Building a Challenger - the Reality
Barry builds No. 195
Start with a scrap MOT failure XJ4.2 - this is a 1976 Series 2 auto suffering severe chassis corrosion. A manual car would have been better, and Series 1 cars provide more bits to donate to the conversion, but S2 autos are plentiful and very cheap. It helps if the engine is OK, but these too are very easy to obtain from scrap yards. Registration documents are needed.
Extract all the useful bits. Engine (not gear box or prop shaft), rear axle, front axle subframe, instruments, radiator, etc. Throw away the rest (a large trash can is needed). Acquire a manual gear box and clutch assembly, and non-leaking water pump. Get rear axle track width shortened and front subframe reassembled upside-down with new springs and shockers.
Put all the useful bits into the new chassis. Working slowly and methodically build up the engine compartment, and fit exterior lights and trim. After struggling for hours to fit windscreen (glass does bend) make sure gear box output shaft doesn't swing through it whilst dropping in engine/gear box assembly
Using Series 2 instrumentation it is not practical to build a replica of the E type dash and cockpit. This car has a custom oak veneer and vinyl dash, oak veneer door panels, vinyl seats and grey carpets. Not quite original but nevertheless in keeping with the sixties style (except for the radio and immobiliser). The wiring harness supplied with the kit was barely adequate; this car is fitted with a sophisticated custom harness in which all power circuits are relay controlled and incorporate resettable circuit breakers, accessible from the cockpit.
Two years later the car is MOT'd, taxed, insured and ready to show off.

The Kings Arms, Tregony, Cornwall

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