July 2007

Date Event


I've not been exactly idle but you can't call it real work of late.  I've been going through the frustrating process of trying to find and buy a registration mark.  For those of you lucky enough to have a friendly dealer or an old vehicle you can transfer the plated from then this is not for you.  For the rest of us this is my experience.  

Firstly most Nostalgia cars will qualify for an age related plate when registered.  You are not allowed to retain the registration plate from the donor vehicle since it has been "substantially"  modified.  My donor vehicle was a 1982 XJ6 Series 3, "X" registered. Thus my Nostalgia Classic 120 would also have been given an  "X" registration when being registered after SVA. 

One of the benefits of qualifying for an age related plate is you can give the vehicle a personalised or dateless registration if you wish.  The only stipulation is, you can make the vehicle look older but you can not make the vehicle look younger than the original registration of the donor.  In practical terms, what does this mean?  You can use any dateless registration or any format of registration up to the year of manufacture of the donor car. In my case 1982 "X."   You can not use any of the formats after this date e.g. those with suffix or prefix letters to denote year of registration e.g. "S1 MON"  or the current formats like "EG 07 XYZ"  

I decided early on in the project to use a dateless registrations of  the 3x3 format  e.g. "HHK 873" or "710 AAY"  The registration number to be significant, if possible, and as cheap as possible ,so "DE 7" at 34,500 was a definite non starter.  This is where the frustrating part of the exercise begins.  Surfing Internet you will find a number of companies selling registration numbers with a wide range of numbers in the style you are looking for.  It doesn't take you long to discover that anything which can be interpreted as someone's initials sends the price rocketing upwards.  The same is true for any low value number or anything that is Jaguar related, like XXK or XXJ or 120.  My target price was 500 but you find out that there is 80 - 120 DVLA transfer fee plus VAT on the price quoted. 

Most of the companies do not have the registration for sale. They are agents for the owner working on commission.  Also you will find the same registration number on sale with more than one dealer with a huge variation in price. I pays to shop around I was offered UME 885 for 595. I got several other dealers up on the internet and searched their site for UME 885 lo and behold they all came up with the fact that the number was available with prices ranging from 525 to 995. It is not a strait forward as accepting the cheapest. Some include transfer charge & VAT while others don't .   On balance I went for the cheapest ordered the number on line paid my 250 deposit, sat back and waited.  I heard nothing for two weeks.  My credit card was down 250 very quickly but all the blurb on the web was reassuring about licensed to deal by the DVLA and other bodies and promise of a full refund if the number was not available. Eventually having read but ignored my e-mails I called the company  to discover they did not own the registration and had not heard back from the owner on it's availability. It took a further telephone call 24hrs later to discover that the number was on a vehicle but due to it' condition it would take some time to make it ready so that the number could be sold.  I'd hit the buffers of the DVLA regulations.  "The vehicle must exist", so far so good "be roadworthy and have a valid MOT" . At this point I pulled out of the deal and was given a full refund (which I haven't seen yet but I am assured has been done.)   I've put some relevant information DVLA conditions on the sale of registration numbers  in the Registration  section of the Garage here.

I learned a lesson from this experience. Not to order over the web but to do the order by telephone direct.  There are plenty of 3x3 format numbers available. Cheapest of which are the Northern Ireland registration like "AKZ 123"  or "LUI 456"  However I couldn't bring myself to use one. I found several "UXK" numbers  but on enquiry found that the database was 2 years out of date. which is another good reason to phone first

Finally I found "WXK 828" not exactly meaningful but by this time I didn't care as long as the  price was right.   I called the company and this time they did own the registration. The number was available was formerly on a motorcycle but was now on a retention certificate valid until March 2008.  The price was slightly higher than my target but I managed to get a token discount. My observation of the market was that it in the end was average priced.  

Why put yourself through al this? I hear you ask . why not go to the nearest scrap yard (sorry, dismantling engineers )  and see what they have. The devil is in the regulations again.

There are six basic rules

  1. The vehicle must exist.

  2. The vehicle must be registered at DVLA. (DVLNI run similar schemes in N. Ireland apart from the retention scheme).

  3. The vehicle must be available for inspection. An inspection assists in verifying entitlement to the number plate. Both donor and recipient (rarely) can be called for inspection.

  4. The vehicle must be taxed or in the process of being taxed. However, in 2005, an amendment allowed a donor vehicle where the license disc had been expired (not refunded) less than 12 months to take part in the scheme, providing, that SORN is declared upon expiry.

