1958 Jaguar XK 150 SE Zagato
Total restoration



Information updated 9/17/016

This very special car (S834369) was assembled as a rolling chassis at the Browns Lane factory in August 1957 as a special order for the Jaguar dealer in Geneva, who commissioned Zagato, the legendary Milanese coachbuilder, to design and build the unique alloy body. The finished car appeared on the Zagato stand at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1958.

At one time it was thought that Zagato may have built two cars on XK150 chassis, one being shown in Geneva in 1958 and the other in Paris in 1960. The current owner's father was under the impression that his car was the Paris car, although we have now established that it was in fact the 1958 Geneva car. Photos of this car, which had previously been mistakenly attributed to the 1960 Paris show, appear in a Motor (UK magazine) Geneva Show report dated March 1958. This discovery raises the distinct possibility that this car may very well be the only XK150 based Zagato ever built.

At some point in the very early 1960's, the Jaguar Zagato made its way to the United States where it was purchased by the current owner's father in 1964.

We are honored to have been entrusted with the restoration of this very special and unique motor car.

Our car on the Zagato stand at the 1958 Geneva Motor Show



Update report - March 11, 2017

The following images are screen shots of Edward's station buck design, which is nearing completion.

Edward has now finished the CAD model of the entire front end and has trued all surfaces. Next up is the design of the station buck, which is already underway.

Slowly but surely, the front end of the car is taking shape in Edward's CAD drawing.

More screen shots of Edward's CAD design work.

The following screenshot images show how Edward is using the raw scan data to produce a 3D model from which we can construct the station bucks needed to fabricate our new panels.

Today we are working with Mike Durham of Absolute Geometries to generate a 3D scan of the Zagato body. The scan will then be used by our friend Edward de Vaucorbeil of Extraordinary Metalshaping to produce a 3D CAD drawing from which we will be able to create the station (body) bucks we need to fabricate all of our replacement alloy panels. It is fascinating to watch this marriage of old world craftsmanship and computer aided design!

Jake, Mike and Edward discussing the project

Very cool to watch the car taking shape on
Mike's computer screen
Familiar looking Zagato nose!

Scanning the front left wing and driver's door

To be continued...

Jake spent several hours re-aligning the front end bodywork and managed to move the nose almost an inch from the right towards the center line of the car. We felt it was important to get the bodywork as straight and centered as possible prior to the 3D scanning process scheduled to take place on Monday.

If you look carefully at this before shot, you will
see the tape is well away from the splined hub
Note how much closer the tape is to the hub in this
photo taken after Jake's re-alignment efforts

Peak of grille opening now much closer to the
center line of the car

If you look carefully at the first two photos below you can see that the front end bodywork is offset to the right hand side, undoubtedly as a result of a major accident which we now know occurred on August 13, 1975. Look at the peak above the grill opening, then compare it to the center point of the fan. The two should be aligned, although the body has clearly been shifted to the right.

Before we have the car scanned next week, we are going to reposition the body so that it is more centered on the chassis. In this way, the wooden station buck, and the panels we make using the buck, will return the front end of the car to the shape it was prior to the accident back in 1975.

In order to correct the front end misalignment, it was necessary to remove the engine and gearbox, which Ray and Jake did earlier today.

Note how nose is offset to the right slightly

These photos show how Zagato welded extension
outriggers to the XK150 chassis
Steel inner sills were welded to the extended
chassis outriggers

Superleggera tubing was mangled behind the
right hand headlamp
Jake and Ray removing the engine

I am excited to report that we now have this very important restoration underway!

As we got the tear down underway earlier this week, we immediately made a very surprising discovery. We had always thought the Jaguar XK150 Zagato was originally black, although this was based entirely upon an apparently enhanced photograph that we now know was taken at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1958. On closer examination of the 'newsprint' photograph of the car on page 229 of The Motor magazine dated March 19, 1958, it is clear that the car was actually a lighter hue than black.

Fast forward to today, when we sanded away several layers of paint and primer to find that the car was originally dark bronze! We can find no evidence of any black paint anywhere on the car, including in all the nooks and crannies that were not stripped when the car was repainted white shortly before it was imported into the US in 1960.

In the first two photos below, you can clearly see the various substrate layers from the aluminum up, as well as the dark metallic bronze color we now believe was the color of the car when it was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1958. The first layer is a green etching primer, followed by a grey sealer, followed by cream colored body filler, followed by another application of sealer, followed by a single stage dark metallic bronze lacquer.

