Jaguar XK150 SE Zagato
|Restoration log by Dan Mooney
De-skinning the Zagato roof and rocker panels.
De-skinning the rear clip.
Update report - April 6, 2020
It is now time to de-skin the front and rear clips. The following sequence of photographs show the terrible corrosion damage the car has suffered over the years. Now that Edward has fabricated most of the new aluminum panels we need for the outer skin, we need to remove the old panels, repair the steel platform chassis and weld the new aluminum panels together and in place. The first few photos below will give you a good idea of the scale of the task ahead of us!
|This image shows the bottom edges of the
front wings wrapped around the steel frame
|Severe galvanic corrosion where the aluminum has
been in contact with the steel
|Cutting away the flange around the engine
|Lifting the alloy front skin away
|This wrench has been lurking inside the left
quarter panel since 1957
|The wrench must have belonged to a Zagato
technician who built the car in 1957
The following sequence of photographs show the inner structure for the new boot lid. This was a complex and difficult panel to fabricate, and Edward really did a superb job!
|Straight steel extrusions will eventually be
into the complex shape of the boot lid frame
The following sequence of photos show Edward fabricating the new boot lid outer skin. This was a particularly challenging panel because of the complex shape and curvature. The only panel left to make at this point is the frame for the boot lid.
Edward has been busy fabricating the new panel between the left rear wing and the boot lid.
Shaping the left hand rear wing on the buck, then both left and right forward sections of the rear quarter panels.
Shaping the right rear wing on the station buck.
Shaping the rear lamp panels.
Interesting to see the new nose alongside the original body yesterday.
Edward has now cut and assembled the rear station buck and has made the first two panels for the rear end.
Edward has now completed the design of the station buck for the rear bodywork.
Edward has now welded together all the various newly fabricated panels which form the outer skin of the bonnet. Next task is to recreate the steel tubing that acts as the lower frame of the bonnet.
Edward has been busy fabricating a new bonnet for the Zagato. The original bonnet had suffered serious galvanic corrosion where the aluminum skin was wrapped around the steel Superleggera frame.
|The original bonnet was in bad shape
||Typical Superleggera construction
|New bonnet starting to take shape
With 18 panels for the front end now completed, I thought it might be interesting to assemble what we have so far. It is really starting to take shape now.
Edward continuing to work on the Zagato front end.
Fabrication of the new aluminum panels for the front end, continued.
More progress with the Zagato front end.
More panels taking shape at the front end of the Zagato.
|Quite a complex little panel to shape
|Taking shape, slowly but surely
Edward has been busy shaping the grill opening to the station buck.
|Top of the grille opening taking shape
|New grille surround fits the station buck
|Left hand front wheel arch fitted to the
The engine block for our Zagato project was probably the worst we have ever seen in terms of internal corrosion and blocked water jackets. In fact the block was so bad that even after multiple trips to the detergent oven we still had significant internal blockages that we were unable to flush out. In the end we had to submerge the block in an alkaline bath, which finally did the trick. After overcoming this significant hurdle, I am pleased to report that we have now completed all of the machine work and assembled this engine.
|Magnaflux crack checking the block after it
some time in an alkaline bath
|Torque plate honing the block
|Etch priming the block
||Establishing desired crank end play
|We removed .020" from the deck surface in
to zero deck our pistons
|Note timing chain cover in place when
|Balancing the crankshaft
|All zeros is a good thing in this case
|Assembling the short block
|Hanging rods on pistons
||Installing oil plumbing
|Installing head studs and head gasket
Edward has now shaped the fifth and sixth panels and welded them to panel #1.
|Paper template for panel #6
|Panels 1 thru 6 now shaped and welded together
Edward has now completed the fourth panel for the left front wing. Next he will fabricate the panel beneath the left hand headlamp.
Edward has now finished shaping the third panel.
Edward has now finished shaping and metal finishing the second panel and has begun working on the transition panel at the top of the left front wing to the bonnet opening.
Edward has now made a start fabricating the new left front wing. In the photos below you can see how he first creates a paper template which is then transferred to the alloy sheet, which is then worked with the English wheel and planishing hammer until it follows the contour and form of the station buck.
|Creating a template using the station buck
||Transferring the template to aluminum sheet
|Panel is shaped on the planishing hammer
and the English wheel
|Edward now turns his attention to the rear
of the left hand front wing
|Shaping the rear panel
I am pleased to report that we have now completed our rebuild of the Zagato cylinder head. The block is going to be cleaned and degreased using an industrial acid dipping process in the next few days.
|Final surfacing for the deck
||Setting valve lash during reassembly
|Great before and after photos with this head!
||A reminder of how the deck surface looked
the repairs and machine work
|Cylinder head now fully rebuilt
||Deck surface now looking much better!
I am pleased to report that we now have your Zagato (XK150) engine rebuild well underway. Unfortunately the cylinder head has suffered severe corrosion around the water jackets of the deck, and the block is about as gunged up with nasty deposits as any we have ever seen! Having said that, everything will be better than new once we have finished our work. I hope you enjoy watching the work progress.
|The starting point of this challenging engine
|Lifting the head off using the shop crane
|First signs of some pretty bad internal damage
|Preparing to remove the oil pan
|Cylinder head is in very poor condition
|Tear down underway
|Serious corrosion issues around the water
||Nasty deposits lurking behind the core plugs
water jackets of the block
|As bad as we have seen!
|Head will need to spend some time in the
|Corroded alloy is ground away prior to welding
|Thankfully we have a world class welder in the
Coachworks to assist with corroded engines
|Jake built up the corroded areas around the
water jackets with a welded bead
|Initial surfacing of the head after weld
|Reshaping the water jackets on the mill
||Truing the valve cover gasket surfaces
|Cam saddles had to be align honed
||Machining out the old valve seats
|Pressing in custom CJ valve seats
||Honing new valve guides to size
|Honing tappet guides for oversized tappets
||Pressure testing head after all the welding
|Pressure test passed with flying colors
||Measuring the run out on the new valve job
|Close up of the 5 angled valve job
||Measuring connecting rods for straightness
I am pleased to report that the station buck for the front of the Zagato has now been completed.
Edward is almost finished assembling the station buck.
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,
see the tape is well away from the splined hub
|Note how much closer the tape is to the hub in
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
|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,
and paint - none of which are black
|This shot gives a clear indication of the Dark
color the car was originally
|Tear down underway
||Bad accident damage and even worse repairs
the front end will have to be reconstructed
|Front end of the car is largely carved from
||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
|Front screen held in place with wooden trim
|Gerardo carefully sanding away layers to
the first paint color
|Dark Metallic Bronze
|Photos of the car in the Geneva Show in 1958
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
at Borrani, and Andrea Zagato (right)
|Andrea Zagato was excited to discuss the
of the XK150 Zagato his father had built
|Andrea enthusiastically offered his full
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
|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
|A close up of the suede seating surface
|Red dash is a later addition, Zagato badging
|Familiar looking XK dash gauges
|Note brown carpeting
||More brown suede trimming rear panel
|Door panels trimmed elaborately in black hide
|This type of interior trim is very much in
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
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
||On the Zagato stand at the 1958 Geneva Motor
|Always helpful to receive written
from our restoration clients
|We look forward to replicating this photo
car is totally restored!