Chuck's Jaguar D Type Build


Wiring, Instrument Panel, Part V

A Dymo model 4200 wire labeler with heat shrink wire labels were used to mark each wire on both the chassis side and the panel side. This is a handy gadget which will make future tracing of wires much easier. When the panel is in place it will be an easy matter to just match up the wires labeled with identical descriptions. Quarter inch tubing was used on most of the wire with just a couple requiring 3/8”. The font was set at 8 point.


Each wire has a ring connector crimped in place. Heat shrink was used.


Flat labels were also made to mark the circuit breakers.


Braided wire sleeve is used in several locations. It has a vintage look and provides good chafe protection. A little tip: the braided wire sleeve material tends to fray at the ends. A soldering iron gently dabbed on the ends seals the material and keeps it intact.


The nuts on the screws that pass through and are on the engine side of the fire wall are metal lock nuts. Using Nyloc nuts in the engine compartment is typically not recommended. Frankly regular nuts would have been fine.


Several wires had to be directly joined. These connectors are sold under several brand names and are really cool. They are clear heat shrink with a band of solder inside a metal ring in the center. The two wires are inserted, the bare ends meeting in the center ring. When a heat gun is used to shrink the tubing, it also melts the bead of solder making a solid connection. Although probably not necessary, I typically add a section of black heat shrink over the entire connection. They come in different sizes.


Holes are not being drilled into the forward frame unless absolutely necessary. Straps can be seen around frame members to hold accessories in pictures of original D Types, such as the heat shield protecting the wire harness on the left side. When securing wire to the frame our practice is to wrap a length of friction tape (not electrical tape) around the frame member and then use a wire tie to secure wires. When wire ties are wrapped around wires under the hood friction tape is first wrapped around the wires.


With the primary chassis wiring now complete we can replace the instrument panel and complete the connections from the panel to the chassis and other wiring items.


Wiring, Instrument Panel, Part VI

With the chassis wiring in place the panel was replaced. Again. I have lost track of the number of times it has been off and on.

The connections from the panel to the terminal strips were completed, removing and then reinstalling the terminal strips for ease of access. Once all the wiring was in place the panel connections were checked with a volt-ohm meter at the junction boxes to confirm the lighting, fuel pump, and radiator fan circuits were working.


A pair of Hella high/low note horns were installed on the aft side of the rear fire wall since a convenient and suitable location under the bonnet was not apparent. (Has anyone seen horns under the bonnet of an original D Type?)



These Hella horns are LOUD and have a hearty note, befitting the stature of the D Type.

The horn button will be mounted on the right-side kick panel, as seen on some originals.

Per the suggestion of Dave and Ken an inertia switch was added, mounting it next to the terminal strips out of sight but accessible from the driver’s seat. It could have been wired on the relay switch side or the fuel pump side of the circuit. We opted to wire it on the relay side since the current will be minimal on that half of the circuit.


There is still a bit more ‘clean up’ of the exposed wire particularly on the passenger side, but that will have to wait until the panel is removed, disassembled, painted, and reinstalled. Again. Next we plan to relocate the battery to under the passenger seat.
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Which battery are you going with? I really like my Braille AGM batteries, 21 lb in my GTM easily spins my LS3, 17 lb in my Esprit (turbo I-4). Mount them in any orientation.


Which battery are you going with? I really like my Braille AGM batteries, 21 lb in my GTM easily spins my LS3, 17 lb in my Esprit (turbo I-4). Mount them in any orientation.
I am planning on using an Odyssey PC1100. Puts out 650 CCA. 3.8" deep, which makes it a good fit. Which specific Braille AGM are you using? I did not see one with comparable specs that was under 4" deep.
My 21 lb is the B3121 at 550 CCA, it is too big for your purposes at 5.2" wide (but still a TINY car battery, easily fits in the backbone tunnel of my GTM). The 17 lb is the B2317 with a 4" width, 475 CCA.
The B2618 shows a 3.5" width, 18.5 lb, 472 CCA.


Battery Relocation

The battery was relocated from behind the rear fire wall, where access was difficult, to under the passenger seat. The RCR D Type passenger compartment is lowered three inches compared to the original to better fit the girth of twenty first century drivers (explaining the exposed aluminum below the fiberglass rocker panels). This extra depth means there is more space under the seats (and makes running a rear exhaust under the body all but impossible).

An advantage of the AGM battery is it can be mounted in any position except upside down. Laid on its side there will be more than enough clearance below the seat due to the narrow 3.80 inch depth of the Odyssey PC1100.

Negative and positive battery bulkhead connectors were mounted on the tunnel for clean battery cable transitions from the tunnel to under the seat. This was also a good time to install heat reflective insulation on the inner side of the tunnel.



