Chuck's Jaguar D Type Build


Center Tunnel, Part III

Three ribs were added. The forward rib butts against the front tunnel opening and effectively seals it from the engine area. The aft rib sets about a fourth of the length from the rear. The third rib was roughly centered between the other two ribs forward of the shifter opening.

Quarter inch thick Last-A-Foam was used to form the ribs which were covered with a layer of glass on both sides. The edges were filled with West epoxy mixed with 406 Colloidal Silica. Once dry they were glued in place with the same material and a bit of a fairing added to the joint for more strength.




The tunnel cover extends below the sides of the tunnel and forward of the top of the tunnel by about an inch so screws can be placed for a solid connection. However, we wanted to assure it would be robust and solid, so quarter inch square strips were added on each side using West Epoxy mixed with 406 Colloidal Adhesive to secure them in place. These strips will transfer whatever weight is placed on the tunnel to the top of the aluminum tunnel walls.


Two more layers of fiberglass were added for a total of five layers.

More to do . . . .
Knobs and Switches

The switches originally found on the D Type include headlights, side lamps, panel dimmer, push to start, and ignition key. Pretty simple. But it took many hours finding original looking parts.

Current registration requirements in most states require wipers, horn, turn signals, and hazard warning, so those needed to be added. (Our wipers will be manual, avoiding the need for a switch). To keep the layout as close to the original as possible, a single switch will be used for both the headlight and side lamps. This left a switch to be used for the emergency flashers. There remained enough space at the top of the panel for a turn signal. The horn button will be added to the right kick panel just forward of the door, as seen on several original D Types.

View attachment 132955

Obviously, a D Type race car does not use turn signals, so if turn signals had been added in the mid-fifties, how would Jaguar do it? How about with the pneumatic self-cancelling panel mounted device used on other Jags of that period? It will be located at the top of the panel below the center spine where it will be only visible from the driver’s seat.

View attachment 132956

View attachment 132957

The switches we used:

1. Headlight and side lamp switch Lucas 34477 (This is a near perfect copy of the original, although the original had a deflector that snapped on it, which will be a project for another day)

2. Panel dimmer switch Lucas 78405. This will be wired to the panel light for the tach and speedo. The other gauges will not be illuminated.

3. Panel light (Which is a license plate light. This exact one was seen on two original D’s at Goodwood) BHA4283

4. Horn button Lucas. This will be mounted on the right kick panel just forward of the door hinge.

5. Push to start button and switch. Special order from Robin Human, England. This a NOS switch with a new backlight button. [email protected]

6. Turn signal switch.
a. Lucas 31250 pneumatic auto off

b. Lucas 27H5511 switch

7. Ignition and Turn signal panel indicator lights. (Used on many period Jaguars). Moss part number 142-200.

8. Headlight dimmer switch Lucas 542-120. It looks like a foot switch but was in fact used as a panel switch on several British cars of the period.

9. Headlight dip indicator light. This is an excellent copy of the original. Large vintage light sourced from:

10. Keyed ignition switch. Cole Hersee 9622-01-BX. This is a simple on – off switch, necessary to provide clearance from the starter switch.

11. Hazard warning switch. A simple pull on switch matches the others. Lucas SPB-104

With the switches on hand, we can start laying out the panel.
Hey Chuck
Are you planning on lighting up the Fin? Would you use the panel light(license light)?

Doug M

Dino, I know you asked Chuck, but since he encourages conversation from everyone… I’m definitely planning on lighting up mine. I’ll also add the white roundels all around and also a number yet to be determined. I’m doing it for several reasons, but safety is a big reason because of the lack of marker lights. Any additional lights or reflective (white) areas will certainly make it more visible at night.

That being said, I believe that generally the license plate lights were used… probably the same ones used in the cockpit to light up the dash.



I agree. That tail fin light is a good touch. It appears to be the same as the one used for the instrument panel light noted in a prior post.


Tunnel Cover, Part III

Another detail on the tunnel is the engine starter cover.


A form was made using the same techniques as used for the tunnel cover. Three layers of glass were applied to the starter cover. It was trimmed so that the top was horizontal and then it was glued in place using the same epoxy mix.


