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Jaguar Mk 2 - Learning classic car maintenance

I am about to become a classic car owner, but I am not really a spanner man. Does anyone know of any basic part time or weekend courses for people like me, where I could learn more about basic maintenance, fault diagnosis and simple engine work (i.e. dealing with misfires, changing spark plugs and things at that level)?

Asked on 8 February 2015 by serge

5 answers

Wolfan    on 8 February 2015

The most important thing to check when buying a MK1 or MK11 Jaguar is the condition of the structure and body panels, that is crucial,rust is their worst and most costly enemy, everything else can be put right although not cheaply at least at a reasonable cost in relation to it's end value. Rear springs trying to find their way into the boot because of rotten hangers are a nightmare. Basic maintenance is the least of your worries, make sure you get any prospective purchase checked out by someone who knows these cars inside out. A good one is a superb car a bad one a money pit.

elekie&a/c doctor    on 8 February 2015

Perhaps a good idea to start a subscription here;

skidpan    on 9 February 2015

Classic car ownership is something you really need to think deeply about before actually buying.

There are 2 ways, competent home mechanic or a very deep pocket. Even competent home mechanics have to resort to the trade for specialist skills from time to time and these are expensive.

Two basic rules you need to remember are to buy the best car you can afford and never buy the first car you see. Forget basket cases, they cost a fortune just to keep roadworthy.

Best of luck.

madf    on 9 February 2015

I am a fairly competent hoem mechanic and ran a 1967 Lotus Elan S3 for two years. It was pretty good and I only drove small mileages... It was not a cheap experience and I diy'd everything.

I can only echo Skidpan's advice.

bathtub tom    on 9 February 2015


Repeat the above, endlessly and if you're still intent on buying an old car, then I'd suggest you start with something more basic until you build up experience.

gordonbennet    on 9 February 2015

I can only agree with the others here, you must only enter classic ownership for the pleasure of the cars, it will be an expensive hobby probably around the same costs as golf/country club and as much maintenance and trouble as a mistress, so they tell me.

Classic ownership isn't bangernomics, there will always be jobs to do, many of them expensive and you shouldn't let the car out on salty roads at all if possible as rust is the biggest enemy.

I've suggested this book before to one of our posters, a young chap who i hope comes back again who isn't afaid to get stuck in fixing his more modern older car. That is to search out a copy of the ''AA Book of the Car'' on the usual auction site, published in the 70''s an excellent basic guide with dozens of exploded diagrams and sensible explanations of the mechanics involved, still worth reading and keeping one at home for reference even if you only run modern cars.

couple here..ebay items, not mine nor anyone else i know

191500914095 171672138453 First one finishes at 14.30 today, unused still boxed currently @ 99p with £6 postage

Edited by gordonbennet on 09/02/2015 at 12:14

edlithgow    on 14 April 2017

I think I had a 2nd hand copy of that AA book in the 70's and I'd agree its a good introduction and reference.

Re "Classic ownership isn't bangernomics" perhaps bangernomics (IF that concept is still viable) would be a better and lower-risk place to start.

Re the OP's enquiry about courses, I don't know of any and I'd be a bit skeptical as to the value of one. I did take a MIG welding course which I enjoyed, but wasn't much use to me because I didn't have anywhere to use a welder. Only "live" welding I've done was self-taught oxy-acetylene with borrowed equipment.

I think actually having to do something is the best motivator for learning how to do it.

Get the Haynes manual. If there isn't one (or equivalent) perhaps don't get the car.

RaineMan    on 22 April 2017

I would suggest starting with something basic like an Oxbridge or Mk II Ford Consul and seeing how you get on. If all goes well for a couple of years consider a Jaguar - it is not a starter classic!

anglebox    on 24 April 2017

The British Motor Museum does a course for 'classic virgins' which includes a 'hands on' element.

Contour Autocraft also run a short course:

As mentioned above, the AA book of the car is a handy reference guide - although you'll probably need a Haynes manual if you want to get more in depth.

After a few months of regular fettling, even a novice will be able to perform basic servicing work - changing oil, spark plugs, coolant etc and progressing on to brakes.

But the state of the body is crucial. If the panels are full of rust and you don't own a welder (or can't weld) you're going to have a very steep learning curve ahead of you.

Parts for Jaguars are also very expensive. If you can, start with something very simple like a Morris Minor, a Mini or an MGB.

No car is a doddle to work on and they all have their issues (rear spring hangers especially for the Moggy) BUT parts are much more affordable and all have great support from owners' clubs.

Good luck - and enjoy the journey.

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