  5. The vehicle must be subject to MOT/HGV testing. For example, Non testable vehicles such as milk floats, tractors etc are outside the scheme. This has led to some vehicles, such as hearses, choosing to undergo MOT's when actually exempt so they could register with a cherished number plate under the scheme.

  6. Only the registered keeper can apply to either transfer or retain the mark.

In my opinion, unless you are very lucky , the chances of fulfilling this rule set from a local dealer is minimal. If you find a vehicle languishing in a field the expense of getting it up to the required standard ,will have to be paid for and is reflected in the price of the number plate.

I'll close with a mention of the DVLA auctions. These are held at various locations around the country over a period of 3 days.  The lottery is of course the plate will be sold to the highest bidder. The Internet companies are also monitoring and bidding at these sales. and are likely to be bidding against you. Reserve prices on number plates tend to be in line with the market value published on the Internet

Further information is available in the Garage



Painting & Finishing

I've been working at the Factory all this week.  I arrived on Monday morning just in time to see the finishing polishing touches being applied to the main bodywork. The doors had been refitted but the boot lid and bonnet were still off the car awaiting a final polish.  I took me a little while to play myself in to the tasks that needed to be done.  Refitting the bright work was obvious but the Radiator needed refitting and the electrics for the temperature and fuel gauges, and the fuel injection relay needed  sorting out following the start up run a few weeks back. 

I started by refitting the radiator. As originally fitted the cooling fan was pretty close to the top hose. It didn't foul but was very close. so I took the opportunity to raise the radiator slightly during refitting. This made it necessary to modify the radiator stays by slotting the holes so that they lined up with the new position of the radiator.  A job that would have taken half to one hour at home took much longer when your working in a strange environment.  We will need to look and see if the radiator is OK or too high when we refit the bonnet.  I refitted top and bottom hose to the radiator and the pipes to the expansion tank. 

At engine start up the indication on the water temp gauge was that it was overheating but by observation it clearly wasn't. This indication had also been present in the XJ6. Since it was a new temperature gauge that only left the temperature sensor or the instrument voltage regulator.   I had overlooked the fitting of the voltage regulator when doing the instrument wiring so their wasn't on fitted. The fuel gauge and temperature gauge are supposed to run from a 10 volt supply. without a voltage regulator in the circuit they are probably being supplied on average with 13v. 30% more voltage probably equates to 30% higher temperature reading.  Which was about what it was. A second source of error is the temp sender. These are usually "thermsitors".  The hotter they get the less resistance they have. These senders should be matched to the instrument.  To eliminate all possible errors I obtained a new voltage regulator and a new sender. The modern day sender needs and adapter to match it to the thread in the XJ6 water rail all obtainable from  "Speedy Cables".  All these items were fitted in preparation for running the engine gain at the end of the week

Then it was start at the front and work backwards refitting the headlamps. side lamps, indicators front dumb irons and bumpers.  It's to be expected, but surprising to find that when I refitted the front dumb irons and bumpers they did not line up as straight as I had set them originally.  I suppose that over the months at Nostalgia the body had moved very slightly and thus was the cause of the problem. It was only a small amount and I made a small adjustment ot the holes in the dumb irons to bring the bumpers back in to line.  Working further back I refitted the side repeaters  ending up with refitting the tail lights .

Refitting the rear dumb irons, pointed out my mistake when I originally fitted them. I presumed the they dumb irons followed the centre line of the brackets  and drilled and mounted the brackets accordingly. They do not! but are offset. The position is determined by the top mount which protrudes from the body and the dumb iron aligned vertically. Clamp the dumb iron in this position and drill the under chassis bracket accordingly.  Make sure that you position the dumb iron as far outboard as you can to make sure of the boot lid clearance.  Secondly I found that Nostalgia had extensively modified the  the upper mounting bracket that fixes on brackets inside he boot an protrudes through the rear of the body.  This involved welding the threaded portion of the bracket so that it was  offset and pointing slightly downwards. I refitted the upper brackets and chrome spacers followed by the dumb irons, making sure they were as close to vertical as possible then refitted the over riders .  I then helped Chris and Matt  refit the boot lid. 