The starter cover location does not match the look of the original as close as we would have liked. The shifter is several inches further aft due to the different geometry of the Tremec transmission. The enlargement of the interior by RCR to accommodate the growing girth of the current generation affects the set back from the fire wall. But hopefully few will notice.

Holes were drilled along the lower edge and tapped for ¼” screws. The screws do not carry any weight so only four were needed.


Heat reflective insulation was added on the inside.


The tunnel will be completely covered with a mat material as seen in the pictures of the originals previously posted so none of the fiberglass will be visible. Accordingly, I do not see any need to paint it.



Doug M

Fabulous stuff. I guess in my head, I thought of the RCR supplied transmission tunnel cover as extra structural strength because it’s the same gauge thickness as the rest of the aluminum. I guess it’s just more efficient to crank it out with the rest of the parts during tub production. I might try your fiberglass method, or try making an aluminum one that’s thinner and lighter and easier to remove.

Also, I see you’re adding an extension piece on the dash for two extra gauges. I’m planning on doing the same for fuel and voltage.


Fabulous stuff. I guess in my head, I thought of the RCR supplied transmission tunnel cover as extra structural strength because it’s the same gauge thickness as the rest of the aluminum. I guess it’s just more efficient to crank it out with the rest of the parts during tub production. I might try your fiberglass method, or try making an aluminum one that’s thinner and lighter and easier to remove.

Also, I see you’re adding an extension piece on the dash for two extra gauges. I’m planning on doing the same for fuel and voltage.

Amazing! The two gauges I am adding are fuel and voltage too. Once I get them set up I will post pics.

The tunnel cover could easily be duplicated in aluminum, but as Ryan pointed out, it needs to be sturdy enough to support you body weight since one would likely use it to push in or out of the car. That means a pretty substantial piece of ally and / or ribs to brace it.

The massive cover that RCR sells with the car does not add anything to the structural rigidity of the tub.


Vertical Tunnel Cover, Part I

Our goal was to capture the feel of the original, as seen in this picture:


A pattern was made for the vertical tunnel cover. The top is about a half inch shy of reaching the inside surface of the fiberglass body so that a weather strip section can be applied.


The cover was cut from 18-gauge aluminum. The hole was cut with a saber saw. Note that the hole is slightly oval, not round. The sides were bent so that it fit squarely over the lower tunnel.

An aluminum tray was made to set inside the opening to hold traveling trinkets, like a cell phone or extra keys.


The oval opening on the original had a turned edge. To recreate this a form was cut out of high density fiber board and an eighth inch radius edge was routed. The edge was than hammer formed on a thin piece of aluminum which will be riveted in place, as was done on the original.


All the bits were clecoed in place and the fit confirmed.


Much more to do.


Vertical Tunnel Cover, Part II

A 12” by 1 ¼” length of 20-gauge aluminum was folded in half and then formed into a half circle using a shrinker. Both a male and female pattern were cut from foam core board to check the progress while shrinking. This was a very slow process that took a couple of hours’ time with repeated gentle pushes on the foot pedal.


The curved support needed to be riveted to the vertical tunnel cover located so that the fiberglass tunnel cover set firmly on it. The challenge was determining exactly where that attachment point should be. To accomplish this, the curved support was set in place about a quarter inch too high and held with a pair of cleco clamps. The fiberglass tunnel cover was set in place and pushed downward until fully seated, moving the curved support downward but in contact with the tunnel cover. The tunnel cover was then removed and the location of the curved support marked.


Before riveting, a half circle was cut below the curved support to assure adequate drive shaft clearance.

A word about riveting. We used 1/8” long by 1/8” diameter pull rivets. The rivets that are primarily cosmetic around the oval hole are aluminum. Those that are more functional, including holding the curved angle support, are stainless steel. Holes were carefully marked and drilled with a Number 40 (3/32) bit and silver clecos placed, one at a time. The holes were than enlarged to Number 30 (1/8”) and copper clecos placed, one at a time. Next all the clecos were removed and all holes deburred. The parts were then reassembled with the copper clecos and rivets pulled. This assured that everything remained aligned. This is a standard technique followed with airplane construction.



