Tales From The Lock Man - Error of their ways!
From Tales From The Lock Man, CMM May 2015, Issue 314
This latest tale began with an e-mail from Andrew Swanley, who wrote: “I've just had my 1973 E-Type back after a six-year restoration, but the car has four different keys. Can you help?”
He continued: “The factory records show the glove-box key is correct at FS 892, but the boot lock is currently FS 886. Can you convert it to FS 892? The driver and passenger door locks are different, with FS 925, though I have learned that the correct code should in fact be FS 974.”
“It can’t possibly be 974,” I replied, “because the FS series only goes up to 955. Maybe you’ve misread the number ‘924’? However, providing they’re not too badly worn I can re-key all your ‘FS’ barrels to whatever number you want. They can all be matched if you wish.”
Andrew answered, “It was actually Jaguar Heritage who supplied the numbers, and they also told me the original ‘Waso’ ignition key was FR 950. The records are now kept at The Heritage Motor Centre Museum, and I wonder if someone not familiar with these hand-written documents has misinterpreted things and the doors should be FS 950, with ignition at FR 974, or indeed 924? Sound plausible?”
“The Waso range runs to 999 so both are possible,” I wrote back, but by now Andrew was hot on the trail. “I spoke to Jaguar Heritage again, and they're adamant that FS 974 is correct for the doors, despite me telling them what you said. I have a photocopy of the build record for my car, and I think it possibly reads ‘874’ as the person who did the handwriting has his "eights" all over the place.”
My turn again. “Very strange! But the FS series starts at FS 876, so that’s not possible either. There was an 'FR 874' (nothing to do with Waso) but it was used only for Rover and Volvo and couldn't possibly have gone onto the E-Type.”
And there matters rested while Andrew dug deeper. “I finally got Jaguar Heritage to admit they had been reading off the build ledgers incorrectly. I suspected this as the old Jaguar staff have all retired since they moved the archive over to The Heritage Motor Centre. Looking again at the build sheet for my car (with 10 others listed on the same page), it looks as if the doors probably were FS 950. What do you think?”
I studied the correspondence and could immediately see what had happened. It looks as if both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Heritage staff had been misreading the records for years! The ledgers show a simple little grid – in Andrew’s case it read as follows:
So, reading across in the logical way, you get a Waso ignition key at 974, door locks at FS 950, and glove-box/boot locks at 892.
But for some reason the Heritage people had been reading the grid vertically, giving ‘FR 950’ (which is possible) and door locks ‘974’ (which isn’t). Through his perseverance Andrew had spotted the error of their ways, and I think this tip might be useful for other classic Jaguar owners.
The tale wasn’t quite finished, however. He continued, “The ignition lock was always temperamental and at some stage someone had forced a screwdriver or something inside. Sadly, I too suffered an attempted theft which left it in an even worse state. I’d like to get everything back to the condition when the car left the factory. Can the damaged lock be restored?”
I shuddered; this is a pin-tumbler lock, much more difficult to rebuild than simple leaf-tumbler barrels. While I could supply a new Waso ‘cartridge’ and key-blank, the complete lock would need to be dismantled by removing the two small blind roll-pins just under the front face, taking off the facing bezel and lifting out the old cartridge. Then a key cut to 974, the cartridge re-built and it all put together again.
So I ducked out of that one but – another good tip – Andrew found that ‘Morlands’ of Bournemouth could rebuild the cartridge and he was finally able to get his car back to the original specification. What a battle – but he got there in the end!
The Lock Man has been autojumbling since 1983. He has been in the motor industry all his life and spent over 20 years with a major manufacturer of locks and handles. Have you got a question for The Lock Man? Write to: Lock Man, Classic Motor Monthly, PO Box 129, BL3 4YQ, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org