1992 Jaguar XJS Elegante

A beautiful 1992 Jaguar XJS Elegante owned by Serge Benoit

serge benoit 1992 jaguar xjsWe have all heard about Serge Benoit… or should we say, we have all “heard” Serge Benoit. Serge has been our “French Voice” at our August Antique & Classic Car Meet for many years. He and Gael Boardman keep the show rolling on the public address system at the 60 year old car event.
Serge lives along the Richelieu River in Sabrevois, Quebec surrounded by, what appears to be, over 1700 square miles of farm land, extending from our border to the St Lawrence River. The vision we Vermonters have is that just a few miles north is Montreal, when all the time there is this beautiful farm land laid out like you would see in our Midwest.

Serge spent over 30 years working for Canadair and Bombardier, both companies very familiar to all of us. He presently works part time for a bus company called “Trans Dev” who operates busses throughout Serge’s area including Montreal, both school busses and transit busses. Serge drives them all. The balance of the time Serge operates the company, he started seventeen years ago called “Eval SB”. If you have your eye on an old car, or even a not-so-old vehicle, you can hire Serge’s company to find if the purchase would be a good idea…or a bad one. His company evaluates 100 to 150 vehicles each year.

Now to the XJS Jaguar that Serge owns. Serge found the car at an estate sale last November and is the third owner. Other than some brake work, the car was ready to head down the highway….or autoroute, so they say up his way. Jaguar made about 115,000 XJS models between 1975 and 1996 with V12 engines in most of them. The “purists”, so Serge calls them, were protesting the car should also have the 3.6-litre Jaguar AJ6 straight-six engine under the hood. The protest worked and 500 XJSs were built with the six cylinder engine.

Serge’s Jag is called the Jaguar XJS Classic and between 1992 and 1996 they made about 8800 2-door coupes and 19,000 2-door convertibles. Transmission choices were the 5-speed automatics (Serge’s car) or the 4-speed manuals.

Jaguar was founded in 1922 and was transformed a number of times with different companies in England, until 1990, when the Ford Motor Company bought Jaguar. Eighteen years later, in 2008, an Indian company by the name of Tata purchased Jaguar and retains ownership today. All Jaguar cars are, however, still built in England.

Sir William Lyons (1901 – 1985), known as “Mr. Jaguar”, was with fellow motorcycle enthusiast William Walmsley, the co-founder in 1922 of the Swallow Sidecar Company, which became Jaguar Cars Limited after the Second World War. Serge said the XJS Jaguar was Mr. Lion’s last “build approval”

1992 jaguar xjs enginePerformance wise, the XJS top speed is 150 MPH with a 0 to 60 of 6 seconds. The six cylinder, 24 valve engine produces 240 HP and the V12 engine puts out close to 300 HP. A little, like what Shelby did to Fords, a performance company by the name of “Lister” was asked to make the XJS perform, straight-up, with a Ferrari…..and they did it. They transformed 90 XJSs into 200mph-plus supercars. At over 600 horse power….we all should have one!
In the meantime, Serge’s car is a Grand Touring Jaguar that replaced the beautiful, legionary XKE……and does a great job carrying on the tradition.

 

It’s in the Bag

When doing engine work or restoration work, organization is key to success. I recently overhauled an engine in my shop, and I was greatly aided by a careful and thoughtful organization when I took the engine apart.

I carefully catalogued the nuts, bolts, hardware and parts in zip lock bags, carefully labeled with a sharpie marker. The valve cover bolts were placed in a sandwich sized bag, labeled valve cover bolts, Left. The head bolts and miscellaneous hardware were placed in quart sized bags and labeled. These bags were then placed, in a gallon sized bag, labeled and Left.

This method continued through the engine disassembly. The oil pump bolts were bagged, and placed in the bag with the oil pump. All of the bags of parts were placed in a box with all the other parts.

When I reassembled the engine, all of the nuts, bolts and miscellaneous hardware were easily located, and the order of opening and unbagging the parts, easily gave me what I needed without wasting time searching, and minimizing the risk of placing the wrong hardware in the wrong location. When installing the left cylinder head, I grabbed the bag labeled Left, and all of the hardware was clearly labeled. When I was done, all the hardware was accounted for. There was nothing missing, and nothing left over.

I also use this strategy when I take a car apart for major work or restoration. There is nothing more maddening than not being able to find a part when needed.

Zip Lock freezer bags have an extra strong zipper, and provide a white rectangle for labeling. The next time you are in the grocery store, I would suggest buying a few boxes of sandwich, quart and gallon sized zip lock freezer bags for your shop.

Beware – Friday The 13th!

These BRRR mornings are reminding us that there is a cold winter to come. Cold as it is, we in Vermont have it much better than most parts of the world, so no more complaining. In Vermont, tornadoes, earthquakes, wild fires, mud slides and hurricanes are rare. Of course, there are exceptions, like the microburst that blew down our barn in 2008. Anyway, on Friday the 13th, I once again fell and broke some ribs, right in my own kitchen. With the help of Tylenol and sympathy from the medical profession, I can still cook meals, feed the cats and birds and do laundry. I’m forbidden to do anything really strenuous like use the vacuum cleaner, oh darn!