It was a very long day. More to do.


Lifetime Supporter
Not trying to be a smartass here ;)(altough being good in this) but, ...... I told you... sheet metal artist..... I'm afraid you are doing the tunnel cover once more, soon.... :)


Vertical Tunnel Cover, Part III

Two sections of 12” by 1 ¼” long 20-gauge aluminum were folded in half and attached to the sides. The aft hole securing the inside tray also served as a rivet location. Since this is not a high-tension location, aluminum rivets were used on the tunnel cover. The fire wall side was drilled and tapped for quarter inch screws so that the vertical tunnel cover could be easily removed when needed.


The original had a junction box located just above the opening on the passenger side and a grommet for wires to pass through on the driver’s side. Although not easily seen due to the center divider, we added that detail and will likely use it as we wire the D.

A length of the same weather stripping used to seal the fore and aft firewalls, discussed in prior posts, was added to the top of the vertical tunnel cover. This adds support to the fiberglass yet permits easy removal.


The inside of the opening was lined with the same black poster board used on the glove box. It was sprayed with satin polyurethane. Additional non functional rivets were added to emulate the look of the original.


This project is done!



Wiring, Sub Panels, Part I

On the original D, the fuse boxes, voltage regulator, and other electronic components were mounted on raised panels directly in front of the passenger, fully exposed, so that the components could be easily accessed.

Two raised panels were fabricated. The odd shaped panel holds the two fuse boxes, a dummy voltage regulator, and the red charge light controller. The rectangular panel holds two components required by the Lucas alternator (voltage regulator and relay). Plans were drawn up to confirm the dimensions and the 20-gauge aluminum cut. (18 gauge would be better).


We wanted to create a smoothly rounded lip around the perimeter of both panels. Forms were cut from ¾” high density board and the edges routed with a 1/8” radius. The forms were then securely screwed down on a heavy piece of butcher block and the screws counter sunk.


The aluminum was temporarily screwed to the form with small screws to hold it firmly in place. Using a ball peen hammer the edges were gently hammered around the edge of the form.


The third raised panel will hold the Lucas voltage regulator and alternator relay.


Angled sections were riveted on the ends of both panels to provide a convenient attachment point to the firewall. Rivets were used to keep with the vintage theme. The components were temporarily secured to the panel with appropriate hardware.





Wiring, Sub Panels, Part II

The fuse boxes and nonfunctioning voltage regulator were assembled. One of the fuse boxes will be wired directly to the battery primarily for lights. The second will be wired to the ignition. Because each will have common connections on one side of the fuses, a stiff wire was bent to join the fuses together on the bottom side.


The center panel, which holds the electronic voltage regulator and additional alternator component, was assembled and the panel mounted. With the instrument panel in place the location of these components could finally be determined.


For now all the panels are only held in place with clecos. Once the wiring is finalized and the body is in place they will be secured with screws. Now the instrument panel wiring can proceed.

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Auxiliary Instrument Panel

On several original D Types an auxiliary panel can be seen on the left side with a variety of gauges and / or switches added, ranging from a fuel pressure gauge to a fire suppression lever. We want to add a (1) fuel level gauge, (2) volt or amp gauge, and (3) a four-way flasher switch, and turn indicator lights, so an auxiliary panel was the solution.

Space limits us to two gauges, so only a fuel level and volt gauge will be used. After considering many alternatives including Smiths, Classic Instruments, Stewart Warner, VDO, and others, only the Classic Instruments met our needs: flat black rim, white text and needle, and text that closely matches the existing Smith gauges. Since they will be located far from the Smith gauges in a location not readily visible except to the driver, these will work. The Classic Instruments are expensive, but they are made in the US and our prior experience using them on a Shelby Cobra was good.


As is our practice, a pattern was made and 18 gauge aluminum was cut and formed.


Holes were drilled in the inner support and grommets placed for future wiring.


We set the gauges in place and tested the fit.


Now instrument panel wiring can begin.
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