British Car Boneyard Tour: Kilroy, Uh, I Mean, Lucas Was Here!


Back in June, in The Year Of Our Lord 2012 (damn, was that really almost eight years ago? Holy crap.), your author was able to finagle access to this eclectic collection of parts cars and Veddy British remnants after hearing about it from my brother Andy. It is not a big place, but it has some pretty interesting remains of Old Blighty. For instance, this Jaguar S-Type. Produced from 1963 to 1968, it was intended as a slightly fancier version of the venerable 3.8 Jaguar Mark II, and in fact was a Mark II, except for the new roofline, and caboose. It didn’t really take off though. Only about 25,000 were sold in six model years. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the one visible wheel is sporting a redline tire, like a late ’60s muscle car.

Falcon, MGB and TR-8

What reputable British car yard would be without an MGB? This one actually still looks fairly solid. Just to its left is a 1966-70 Ford Falcon coupe. And we’ll get to that orange doorstop in a little while.

All but extinct in the Midwest

These early to mid ’80s Supras have all but disappeared in the Midwest, so I was happy to see a survivor here. These used to be pretty common in the ’80s and early ’90s.

Mark II

Here we have a very weathered Jaguar “Mark I” sedan. It was actually called either the 2.4 or 3.4 Litre by Jaguar, but when the legendary Mark II came out, the earlier versions were retroactively called Mark Is. They are most easily distinguished from Mark IIs by thicker door pillars.

Wood dash still present!

Though very rough, the 2.4 Litre is in better shape than the S-Type, as it still has all its glass and most of its interior – including the wood dash.

These cars were very nice looking, and one of the first really sporting four door sedans. Before this car, sport sedans were rather few and far between. In a way, the current XF is the spiritual successor to this car, as it fills a similar market niche.

Leaper still in decent shape!

Most of the trim is there, including the Leaper and the grille badge, which confirms this car is a 2.4 Litre. This car has a lot of character, even in its current state. The XF I previously mentioned, although attractive for a modern car, looks like a bar of soap next to one of these.


This is the first TR8 convertible I’ve seen in a long time. The TR8 was essentially a TR7 with the Rover V8 instead of an inline four, and a convertible joined the coupe at the same time. It was too late for Triumph though, and the TR8 would be the last sporting Triumph. Let us not speak of the rebadged Honda Accord known as the Triumph Acclaim. Acclaim? Really? Oh, those wild and crazy guys at BL.

MGB being overtaken by foliage

Here’s another MGB, looking a little more tattered than the BRG one nearby. Looks like the same color orange as the TR8. And remember the oh so ’70s “MGB” stripe? I’ve seen a restored one with that stripe and it looks pretty good.


This Spitfire looks like its taking a nap, with the XJ6 hood over it to keep it warm – and protecting it from bird target practice, apparently.

S-Type closeup

Here’s another photo of that S-Type. As you can see, the interior is basically nonexistent, though the steering wheel looked nice. It still had the horn ring and Jaguar emblem too.

Just needs a few parts…

How about a “Bugeye” Sprite? Oh, it does need a few parts though. That Beetle on the right was a pretty solid convertible, although in need of a new top. I always liked orange Beetles, they just look so cheerful. It also has the accessory styled steel wheels, as also seen on contemporary Karmann-Ghias and 914s.

Note: Not a Datsun…

Here’s a TR3, looking much more complete than the Sprite nearby. Do you know what car is sitting to its right?

Smashed Spitfire

It was hard to tell at first, but I’m pretty sure it’s a ’70s Triumph TR6 – a severely smashed one. That chrome tubing and blue square towards the top is the trunklid and accessory luggage rack. Something very big rearranged this poor car. I hope no one was in it at the time.

I actually thought it was a Spitfire, but as I was writing this article, I noticed that the hood doesn’t extend down to the sides. The remains of the rear taillight and what I can see of the instrument panel changed my mind.

E-Type coupe

If you love E-Types, you may want to skip the next few pictures. Yes, there were a couple here. This one looks to be a Series 1, as it has the smaller taillights above the bumpers. It may be missing its front end. There was so much vegetation it was hard to tell for sure.

This one, like the S-Type, has no interior, though in this shot you can see the tachometer is still there.

