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Jaguar XK140 Restoration Project - Part 4 of 4

The car is ready for action, I hope? In Part 3 Keith had been setting up the suspension and the brake conversion back to ‘Drums’. It was now time to test the situation.

What I have is a very fast engine but the big question is whether drum brakes will actually stop the car, having been used to disk brakes on my XK150. I must say that the last time I drove on drum brakes was in my father’s Morris ‘J’ Type Commercial van back in the early sixties, when I didn’t have to stop from 100 mph.

So Keith and I took the 140 to Brands Hatch to test the water. All I can say is that they take a lot of time to ‘Bed-In’ and to achieve optimum braking efficiency and then some. The engine performed very well as one would expect from Sigma Engineering, but on the first application of the brakes, there was an awful smell of brake lining and a very ‘Long Pedal’.

Back to the Pit Garage and Keith had some adjustments to make to free up the brakes after some heavy braking going into Graham Hill Bend , Druids and going into Paddock Hill Bend.

Things to note are that the engine sounds so different from my old 3.8. It revs so freely and Peter Lander said it will comfortably rev to 6800 and up to 7000 as a maximum.

Something that shouldn’t be done at a track day is to measure the lap time. Without giving any secrets away, my best lap time was equivalent to my best lap time in the XK150 with a 3.8 Litre engine and disk brakes. I expect that the brakes will ‘Go Off’ during a race, so this is something I have to learn about.

Keith has set up the handling of the car really well with just a little bit of Negative Camber and some Castor. The car is very stable in a straight line and excellent into corners. We played with Shocker settings and have established a not too firm a ride as the car becomes a little skittish. It has been said that a little body roll gives a better handling ride for smoother racing drivers. So who am I to argue?

Then it was back to the Workshops for post Brands Test checks and especially the brake condition before taking the car to Goodwood to test again on a longer-legged circuit. This time, and using an uprated Overdrive, I was reaching 125 mph on the Lavant Straight. In addition, I knocked a further 3 seconds off my best lap time achieved in the XK150.

Of course this was followed by more brake smells, as I was braking much more heavily going into Woodcote from 125 mph. But the car handled beautifully, once Keith and I had backed off the shocks to avoid the bump going through Fordwater, I was then able to take Fordwater absolutely flat out.

Goodwood was a great Test Day, (I mean Track Day oops) using Vredesteins on 15” wires. I can’t wait to fit the 16” Lightweight aluminium alloy wheels from MWS fitted with Dunlop ‘L’ section Cross Plys to be used in FIA ‘Appendix ‘K’ events.

Finally, the car was ready to be taken to Motor Wheel Service International to shod the 16” wheels with Dunlops and to fit the new MWS Decals and Roundels (In Old English White), as you can now see in the photographs attached.

The final test of the new wheels and to ‘Scrub’ the new tyres in will be at Goodwood on Bank Holiday Monday, the 3rd May. Please feel free to come and join us, as it is absolutely FREE if you can spare the time.

My first race will be on Sunday the 9th May at Mallory Park in Leicestershire.

See you there?

John D R

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