The battery cutoff switch in the vertical transmission tunnel was wired with the same 1/0 wire.


The metal battery holder we designed and built to be placed on the back side of the rear fire wall was simply laid on its side and secured under the passenger seat. If you missed that project, here is the link.


After the battery was connected with 4 gauge wire, we did one more electrical check. The MSD ignition and fuel pump were disconnected, the ignition turned on, and the starter switch pushed. The engine turned over smartly. We repeated this four times for fifteen seconds each bringing the oil pressure up, satisfied that the battery had ample power to turn the engine over and that the ignition wiring was correct.

Wiring is DONE!

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Wiring is a major hurdle - particularly if you’re trying to keep everything neat & tidy to replicate the original… Congratulations!


Doors, Part I

The weld bulges on the tub under the rockers were ground smooth. The body was placed and pulled in tight with duct tape. Eighth inch holes were drilled, evenly spaced through the fiberglass and the aluminum tub. Note that the spacing will be slightly different on each side since the door openings are different lengths. The body was then removed and the holes in the tub drilled and tapped screws. The matching eighth inch holes in the fiberglass were then drilled to match the screw diameter.

The bottom side of the fiberglass lip was sanded smooth so it would fit flush on the tub. The body was set in place and screws placed to secure the body.



When the serious body work gets started, an aluminum strip will cover the fiberglass and counter sunk screws may be used.


the location of the body confirmed, the hinges can be placed.


Doors, Part II

The RCR hinges are nice pieces, sturdy and well made. But variations in the fiberglass doors created alignment issues. Measurement of the doors revealed significant differences from one side to the other requiring adjustments to assure a proper fit.

There is a fold line in the aluminum tub which was used as a reference line. The goal was to set the hinge base even with and parallel to that line to keep the hinge base straight.


The hinge base was set forward of the door opening about an eighth inch. This will leave room for the aluminum panel that will cover the area. The goal was to maintain the same position and spacing on both the driver and passenger side.


The preliminary location of the holes was marked on the green tape so the holes could be drilled after the body was removed. The holes in the hinges are 3/8” however we are using ¼” bolts to permit a bit of movement to fine tune the alignment. It is critical that the holes in the tub be perfectly centered, so a pattern was made and holes marked with a centering punch. A 1/16” hole was drilled in the pattern which will be match drilled on the chassis.



The base half of the hinges will not be secured to the tub until the fit is confirmed after the door half of the hinges are temporarily placed. I hope this all makes sense.


Doors, Part III

The body was put back in place. Again. The doors were held in place with duct tape so that the door half of the hinges could be installed.


Measuring the doors revealed a slight difference in the outside length between the right and left sides. More significantly, the setback between the leading edge of the door and the surface that the hinge mounts to was about a half inch different, side to side. This required the addition a spacer cut from HDPE Starboard tapered to fit properly on the driver side door.



The chassis and door halves of the hinges were bolted together with a 3” bolt, two washers, and a nyloc nut. White lithium grease will be used on both sides of the washer pivot location when final assembly occurs. With the chassis half resting in the previously determined position, the location of the bolts that will hold the hinge to the door was marked and drilled with a ¼” bit. As on the tub, the use of ¼” bolts will permit some movement to fine tune the alignment.

Once satisfied with the alignment, the body was removed (again) so that the chassis hinge holes could be drilled and tapped, now that their location has been confirmed. Proper alignment is critical! The base holes were drilled using the template made earlier and tapped for ¼” coarse bolts. Because of the thickness of the tub, tapping for coarse thread bolts should provide ample strength. The bolts will not be over tightened and when finally assembled a bit of blue Locktite may be used.


The body was put back in place (again) so final alignment could be confirmed. Some contact was found between the door half of the hinge and the fiberglass when the door was fully opened, so a bit of trimming will be needed on both hinges. The goal was for the doors to open just past 90 degrees so that they will stay open.


This completes the preliminary placement of the door hinges, but there is much more to do. The body was removed (again) and the door project put on hold so the wiring could be completed.

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Great work on those hinges / shims! Door hinges can be one of the most challenging tasks because of the critical nature in their function and alignment.
On my GT40, I labored for many hours before I threw in the towel on the door attachment points and changed their mounting points via shims, HSRF and steel backers. With the addition of the anti-intrusion beams, I was finally able to get repeatable alignment after dozens of door slammings with the gaskets in place.


Doors, Part IV

The body was put back on the car (I have lost track of the number of times it has been off and on). The door pocket openings were cut, larger than the molded recessed section, to approximate the look of the original more closely. The plan is to add a thin aluminum panel on the flat surface around the pocket opening when the serious body work begins.


A third 3/8” hole was added to the door side of the hinge to better distribute the load where it attached to the thin fiberglass. Several matching shims were cut from thin aluminum to fine tune the alignment and to provide reinforcement backing inside the door.