Flame-broiled E-Type

This may be the saddest one. It clearly had an engine fire at some point in time, and looked have been in fair condition before that happened. The paint and chrome – what was left – still looked pretty nice. Shame.

Jag six (I think)

Towards the front of the lot was a bunch of parts engines. I think this one is an XJ6 engine, but I’m not sure.

upside-down Jaguar engine

Further down the row was an upside-down Jaguar straight six. I know this one was a Jag engine as the side of the block is stamped with a vintage Jaguar logo. If you click on the photo, you’ll probably see it.

Late ’80s 924S

The shop also had some cars for sale outside. I especially liked this late ’80s 924S, complete with the classic “Porsche” rocker lettering. While the 944s were nice, I like the combination of the original 924 styling and phone-dial alloys.

I will end our visit with an especially odd couple – an ’80s Alfa Romeo Spyder and a ’63 Rambler Classic. A Rambler? What’s a Rambler doing here? Well, I’m glad it is, as these cars are rarely seen these days. And it’s a ’63, with the classier front end that was lost in the ’64 restyle. Hope you enjoyed your tour. And remember folks: Keep calm, Brougham on, and always tip your bartender…

Frumpy and sexy!

32 Replies to “British Car Boneyard Tour: Kilroy, Uh, I Mean, Lucas Was Here!”

  1. John C.

    Interesting the presence of that 80s Supra with all the British ancients. Shops like this worked hard to keep the old British metal on the road. To hear the lazy snear crowd, no easy task despite their old car simplicity. Why bother, it’s only heritage?

    Yet here is the Supra. The car magazines told us this is what the F body should have been, and richly deserved it’s premium pricing. Yet in early middle age compared to these British cars,, they have disappeared. No shops labour to achieve originality as with the older British or American muscle car shops. Maybe thats because there was no heritage. There was just a committee of our Japanese friends stealing tech to put together a car that checks boxes on a laundry list of features that they have no idea how to tune. They were not going to be driving it after all, it was just for export. Just a job, no passion no genius, no outrageous mistakes, an appliance. Let it die apparently, no one has the passion to save it, least of all the Japanese.

    • stingray65

      To some extent the problem with Japanese collectibles is that they were such good cars originally they were driven as daily drivers and succumbed to high mileage and/or rust. Most old British cars (when new or late model used) were too unreliable or impractical to use as daily drivers, and thus as a 2nd or 3rd car (toys) tended to be low mileage garage queens only taken out on nice days. Remember the old joke that Jaguar owners need to buy 2, so they always had one in reserve when the other was in the shop? The lack of reliability and consequent high survival rate probably also helped build up the after-market parts business to keep the British beasts running, which was a less attractive business model for Japanese brands because they didn’t need parts nearly as often and were junked after 10-15 years of hard driving life. This means I can buy an all new E-Type/MGB body and interior and any mechanical bits to keep it on the road, but it is near impossible to find replacement body panels, interior parts, or mechanical parts for that 80s Supra.

      The other factor that is perhaps even more important, is that the Japanese kept improving their cars. Why would someone want an old Supra, Accord, Z-car, or Corolla when the next generations were almost always better looking, faster, more comfortable, and still reasonably priced? In contrast, peak British styling and build quality was the 1950s-60s, and since that time they haven’t built anything nearly as appealing and reasonably priced as the Big Healey, Bugeye, TR3-6, MGB, Jag E-Type, Silver Clouds, etc.. Thus if you like the look you have to go old. The lack of good follow-through products is also why you don’t see much collector interest in TR7s, XJ-S, rubber bumper MGBs, Silver Spirits, etc. and why the British owned and operated motor industry no longer exists (except for F1).

      • John C.

        When our Japanese friends stuck a little closer to the playbook that the British wrote for them, say the MG clone 1960s Datsun Fairlady or of course the MG Midget with Elan affectations Miata their cars got a little of that passion for preservation/restoration. Probably a case of lack of cars with real heritage after BL was forced to knuckle under to the almighty Honda though.