Fortunately, I had already cleared the flower beds and what little we had for garden vegetables – cherry tomatoes and basil was about it.

Then it was time for the Gypson Tour up next to the Canadian border set up by Duane Leach which I first thought would be too painful – antique cars do bounce around when on back roads. But, take Tylenol and a blanket and go for it, I decided. So glad I did as it was a great tour, with beautiful scenery. Then there was all of the delicious food at Gary and Sharon Fiske’s home, once we got there – I am not the best navigator so we were the last to finish, but there was food left!

Then came the gale force winds that rattled the area last weekend. While there was havoc all around us, we were fortunate to have only one tree blow down and Wendell started up the outdoor wood furnace, so we had warmth and never did lose electricity, as did so many others. Our blessings, right? That was true until last Thursday evening when we were alerted by Green Mountain Power of a fifteen-minute electricity outage while some final fixes were made. It turned into a two hours outage. Guess it was our turn for a little taste of inconvenience. But, all is well now – so far!

1972 Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer

Hank Baer’s 1972 Pinzgauer Swiss Army Radio Communication Truck.

Hank is a VAE Member and also a member of the Green Mountain Military Vehicle Club.

steyr puch haflingerIn the beginning… it was an Austrian Haflinger. The Haflinger was a series of 4×4 light utility vehicles, produced by Steyr-Puch. It was designed to replace the WWII era American jeeps. The Haflinger vehicle is named after a breed of Austrian horses, that are small, but well-muscled and energetic. The vehicle was produced at Graz in Austria. Production commenced in 1959 and ceased in 1975. Over 16,000 of these light utility vehicles were made. It was widely used by the Austrian Army.

steyr puch pinzgauer badgeThe Pinzgauer was developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Austria as the successor to the Haflinger of 4×4 vehicles. The first 4×4 Pinzgauer’s prototype, powered by a 2.5-liter gas engine, was produced in 1965. Series production commenced in 1971 and ever since then, the Pinzgauer series has been a major Steyr-Daimler-Puch product. The baseline Pinzgauer 710 had 4×4 configuration. It was soon joined by a Pinzgauer 712 with 6×6 configuration. The 6×6 model was first revealed in 1968 and entered production in 1971-1972. The Pinzgauers first entered military service with Austria in 1973. Another major operator was Switzerland. By 1985 over 20,000 had been produced, nearly for all military users.

1972- steyr puch pinzgauer interiorFrom 1983 onwards the gas-engined Pinzgauers 710 series and 712 series were joined by turbocharged diesel-engined versions, the so called Turbo D range, which in most respects were overall improvements on the earlier models. They are known as 716 series (4×4) and 718 series (6×6) and have longer wheelbases, disc brakes and increased fuel capacities. Other features such as automatic level control systems, that enable the superstructure to rise or fall, to suit the load involved also became available. Since 1986 the original Pinzgauers were replaced in production by the improved 716 and 718 series vehicles.

Wheel Tracks first spotted the truck during our Appreciation Picnic on Farr Field in the Spring. Before the camera and note-book was readied, the truck and it’s mysterious owner was gone…… All inquiries came up negative, mainly because the right people were not asked. Then the odd looking truck turned up at the train station at our Shelburne Show. The GMMVC new all the time!

72 steyr puch pinzgauerHank Baer is the owner and Pinzgauer is his ride. Hank purchased the truck just a few years ago and the vehicle has become his main “go to the show vehicle” since then. It is set up as a communications vehicle and even short-legged folks, like the editor, can have a ride….note the hike-ups sticking out the front axel. The gas engine has four cylinders, is air-cooled and produces 90 HP. It weighs just over 2 ton and can carry an additional ton with a highway speed of around 70 MPH.

All Pinzgauers are four-wheel-drive or six-wheel-drive with on-the-fly hydraulic differential locks, fully independent suspension backboned chassis tube. They have integrated differentials, 24 volt electrical system, vacuum assisted drum brakes and portal axles to give extra clearance.


A Salute to Our Fellow Vermont Club….GMMVC

Membership in the GMMVC plugs you into Vermont’s statewide military vehicle restoration community. You don’t need to go at it alone! The annual dues of $20 gets you on the meeting minutes mailing list, discounts on club activities, and a fancy membership card autographed by Bob Chase! GMMVC welcomes new members from all walks of life, without regard to age, sex, religion, ethnicity or taste in paint color. The only prerequisite is an interest in historic military vehicles. It is not a requirement to own a vehicle (although we bet you will sooner or later!) Over 10,000 Military vehicle enthusiasts are involved in this same hobby nation wide. This group of people has informally developed an international camaraderie. GMMVC is a registered non-profit corporation and does all its work and events with volunteers.