Unfortunately, the body of our Zagato is very badly damaged. Clearly the car was in a major accident which deformed the front and front right corner of the body, leading to some very extensive repairs, mostly in bondo. Furthermore, there is extensive galvanic corrosion throughout the car, which means that many panels will have to be fabricated and replaced. To this end, we have decided to have the car scanned to produce a 3D 'model', from which we will construct a wooden body buck, allowing us to form new alloy replacement panels. We will cover the process in some detail, as I'm sure it will be interesting to many observers. It should be a delightful mix of old world craftsmanship and new age computer aided design!

This image shows the various layer of primer, filler
and paint - none of which are black
This shot gives a clear indication of the Dark Bronze
color the car was originally

Tear down underway
Bad accident damage and even worse repairs mean
the front end will have to be reconstructed

Front end of the car is largely carved from bondo
Note recess in rear edge of front wing to
accommodate door trim when door opens

The Motor magazine commented on plastic
'louvers' in their Geneva Show report

Home made braces have been added to the doors

I believe you are correct :-)

Driver's door handle has also received some home
made reinforcement

Front screen held in place with wooden trim surround

Gerardo carefully sanding away layers to identify
the first paint color
Dark Metallic Bronze

Photos of the car in the Geneva Show in 1958

May 2015

Last week I was thrilled to receive an invitation to meet with Andrea Zagato while I was in Italy attending the Mille Miglia. The following photographs were taken in the picturesque town of Sirmione, on Lake Garda, where Andrea and several other Mille Miglia competitors were practicing for the legendary race. Andrea was driving a beautiful 1956 Alfa 1900 C Super Sprint Zagato.

Andrea was excited to speak to me about our restoration of the XK150 Zagato that his father had built more than 55 years ago.

With Matteo Bosisio (center) head of classic wheels
at Borrani, and Andrea Zagato (right)
Andrea Zagato was excited to discuss the restoration
of the XK150 Zagato his father had built

Andrea enthusiastically offered his full cooperation
and support for our project
With Zagato executive Paolo Di Taranto and
Andrea's Alfa 1900 C Super Sprint Zagato

We were delighted recently to receive the original sales order relating to Frank Freeman's purchase of his Jaguar XK150 Zagato from British Motor Sales in San Diego in August 1964. Although the car was barely 4 years old at that point, the coachwork had already been changed from black to white. Mr. Freeman paid $2,496.00 for the exotic Zagato, less a trade-in allowance of $850.00 against his 1956 Jaguar XK140 coupe.

We have also included a couple of images showing how British Motor Sales would have looked at the time, and how it looks today.

The sales order relating to Frank Freeman's purchase of the Zagato in August 1964

Rendition of British Motor Sales Co by the architect, Robert J. Platt (1958)
The site where the British Motor Sales Company had once been is now a
luxury apartment block (photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Frank Freeman outside his place of work in San Diego in the mid 1960's
Doris Freeman, the current owners stepmother, posing with the Zagato - 1966

The current owner standing by his father's car in the fall of 1964
The car on the Zagato stand at the 1958 Geneva Motor Show

Geneva Show report in Motor - March 1958
The Jaguar Zagato in all its glory on page 229

We have now unpacked and inspected the car, paying particular attention to the materials used when the car was first trimmed at the Zagato factory.

The seats are trimmed in two tone suede and vinyl

A close up of the suede seating surface

Red dash is a later addition, Zagato badging
obviously original
Familiar looking XK dash gauges

Note brown carpeting
More brown suede trimming rear panel

Door panels trimmed elaborately in black hide and
brown suede
This type of interior trim is very much in keeping
with the Zagato styling of the period

Close up of door panel materials

Rear bulkhead looks very like a 60s Aston

Typical Milanese superleggera construction visible in
this photograph

I am pleased to report that your car has been safely delivered to the Team CJ workshops.

Jaguar XK150 Zagato is an imposing and
impressive car when seen in person

Recessed door handles a nice touch

This car is probably the only Zagato built on
an XK150 chassis
Bumper appears very basic compared to the
rest of the car

Another message from the owner!
Original Nardi steering wheel will be restored

Familiar looking engine
Note absence of a body number - for obvious

I am delighted to report that we will have this exciting restoration underway early next year.

The current owner's stepmother with the car c 1966
On the Zagato stand at the 1958 Geneva Motor Show

Always helpful to receive written instructions
from our restoration clients
We look forward to replicating this photo when the
car is totally restored!

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