        • CJinSD

          The “MG clone” Fairlady roadster actually came out before the MGB, which makes me wonder how someone can think their opinion matters on something they refuse to be right about. Those Japs copied the car we were going to make next! Brits always used to invent stuff after they saw it somewhere else. The Land Rover that was ‘invented’ when the left-over WWII Jeep they were using started to wear out comes to mind. Then there was the Range Wagoneer, which some anglophiliacs still claim was the first luxury SUV, developed seven years after the copy.

          • John C.

            Good job standing up for the Fairlady and skipping over the part where MG had telegraphed the style with the earlier Midget/Sprite. I won’t even make fun of the fair lady for trying to get by with 1.5 B series with 24 less horsepower than the mighty 1.8 B series in the MGB. I know, I know Nissan hadn’t stole the Mercedes engine yet so there were challenges.Luckily, Hitachi was only a little behind with SU carb copies.

            The question with the Fairlady wasn’t whether it was a complete ripoff because I mean what else would it be. The question really is why they only made 40,000 of them while the MGB sold 500k. We know the Datsun sold in the USA. Were none at all sold in Japan, because there was litterally no one there interested in a sporty little roadster? Must be, just another craven rip off machine to get hard currency out of chumps.

            I would defend the unique offering of both the Wagoneer and the Range Rover but I would have to talk of real men designers who never served on Japanese pixie dust committees. I will note that the Range Rover didn’t come to the USA until after the Honda takeover and there were never many Wagoneers in the Empire/Commonwealth. Trucks designed for their own people.

          • -Nate

            RE Datsun copies ~

            I had ASS-U-ME’D that everyine here knew that Datsun began making licensed copies of Morris products in the 1930’s no ? .

            This means they didn’t rip off anything although plenty of other Japanese companies did .


          • CJinSD

            I didn’t know that Nate. Datsun built Austin Seven derivatives in the ’30s, but Austin and Morris were separate companies until 1952. The first BMW cars were Austin Sevens, which must have grated a bit when BMW ended up owning the British car company for a time.

            John, the MG Midget didn’t become a convertible until the MKII in 1964, which was the equivalent of the Sprite MKIII. Though it was called the 1500 Roadster in some markets the Datsun SPL310 was always a convertible with windup windows instead of a roadster with side curtains, putting it ahead of anything from MG. The more you know! Incidentally, most British roadsters were made with the intention of running a trade surplus with the US. Few Brits could budget toy cars in the ’50s and ’60s. Why do you suppose the they didn’t even bother making versions of the MG Midget 1500 or post ’74 MGB that didn’t comply with our bumper and lighting laws, which really ruined their desirability in other markets?

          • John C.

            More MGBs were sold in the UK than all the Fairladys in the world. That does not include the Commonwealth where MGBs were assembled remember in Australia. Do you know how many Fairladys stayed in Japan? I can’t find that number.

            The Nissan Austin 7 was not licenced, unlike the first Renaults, first BMWs or the American ones which were.

            On the early Midgets, I was speaking of styling direction being set, not style of window.

            You are correct that MGB export revenue was welcome as Britain had to pay the USA on their debts from both wars, which they paid in full. Somebody paying the USA, gosh is that the only time that ever happened?

          • -Nate

            “MGB export revenue was welcome as Britain had to pay the USA on their debts from both wars, which they paid in full. ”

            ‘EXPORT OR DIE’ was the manufacturing rally cry for Great Britain after WWII .


          • John C.

            Having a big trade surplus was more an aspiration than a reality for Britain Nate. They paid workers and gave them healthcare. The unions always wanted more as they should. The dole had been made much more comfortable so the cost of work had to also go up so that a man’s labor was valued.

            This created challenges for management but to some extent they rose to the challenge. An example is the MG factory at Abingdon. Between the late 1940s through the late 1970s the capacity of the factory doubled with no expansion and the cars only becoming more complex. The could and were producing 15 times as many cars as Rolls Royce at Crewe with half the workers and a facility one third the size. Both companies were proud of the fact as it showed MG productivity and RR’s extra care. It was esspecially comprable as both factories had their car bodies coming to the from the same suppler, BL subsidery Pressed Steel.

          • -Nate

            Yes John ;

            All true but the lack of any initial quality control torpedoed the British Motor Industry .

            They’d have made a longer go of it had their products not been so incredibly wretched and breakdown prone .