Alternator Maintenance

I recently had a Subaru Outback in the shop for some extensive maintenance. I had to remove the alternator to do this work. The car had 185,000 miles on it, and still had the original alternator. I decided I would utilize the time waiting for parts to do some preventative maintenance, and overhaul the alternator while the car was in the shop. A rebuilt alternator for this car is about $200, with a new one over $400. The parts to overhaul this alternator were about $30.

How does one overhaul an alternator? Usually when an alternator wears out, it is due to the wear items reaching the end of their useful life. The wear items in an alternator are the brushes and the bearings. On this alternator, like many alternators, the brushes are part of the regulator assembly. While new brushes can be soldered in to the existing regulator, it is far easier to replace the assembly as a unit.

I ordered the parts on line. Surprisingly, I have found most parts stores do not sell alternator rebuild kits. I have to buy them from automotive electrical or electric motor parts suppliers.

An examination of this alternator revealed the brushes were well worn, almost at the end of their useful length. Both bearings rotated freely, however sounded and felt slightly “gravely” when rotated. The rebuild kit came with both bearings and a brush/regulator assembly.

Rebuilding of the alternator was very straight forward. First, I removed the drive pulley with an impact wrench. The pulley easily slid off. Next, I opened the case by removing the four bolts holding the case together. The front of the case came off after several light taps with a hammer. I carefully compared the old parts with the ones that came in the rebuild kit to ensure I had the right parts. Once the front of the case was off, I removed the four screws that held the front bearing plate on. These screws required the application of a torch to free them, but came out easily once some heat was applied. The front bearing came out of the case easily, with a gentle push from my thumb. The new bearing easily slid into position, and was secured with the four screws and the retaining plate.

The rotating assembly was removed from the case next. A careful inspection of the slip rings showed they were in good condition. There had been no arcing against them from the brushes. The rear bearing needed to be removed from the shaft in the press with a bearing knife and a drift. Great care is exercised to prevent damage to the assembly. The new bearing easily pressed on to the shaft.

The brush/regulator assembly is soldered into the case. I needed to melt the old solder connections with a soldering iron. Careful inspection showed the remaining parts of the alternator were in good condition. I carefully cleaned the alternator case while it was apart, rinsing all pieces with electrical cleaner.

I mounted the new brush/regulator assembly in to the case, and soldered the connections with electrical solder. The brush assembly came with a small wire to hold the brushes in place. It is important to leave this wire in place, and carefully thread it through the small hole on the back of the alternator assembly. It is impossible to mount the rotating assembly into the case with this wire removed, as the spring loaded brushes will interfere with the slip rings upon reassembly.

With the brush/regulator assembly installed, the alternator can be reassembled. After assembly, it is important to ensure the alternator spins correctly, with no noise or interference.

This is an easy and inexpensive preventative maintenance step.

This is the season for church suppers…

There are church suppers everywhere… the most popular are chicken and biscuit suppers, but once in a while you will read about a ham dinner or even a game dinner. We’ve been to several in the past month and they are wonderful! A lot of the churches have been putting these suppers on for generations. They have become so popular that reservations are now required. Sometimes there are three “seatings” with take-out available. If you don’t have reservations, you need to get there early. They are usually served family style with refills all the time. We’ve been to a few with friends and it is a great way to see the foliage, visit with friends and catch up on the local gossip.

The season for ice cream socials is over, but they are good and lots of fun, too. Often there is music to go with the event which is a nice added feature. Another thing that is happening in recent years are the monthly community suppers that are usually held in local churches and put on by the members of the local church. They are usually free, with a donation basket at the door. You could go to these almost every night of the week if you don’t want to cook. After years of cooking or trying to think of what to cook, the thought of going to these suppers is getting more appealing to me every month. The local church has been hosting these suppers once a month for a number of years now and we rarely miss one. There is a group of us that get together at this supper and you get to visit with people who live in town that you might not see otherwise. Every month there is a different menu and you never know what is being served, until it is posted on the FPF or the Clark’s Truck Center notice board in Jericho, where local events can be posted for free and it is seen by all who travel Route 15.

The Knights of Columbus put on breakfast once a month at a local church that are wonderful. It is another meal where there is a donation basket and the proceeds go to a good cause, whether it is local or not. This is another one we rarely miss, with the same people going, and we usually fill up a whole table…people who we might see only at these breakfasts. You can refill your plate as much as you like, although usually the first pass-through is all that you can eat. Although there might be seconds for bacon. Twice a year, the K of C puts on dinners instead that are delicious. Here, again, they are so popular that reservations are suggested. This also is the season for beer fests and they seem to be happening all the time now. With so many small local breweries and people making their own beer, they are all the rage. The one that takes place in Underhill has lots of food, music, cider making, children’s craft tables and has become a local family event. Rain or shine! Everyone out enjoying themselves before cold weather and darkness settles in and forces us indoors. You should get out the old car and go to one of these. You won’t regret it.