and you can see evidence
of 3 lock
washers at 12, 4 and 8 o'clock
|Bruce Baciu (ace mechanic in the Petersen
measuring the radius at the end of the spokes
|Rim thickness varies significantly around
which is typical of handmade CTB wheels
Your engine is now fully assembled!
|Corey torquing the cylinder head
Some very healthy gains on the flow bench for our 4.7L XKSS engine.
Team CJ 4.7L Stage Two engine rebuild in progress.
|At the heart of the Team CJ 4.7L Stage Two
is a billet steel crankshaft
|Precision align honing is a vital part of
our Stage Two builds
|A view down the main cap housings
honing has been completed
|Torque plate cylinder hone in progress
|Forged steel connecting rods shave 600g
the rotating assembly
|Team CJ forged stroker pistons
|Hanging rods on pistons
||Installing rods and pistons
|Forged pistons now installed in block
||View along intake runner to valve seat
|Head now fully machined and
Preparing to trial fit the rebuilt front and rear suspension in the CJ Workshop.
|Storage for McQueen's Marlboros and Persol
||Genuine XKSS speedo is a fantastic
for this car
We are excited to have sourced a genuine, original, unrestored D Type/XKSS speedometer for our XKSS project.
It is now time to start building the drive train for this exciting project.
|This particular Team CJ XKSS will be LHD
|Construction closely follows the original,
panels riveted or TIG welded
|IRS rebuild already underway
|Actual spinner from the legendary McQueen
||The famous Steve McQueen XKSS