Time was spent grinding away material on the door half of the hinges where they contacted the fiberglass to assure that both opened the same distance and just far enough to stay open.


A sleeve was cut from 3/8” I.D. steel tube and machined so the ends were perfectly square and the inside diameter matched the bolt diameter. It was and added to the hinge so that no distortion would occur when the hinge bolts was tightened. A nylon washer was used to reduce friction.


A lot of time was spent aligning the doors. The quarter inch bolts in the 3/8” holes permitted enough adjustment to achieve a near perfect eighth inch gaps on the bottom and both ends of the doors.


Next is the installation of the latches.
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Doug M

Chuck, beautiful work as always. I’m screenshotting so much of this for inspiration and downright duplication. The idea of making the door hole bigger is brilliant. I’d like to think that would have occurred to me eventually, but I’m thankful for the wealth of information you provide us.

Have you decided on what latch and striker pin you’ll be using? The RCR set supplied with my kit are quality parts, but seem more appropriate for a GM B body car and thus overkill for tiny fiberglass half-doors.

Edit : Did some researching and parts googling. Based on a Jaguar factory photo, it looks like the D Types (the early ones at least) used a ‘slam latch’ type of system. Looks like a more simplistic and vintage setup for such tiny lightweight doors. Downside is that some trim would need to be installed to prevent door rattle.
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Good find! Yes indeed that looks like the original

Inner door panel.JPG


Gripwell End Slam Latch has a version that also looks like the original. data sheet attached. I was not able to find a supplier on line, but someone should have them for sale. The GD9-G22388 looks like the correct match.

slam latch.jpg

I am using the Bear Claw slim line latch, which I suspect is what RCR is including with the kit. The Mini Bear Claw latch would be a better option, although once installed probably would not make much difference.,351907.html I am still working out the plans, more details to come.

Thoughts about using an original style slam latch:

1. The set back on the RCR door panel is about an inch or more while the original D Type is around a half inch, as can be seen in the pics above. A half inch or so solid block would have to be added to the door jamb to hold the receiver side which would add another half inch, so you end up with at least an inch protrusion from the door jamb.

2. The RCR fiber glass door is much heavier than the original ally door. How sturdy a slam latch would be could be an issue.

3. The shape of the inside of the RCR door is markedly different than the original so the location of the receiver would be different than the original.

4. A receiver and a separate door stop would need to be machined.

Nonetheless it certainly looks doable and would be a nice touch.

Using the Bear Claw latch will likewise require an extension added to the door jamb if it is installed inside the door, so aesthetically there may not be much difference.

The easiest solution is to install the Bear Claw on the aft outside of the door and the stud on the door jamb. This would avoid having to add an extension for the receiver / stud. The one inch gap would be about right for this set up. I suspect that is why RCR designed that gap to those dimensions. But every time you open the door the ugly bear claw latch will be in plain view. Ugh. But a thin aluminum panel with a cut out for the stud could help hide it.

I have been working on the door jamb / latch project for a couple of weeks and when I confirm it will work plan to post the details. It has been a huge time consuming project. Now, back to work . . . . . .


  • Gripwell - GD9 End Slam Latch.pdf
    448.9 KB · Views: 57
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Perhaps use a Morris Minor striker plate

Interesting. A spring loaded striker would make the original style slam latch work more smoothly.

Doug M

Chuck, great points. #4 was my biggest concern, but #2 is news to me. Having never actually touched a real D Type, I was unaware of the door weight. Though it makes sense because they’re basically just used for aerodynamics.

I’ll probably go the bear claw method. Having the latch on the outside is an interesting idea since it would make the installation easier. I think there’s a certain beauty in function over form, so I’m not too concerned about the ugliness.

This is basically the latch kit that came with my kit. The latches are around 2.5” x 4”. Would like to perhaps find similar but smaller setup.



If mounting on the outside of the door, consider the Mini Bear Claw latch. It is smaller than the one RCR provided and should be perfectly adequate.

A slot will need to be cut so that the latch release can be accessed from inside the door, which is not a big deal. An aluminum cover plate could be made to cover the slot after it is installed.

Here are a couple of sources:
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Doug M

Thanks Chuck. I was looking through the old pictures I took years back at RCR and it looks like your idea is the method they used for the turn key builds. I might try to make that work since I have the parts already.


One last question. Did you employ the ‘1/4 bolt in the 3/8 hole’ method for adjusting the hinge attachment to the door?


Bingo! That is exactly the way I had assumed RCR intended it to be done. The section of aluminum covering the inside of the door is something else I had intended to to. Eventually.

Yes indeed, use quarter inch bolts in the 3/8" holes on the base of the hinge. Note the critical importance of centering the hole, as detailed in the February 15th post.