Chuck's Jaguar D Type Build


Doors, Part V

A lot of time was spent exploring options for the door latches. RCR provided Bear Claw latches which we had used on the GT 40 where they proved to be solid and reliable. Doug has raised the possibility of using a slam type latch as was seen on the original D Type. Regardless of the type of latch, the aft door jambs need to be fabricated.

Several different options and patterns were made before we came up with this design. Recall our goal is to be able to remove the fiberglass body from the chassis when the D Type is finished which was a factor in this approach.

The fiberglass around the jamb opening was carefully trimmed to three quarters of an inch. The back side was sanded to assure a smooth matting surface for the aluminum jamb. The jamb will be placed on the back side of the ¾” lip.



Two patterns were made for both the door jamb and the side section that ties it to the aft panel. The dimensions shown are approximate. Note the ¾” lips on both panels. These provide the anchoring points to the tub. By making a ‘box’ the structure will be solid enough to work well with the door latch. The corner where the two pieces meet will be joined with an angle section riveted in place.



The door jamb section was cut from 16-gauge and the side section from 18-gauge with a jig saw. The opening cut in the side provides access to the screws holding the door jamb in place and the adjusting nut on the latch stud. The opening on the side section will be completely covered by the seat cushion. Note that the panels are different on the right and left sides because of variations in the fiberglass body. Not visible is a cleco on the back side of the door jamb holding it temporarily in place. (We did some experimenting with a spacer and the latch stud, explaining what is visible in this picture.)


With the parts fabricated, the door jamb box was assembled with 20-gauge riveted angle strips after first being dulled with a green Scotch Brite pad. Since these same general dimensions will be used in multiple locations, a pattern was made so that the rivets will be evenly located.


Satisfied with the design and construction of the door jamb, latch options could be explored.

Doug M

Great job! I’ve spent much of the weekend working on my doors thanks to your guidance. The previous picture I posted of the RCR built door was a major ‘crop and zoom’ of the photo I took, which is why I didn’t really notice it until latch options were being discussed.

My main reason for seeking smaller latches was when I was planning on installing them inside the door and cutting an access hole for the claws themselves. Now that things are much clearer, I’ll probably go with the RCR supplied parts for ease of maintenance.


Doors, Part VI

The design of the RCR fiberglass doors presents challenges. First, these fiberglass doors are hefty for their size and I am sure they are much heavier than the original D’s aluminum doors, so reasonably stout latches were indicated. Second, the setback distance between the aft side of the door and the jamb is approximately an inch. Based on looking at many original photographs, that is more than double the setback on the original D Type. The easiest solution would be to attach the Bear Claw latch provided by RCR to the outside of the door and attach the stud to the door jamb. The spacing should be close.


The picture illustrates why we opted against this option. That latch is bit unsightly. (There is a Bear Claw “Mini” which would be a better, less conspicuous, option but functionally identical to the Bear Claw “Slimline” shown).

We opted to use the Bear Claw, but mount it inside the door where it will not be seen. Only the latch lock mechanism is visible. The dimensions were plotted and the opening cut.



A pair of ¼ x ¾” screws hold the latch in place. Next, an aluminum panel was added to further clean up the look.



When the serious body work begins an aluminum panel will cover the inside surface of the door which will make the latch mechanism even less noticeable.


Doors, Part VII

The distance from the jamb to the inside of the door latch is over an inch. Not wanting a door stud that long, we needed a way to extend the stud but make it mechanically solid and adjustable and still have an acceptable appearance. After a lot of thought, we came up with a design for mounting the studs.


It took a couple of days to turn the stud mounting brackets on the lathe. (I’m still a novice with the lathe / mill.) The advantages of this design include being able to use the studs that came with the Bear Claw kit, adjustability, and added rigidity of the door jamb.


The angle of the latch and the jamb are slightly different. To assure as smooth latching as possible, a tapered ring was cut from HDPE, tapered to match the angles, and then mounted between the brackets and the back side of the door jamb. It took a lot of sanding to get the precise dimensions to assure a proper alignment. The dimensions shown are approximate.


We temporarily assembled these parts. After a bit of trimming and adjusting the latches worked very well, closing with a solid ‘thunk’ and securing the door firmly in place with an even gap all the way around.


A trim piece was cut to cover the bottom edge of the jamb, mimicking the original. Once all the pieces were cut and trimmed, they were riveted together with 1/8” aluminum rivets after 'polishing' with a Scotchbrite pad.


When using stainless screws with threaded aluminum, anti-seize is used. Where possible a dab of torque seal is applied so we know it has been assembled for (hopefully) the last time. This is a picture of the backside of the assembled jamb.


More to do . . . . .


Doors, Part VIII

The assembled jambs were set in place with a single cleco to temporarily secure it. Later when the body is removed (again) three holes will be drilled and tapped to secure the jambs with quarter inch screws. The side pieces were clecoed in place for now. Three holes will be drilled and tapped on the aft lip to hold it in place after the body is removed (again).




Adjusting the stud was a simple matter of closing the door and then tightening the nut on the back side, which is easily accessed through the side panel opening. The hours of time trimming and fitting were well spent. The door closes and latches in place very well.

A design for a section of weather stripping to cushion the closure of the door and prevent rattling is in the works. The next big project will be the design and construction of the seats.


Doors, Part IX

The design of the doors with there upward opening angle means that in a moment of inattention it could slam shut with a damaging bang. A simple way of making sure the door remains in the open position when getting in or out was the goal. After a lot of head scratching a simple solution was found. Leather washers! By inserting three leather washers between the contact surfaces and tightening the 3/8” bolt to 35 inch pounds of torque (NOT foot pounds), there was enough resistance that the door would remain in the open position even if open at less than the ninety-degree point, but it still closed smoothly.

The washers with 3/8” holes came from McMaster Carr. They fit perfectly. They only come in bags of 25, but they are inexpensive and we now have plenty of spares.


All surfaces were cleaned of the lubricant that had been applied before. The nylon washer referred to in a prior post was pitched. A longer four-inch bolt was needed. A solid washer remains below the head of the bolt and the nut to assure a good mating surface for the leather washer.


I suspect that the washer will wear over time and the hinge bolt will need to be tightened, but that is a small price to pay if the door stays put in the open position.

I am wondering if anyone has come up with another solution for this issue?

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Chuck, could you maybe get away with a Bellville (spring washer) washer in a sandwich between two nylon or leather washers?


Anyone following this build blog knows I have a penchant for preparing patterns.

The current airplane project is drawing to a close so work on the D can resume. Straightening up the shop, I laid out the collection of patterns and forms that have been accumulating for more years than I care to admit.


The seats are next.

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Chuck, your work here and on anything else you’ve shared with us, is absolutely top notch!
Are you still working (you know - that job thing) ?
I try to not over-comment on builds, but rest assured I consume every post and appreciate them a lot!