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Keeping historics on the straight and narrow

15 November 2016

William Kimberley reports on the chassis alignment technology proving vital to a well-known classic car restoration company.

Part of the CL Group, CL Classics is a classic car restoration and sales company based in Braintree, Essex. Formed in 1970 by historic race car driver Les Ely, the company has been responsible for the repair and restoration of many famous historic vehicles.

As any classic vehicle owner knows, immaculate bodywork, interiors and mechanics count for very little if the vehicle chassis is misaligned; this is where history and technology combine.

In addition to on-premises paint mixing and three bake ovens, including one very large commercial oven, CL Classics uses chassis alignment technology which works based on original manufacturer specifications. As Jaguar specialists, this includes Mk1, Mk2 and E-types.

The chassis measuring system used by CL Classics can locate vital alignment points on every model of car, not just historics. The system accurately – to the nearest half-millimetre – measures length, width and height, with measurements taken from the manufacturer’s datum line. No mechanical parts need to be removed and no potentially damaging clamps need to be used to hold vehicles in place. With such a precise diagnostic tool, CL Classics can identify any chassis twists or problems and repair them. Once a chassis has been checked and repaired if necessary, additional technology takes care of four-wheel alignment and steering geometry setups.

Historic race vehicles entering the CL Classics workshops are checked, a recent example being the well-known Justin Rocket E-type Jaguar. On checking it out, the mechanics found the chassis alignment required no correction, which considering the historic car had been raced all over Europe was a welcome surprise. This particular car is now being prepared ready for sale.

CL Classics is often asked by clients to sell cars on their behalf, often once checks and services have been carried out. Currently the cars being sold include a famous Cadbury’s Boost-sponsored early narrow grille Jaguar Mk1 and a 1968 left-hand drive Jaguar E-Type.

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