            Remember please : I’m a Conservative, a Union member and a LBC lover/owner/Mechanic but I have no rose colored glasses .

            They did themselves in .


          • CJinSD

            I must admit that I kind of enjoy reading John’s romanticism of miserable failure, although it is a trifle diminished by current Pedocrat efforts to make the dole more attractive than working.

            Rob Walker, a friend of David Brown, told a funny story. In the late ’50s, David Brown rescued Aston Martin from one its periodic brushes with bankruptcy. He pumped in new capital and developed competitive cars, but the company was still losing about £300 per car. The organized labor force responded by going on the strike they felt entitled to. David Brown was not displeased, as their refusal to work saved him a substantial amount of money. He left for the US, where he had some profitable business interests to manage. After six weeks, the workers wanted to get back to work, but he couldn’t be lured back from the US just so he could lose more money. Rob Walker thought that the entitled workers were more considered in their decisions about whether to strike or not going forward.

          • John C.

            The failure was so miserable that the then current rich guy at AM Victor Gauntlet tried to save MG by trying totaking it over in 1980. He was one of those old fashioned rich guys who used his fortune to build great cars with a small team who actually knew what they were doing and he could see that the problem at MG wasn’t quality but having to compete with Triumph under the same roof.

            Imagine how much happier you would have been CJ if you could have worked for a rich real man like Brown or Gauntlet or MGB designer Don Hayter instead of that sheister turned welfare queen Jimmy Cayne.

          • CJinSD

            In 1980, Aston Martin was building the class-warfare-worthy Lagonda and some overpriced and unreliable interpretations of the 1965 Mustang. I worked with a guy whose parents had a V8 Volante. It rarely made the length of their driveway before the retrieval truck had to be called. Victor Gauntlett thought MG had quality in 1980? Is that why he built such wretched Aston Martins, and why he made a small fortune* in cars before selling out to Ford?

            * he started with a large one. I don’t want to assume you could figure that out on your own the way Trump figured that a hospital ship for servicing the non-Corona patients shouldn’t have Chinese Wuhan victims sent to it in order to kill New Yorkers to serve a political agenda that always kills millions.

          • John C.

            It is good that Gauntlet started with a big fortune and ended up with a small one because he did something with it, and here I am talking about him admiringly 40 years later.

            You taught me something about AMs though. I thought the only embarrassments were built for wall street types fronting for camel jockeys at the Kuwait wealth fund and here you are ready to point out that the real trouble was the hand made ones that were sold to welfare queens before they had been figured out. Did not know that.

            Sounds like a discussion of Maxima driving welfare queens that got government jobs from Detroit’s old hip hop mayor in return for a blow job on command. Except why would anybody talk of them anymore when the real villains have been revealed.

            You understand of course there is no reason to worry of coronavirus wherever the Navy’s Hospital Ships may be. Stingrays ultra smart friends at the Hoover Institution have assured us that the maximum number of deaths will be 1200.

          • -Nate

            “the maximum number of deaths will be 1200.”

            Already passed that number in So. Cal. John .


        • JMcG

          My first car was a 260z that I bought at a yard sale. I always regarded it as a Japanese E Type. There seems to still be a lot of interest in the early Z cars, judging by the prices they command. It was tons of fun.

          • JMcG

            John, The UK defaulted on its debt to the US for the Great War in 1932. To my knowledge it’s never been paid. That was one of many reasons why the US was adamantly against involvement in Europe during the thirties. Also one of the reasons FDR had to run his destroyers for bases and Lend Lease scams.

          • John C.

            The 260Z was indeed popular and some have been restored as original. Most famously by Nissan itself when they were between Z cars in the 90s. That marketing stunt no doubt originated in the USA.

            Also not originating in Japan was the copied from Mercedes engine. Mercedes had licenced their technology to Prince to break in to closed Japan only find it pirated when Nissan bought Prince. They also stopped paying even the licence fees because they claimed they made improvements. The twin carbs on your car were Hitachi copies of English SUs. The auto if your car had it was Ford stolen through JATCO.

            The design was quite nice and the work of German Count Allbrect Goertz who also did the BMW 507. The good Count was surprise, surprise short changed as his designed was regected so Datsun could use an in house design that was exactly the same.

