My Project Car: Jezebel rallies round after lying forgotten in a garage for years

My Project Car: Jezebel rallies round after lying forgotten in a garage for years

A 1934 Mark II Aston Martin called Jezebel has been given a new lease of life after a full restoration that came just in time for its 80th birthday.

It’s been a special car both on road and track, and classic car insurer Footman James has taken the time to celebrate this exhaustive project car at the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show, held at the NEC in Birmingham.

The car was first registered back in 1934, on June 8, and has covered a huge amount of ground since then, with accolades for both concours and racing feats.

These short-chassis two-seaters are incredibly rare. It was, in effect, an improved version of the Le Mans racer with a stiffer chassis, and the 1.5-litre engine produced more power than the original model.

The Mark II was available as both a two- and a four-seater, but Jezebel is the former.

This was more popular, but in total, showing a sign of the times when cars were hand-built to the exacting specifications of the buyer, only 61 examples were made, with few thought to be left – let alone on the road.

Weighing in at 950kg but with that straight four-cylinder engine only producing 73bhp, it doesn’t sound like a racer for the road, but in 1934 it was quite the runabout.

Jezebel has been a winner throughout its life, from concours gold to racing trophies, and a highlight being taking the top title at the Johor Singapore Vintage Grand Prix in 1962.

However, as time went on, the Aston was put into storage and became just a tad unloved. As you’ll see, pictured top right, this classic car was nearly unrecognisable compared with its former self.

It’s a great place to be when you realise that you still own a historic motor, as in July 2012 when Jezebel was rediscovered by its owners, Mary Antcliff and Nigel Dowding, after being stored in an Aldershot garage.

They instantly began a restoration project to get it back in a road-going state, with attention given to absolutely every element of the car.

Fortunately, being stored in the dry had largely saved the parts on the old motor from disrepair. However, as you can see, parts had been dismantled or were missing from the car. The paintwork was dull across the bodywork and as the car had been sitting dormant for years the mechanicals needed tending to, to make it both safe and roadworthy.

By 2014, the Mark II Aston Martin, now a glorious 80 years old, was back to an almost factory-fresh state.

And it was a mark of how solid this restoration has been that last year Jezebel took on the Rally of the Incas and raised an astounding £12,513 for Prostate Cancer Research in the process.

The historic rally, organised by the Endurance Rally Association, started in Lima, Peru, driving down through Argentina to Esquel in Argentine Patagonia, before returning up the east coast of the country to finish in Buenos Aires.

With Jezebel having to take on both tarmac and gravel stages, it was far more than the car was ever designed for, but it embraced the challenge with real British spirit!

Now, Footman James has helped to celebrate a historic turnaround for Jezebel and what has been an incredible career since.

It placed the Aston Martin centre stage on its stand at the NEC show to share its story and demonstrate how passion, time and hard work can be so rewarding.

From March 31 to April 2, it paid homage to all enthusiasts who restore vintage and classic vehicles, and those attending the show could take a close-up look at the hard work that had gone into transforming the classic racer, in a mock garage – complete with retro signs.

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