It was time to start rewiring all the light and indicators.  On e thing I learned was how much stricter the SVA testers  were about  the wiring.  It seems that no exposed wire is permitted even at the end of a loom where it joins a component such as a relay or multiway connector.  This means I will have extensive work to do to make the engine bay and other areas  SVA compliant. refitting all the electrical components meant at least I could make a start on making the wiring SVA compliant.  During the wiring phase I sorted out the rewiring to the fuel relay.  We are not quite sure how or why but I missed a connection that needed to be run between the Inertia Switch and the fuel relay.  During Engine start up we found a wire, alongside the gearbox,  that was tied back in the ECU loom. This was electrically connect to the fuel relay but lacked an ignition switched supply. I studied the XJ6 wiring diagrams, the Nostalgia Wiring diagram ( such as it is) and came to the conclusion that the wire we had found, should be connected to the output of the inertia switch, such that if the inertia switch operates the fuel pump and the fuel relay are switched off.  I made a temporary connection to the inertia switch

I ended the week with testing all the wiring and restarted the engine to test the temperature gauge and sensor modifications as well as the fuel relay wiring.  The engine started first time and left to idle and o run up to temperature. The thermostat opened and the temperature reached a rock steady 90 C. which is exactly where it should be.


9 hrs

Finishing, Electrics, Windscreen and Cooling System

Back at the Factory again today to try and get some more finishing jobs done.  At the end of last Friday we ran the engine again and I noticed the side lights were not working though they had been working earlier.  The first job was to find out why. It didn't take long to find out that it was blowing the side light fuse.  Starting at the front I di9connected each of the side lights in turn and tested the circuits Each time it blew the fuse. I checked the wiring alterations I had made ot he dash board and checked the wiring to the light switches all without success.  I reached the back of the car and checked the wiring to the rear tail lights and the fuse still blew, when the lights were switched on. Then it dawned on me that the rear number plate light was not fitted and I had temporarily taped up the wires. In doing so I had introduced a short circuit . Unwrapping the wires and spreading them out so they could not touch cured the problem.  I removed the centre dash and side switch panel to facilitate the fitting of the windscreen.

Since I was in electric mode I made a permanent solution to the fuel relay wiring by securing the wiring back towards the front to of the car and up under the dashboard.  I fed a new wire from the bullet connector joining the  inertia switch and the fuel pump to the connector at the end of the wiring loom I had just re-routed.  The new wire and the connectors were  sheathed in PVC tubing.   I adapted my wiring loom to match the SVA compliant fog lamp. The Nostalgia supplied lamp fitted to finished vehicles is not SVA compliant because of the colour of the lens.  the solution is to fit an SVA compliant light and refit the supplied light after the test.

The replacement heater vent arrived. the old one had a defect in the chrome finish was peeling from one end. I was able to fit the new one before we started fitting the windscreen.  the saga of fitting more small chrome items continued with the tear drops fir the hood.  Here my run of chrome defects continued. One of the teardrops had a blister in the chrome. fortunately Nostalgia had these items in stock and it was immediately replaced.

After lunch Simon and Chris fitted the windscreen. The Centre pillar was fitted first in to a bed od sealer under the rubber pad at the bottom and tightened in place. This largely determines the angle of the windscreen and the trick is to get the side pillars to agree with this angle   Sealer was applied under rubber pads at the base of the side windscreen pillars . Sealer was placed in the pillar channels and the windscreen glass was slid in to place.  The capping and side screws were fitted to attach the pillars to the glass . Now the side pillars were fixed in place using two bolts  in to keep plates that I had manufactured when I did the trial installation. the bottom bold was packed with 3 washers each side to achieve the desired measurement of  715 +/- 5 mm. We settled for 710 mm because that seemed to be the natural position of he windscreen without introducing any stress or twists in the frame. The is enough flexibility in the hood frame to accommodate this and each hood is tailor made to the vehicle.  We left the windscreen to settle and will continue with the next round of sealing under the rubber seals at he bottom of the windscreen glass and around the wiper shafts later.

My final job of the day was to drain the cooling system  to fit the heater control valve. This valve fits in the pipe from the water rail to the heater and is cable controlled.  I only had time to fit the valve and will fit the control cable later.  fitting the valve is simply a matter of marking the pipe where it is to be fitted cutting the pipe and fitting the valve in line between the engine and the heater. the valve doesn't need any bracket s to held it and is secured in place with jubilee clips. I refilled the system with 50/50 antifreeze and deionised water.  Next week I'll run the engine again to remove the air locks and top up the coolant.

Update to Photo Gallery here

Total hours this month = 49 hrs


Total  hours to date =    2112 hrs