            Some of you might think that what difference does any of that make as long as the 260Z was a nice car. Well perhaps none but I think you can directly trace turning a world industry over to a low cost country with no passion and no market for what they are building inevitably lead to the bland appliances cars we all have now. Notice as Japan gradually passes the industry on to Korea and China it is to countries that follow their mold coated playbook.

    • Jack Baruth

      The AVERAGE auction price of a 1994 Supra in 2020 is $114,000.

      The equivalent Corvette is fetching six grand.

      Doesn’t mean the 1987 Supra was junk, doesn’t mean the 1994 Vette is junk.

      • John C.

        Not many Supras could have survived being owned by charmers like Hulk Hogan’s son. Image all the careful work of those fine Japanese engineers and the myriad aftermarket tuners who made so much correcting their lapses paying off in attracting a buyer like the young Mr. Hogan. Who could argue that Hogan knows best?

  2. dejal

    I’ve forgotten what the name of that web site was. Seriously. Used to go there all the time when it first started. When I gave up, the place had a vibe like those Hitler in the Bunker videos with all the different captions.
    Or Frank in “Blue Velvet”.

  3. -Nate

    Al English Mechanic buddy of mine has a MKII, you have to try and keep up with him in the canyons to appreciate how quickly it can go in the hands of a competent driver .

    I never waste my time trying to keep up .

    LBC’s were fun if ancient technology even when new .

    Those steel sport wheels were sock on the later fuel injected Beetle rag tops . my old ’79 had them too .


    • John C.

      There are some people in England and New Zealand that restomod Mark IIs with the current Jaguar V8. Is that what your friend did or did he get more out of the DOHC six?

      • -Nate

        It may have a newer 6 banger, I know it’s a 6 because it makes that glorious sound as it leaves me in the dust =8-) .


  4. CJinSD

    The biggest difference between a Mark II and an S-Type was that the Mark II had a solid rear axle and the S-Type had independent rear suspension. They didn’t just redesign the back half of the car to make it look awkward, it was about accommodating the new suspension design.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a small-mouth TR3 in the wild. I’ve spent quite a bit of time around the later TR3s and TR3Bs, but never a small-mouth or a TR2.

    For some reason I was surprised to see a condemned TR8 without body damage. They’re relatively simple and more reliable than TR7s, so one might think that they’d be cherished as low production small V8 roadsters. I suppose all sorts of better cars get parked and parted after thirty years, but the TR8 just seems like the sort of car where nobody ever put enough mileage on them to feel that they’re fully amortized and ready for the bin.

    The Triumph Acclaim was not a Honda Accord. It was actually a Ballade, which was a fancy four-door 2nd generation Civic. It replaced the Dolomite, a car it excelled in every way important to owners.

    Redline tires were popular on British sports cars. I think they even featured in advertisements for Triumph TR6s. If you look at Coker Tire today, you’ll find them available in 185R15, which is a good match for a TR6 or 3000.

    I wonder if the Series 1 FHC E-types were saved? There was a brief window when it might have made economic sense.

    • John C.

      Interesting the irs in the S type. By continueing the Mark II as the 240 et all they were essentially making the irs optional. Triumph was doing the same thing with the TR4 at the time. You could argue they were somewhat failed options as they wern’t that popular then and do nothing for values now.

      Except of course that the genius that was Jaguar doubled down on the tech with the upcoming XJ6 and created a ride handling compromise that so far exceeded what the other guys could manage with their semi trailing arms/swing axles or even Rolls with their snookered by Citroen stuff. The kind of magic that can happen when real men do real things and not just buy the hype of some pixie dust from Japan rains down that makes everything better.

      • CJinSD

        Fixed length half-shafts as locating members on heavy sedans are in what way more manly than being the guidance system on a bomb? You really need to get over your inferiority complex. I guess you’re happy that China is now providing you with the quality of consumer goods that you once needed British and American labor unions to produce, and you can be doubly pleased that China is now obviously as deleterious to the US as organized labor has been.

  5. Sobro

    I had a Falcon just like that one. A ’66 two-door poverty spec with three on the tree. In black, like Henry Ford meant it to be, with a red interior. Cost me $220 in 1977. The extra $20 was for the four recaps the PO had installed prior to selling it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.