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Homepage. This page: Dave's account of owning, driving and fixing a '64 S-Type Jaguar - one of the classic Jaguars.

1964 Jaguar S-Type.

Dave contacted me and offered to do a write-up on his beloved classic, a 1964 S-Type Jaguar no less. This he did, and accompanied the story with a wealth of photos showing his classic Jaguar saloon of the mid-1960's. The car now awaits some restoration, but is still fired up on a regular basis to keep the old girl alive. Here is Dave's Jaguar story, a tale that began at Easter time in 1988.
A classic S Type Jaguar

My Jaguar.

I purchased my jaguar, a 1964 S-type saloon, 3.4L manual with overdrive, in 1998, over the Easter holiday. It was advertised in the Jaguar Enthusiast club magazine. I went to have a look. It wasn't in perfect condition, and would need some work in the future, with additional running jobs; but it was usable, complete with MOT. After being taken out for a run, I decided to buy. I paid the deposit, and the owner agreed to drive the car down to where I lived later in the week, to drop it off and collect the remainder of the money. This he did, and I was at last the owner of a classic Jaguar.
It was unusual to drive at first, like anything, I had to 'settle in' so to speak. The old Moss gearbox, a pre-war design I believe, with no synchro in first, wined like buggery, as did reverse. In second, the synchro was also worn, though quieter. Third and top were fine. Anyone who's familiar with these old Jag gearboxes will know what I mean. Gear-changing is slow and can't be rushed, or you double de-clutch. I preferred the former option. Though occasionally, I would cock up, causing it to 'snarl' at me in protest.
After a couple of weeks of use, Dad, who used to be a mechanic by trade, and worked on these when new, advised checking the valve clearances; plus the usual good service. This was done and the valves were found to be too closed up. New shims were obtained, along with other service items. Points, plugs, condenser, oil filter and air filter were replaced, plus all oils - engine, gearbox and axle. The distributor was cleaned up, and on inspection had a small hole in the alloy casing. Luckily I had one spare, so this was fitted. The steering box was topped up, and where necessary, all points greased. These jobs completed, the car went much better, as one would expect.
Other jobs such as overhauling the starter and dynamo were carried out at a later stage, in between use, as was fan belt replacement of course, along with a carburettor overhaul. These all seem like annoying things to have to do to a car, but it was 34 years old when I bought it; and like so many vehicles of that age, (or younger, for that matter) people neglect them, and regular servicing goes out the window. Some hold the view that throwing a spanner at the engine, along with a drop of oil, constitutes a service. We know better. Another job that springs to mind, was the overdrive wouldn't always engage, and was intermittent. This was discovered to be a bodged home-made connection. Once repaired, it's always worked fine.
The S-Type Jaguar's bodywork
More views of the Jaguar S-Type's bodywork and styling.
Despite these jobs of necessity, and others, it never once detracted from my enjoyment of driving the Jaguar. Handling has always been very good, especially once the suspension was sorted; bushes and springs replaced accordingly. Comfort is wonderful. Though the engine had quite a bit of wear and tear, and not producing full power (mileage unknown) it still went very well. On the dual carriageway, at 3000rpm in overdrive it was doing 90mph (you've guessed correctly, I never drove the Jaguar like a great wuss). I was never afraid to exploit the S-Type's performance, and would “use” the outer lane. It could definitely match modern cars, and overtaking was easy and fast.
The late '90s saw the phasing out of four star fuel; accompanied with the usual media myths and mis-informed spin about older cars being stuck up sh** creek without a paddle. This was never a problem in my view, I just started using unleaded, and, with regular servicing, never experienced any problems. When you consider that the old XK engine was designed, I believe, to use 80 octane fuel, modern fuels are more refined and of better quality, whether unleaded or otherwise, than the old post war types.
I did around 35-40,000 plus miles in the Jaguar, over a period of about eight years. I never was a "fair weather only" user. It's my honest opinion that a vehicle is always best used all year round, regardless of weather. In this respect, you get to know a car's character; and its limitations. Some people known to me, had beautiful immaculate cars, with quite low mileages; they only used them during the summer, and often had many problems, in spite of their lovely condition.
Though kept in the garage, the S-Type was used as an everyday car ( I had an unlimited mileage policy), a duty shared with another vehicle. Suffice to say the Jag was used more, being such bliss on the carriageway, as when I commuted to college. I have always found it such an incredibly satisfying car to drive, old enough to have evolved its own personality. That wonderful odour of leather and woodwork which accompanies an ageing motor of quality, became part of the driving experience.
I grew to accept some of its smaller irritations, constantly bearing in mind its vintage. These were, the wipers lacked an intermediate wipe operation, as you would expect, and the automatic choke, though it worked OK, would cut out with the engine still too cold to run properly, but too warm for choke. I dare say such things can be tinkered with in the future restoration. That said, I would never part with it, and much prefer it to a modern car. Many people admired it, even drivers of newer Jags. Quite a few younger lads would remark on how “cool” it is, or what a nice car. I was once driving out of a supermarket car park, and a lad of about ten said, “Wow, old Bentley!”
The S-Type's dashboard
A look at the Jaguar's dashboard and interior.
On one occasion, having just visited some people I knew; I was returning home, it was dark & pi**ing with rain. I'd just overtaken a lorry on the dual carriageway, I glanced in the mirror and noticed that I couldn't see anything. It foxed me for some seconds, then I realised that the boot had come open! Luckily, my exit was only a short way off, and once past the roundabout at the top and into the layby, I closed it. The boot mat was saturated though, and needed time to dry out.
A pet hate of mine was convoy driving, as when taking part in some car club rallies. You would meet up at a pre-arranged place, then drive to the venue in convoy. I found these to be murder, as you had to drive in a disciplined manner, and not to your own style; plus the formation would get broken up at roundabouts and junctions.

The other disadvantage was being stuck behind a slower driver; one guy in the club was particularly bad, as even though he drove a Jaguar, he seemed to permanently drive in second gear.

Once, a handful of us from our club went to support a larger classic car and bike rally taking place, meeting at a pub, then going onto another place, the name of which escapes me. This was the only time that I enjoyed a convoy, as the other guys who led, really flexed their right feet where possible; and, as we were in Jags, left the Sunbeams and Rileys trailing. Come the slower narrow roads, they caught up again. A nice day for all though.
Other jobs done to the car were, some bodywork at the front end, new brake discs and pads, axle pinion seal, replacement clutch and servo, plus master cylinder. I had it resprayed at one stage, that was a big mistake, the person who did it was a cowboy. He had to re-do some of it later on, which he did reluctantly. Nonetheless, it cost me a lot of money. Looking back I should have done the job myself. You live and learn. It was at this stage that I had the two wing mirrors removed, as it was a complete pain being stabbed in the guts with them, every time you worked under the bonnet.
The MOT ran out in 2006, and the car is now garaged, awaiting restoration. The battery is kept charged, and she is run up every month or so, and still starts on the first press of the button. Hopefully the restoration won't be too far off, but sometimes life and other circumstances take priority. I will have to save up my pennies. I can't wait to get her back on the road, and look forward to that special driving experience again.
Thanks for the write-up on your Jaguar Dave, an interesting read!
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