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  Jaguar Rear Axle 1961

Please bear with, if I show a certain amount of enthusiasm for this particular Jaguar rear axle. It is the era of the rigid axle, and it is the axle which was fitted to the famous 1962-1964 Ferarri GTO, one of which has just been auctioned off for 38 million Dollars. Even Daimler-Benz, in their famous 300 SL, only had a single floating axle, although it did have a low pivot-point. Briefly said, there was no producer of luxury cars at that time, whose rear axle could hold a candle to that of the Jaguar.

The central issues of this axle are, in the true sense of the word, the drive shafts, as opposed to the Spitfire which has two joints, both on the inside on the axle drive and outside on the wheel bearings. Although instead of having a length compensation, these axles maintain their full length. Because, at the same time, they serve as the upper wishbones, which are completely absent in this construction.

For this however, the lower ones are more stable. By today's measures, one could describe them as being trapezoid-arms. And even this is not enough for the manufacturer. He places his trust in the thrust- and braking forces of good sized trailing arms. Unfortunately the bodywork of that time, also the Jaguar's, was still very much the 'old school' variation: They were, to a large extent, supported and stabilised by their framework.

This is why, a type of cage which was mounted under the bodywork by means of a few bolts, had to be built for the rear axle. On this frame, the springs and the shock absorbers supported themselves. Were the bodywork above the wheel-housings stable enough, a spring and damper, mounted near the wheel bearing, centrally above the drive shaft, would have been sufficient.

Thus the axle, with two springs and dampers each, required a bit more effort. Because of the reduction of the unsprung masses, the brakes were moved to the inside. Whether because of the protecting casing or the heat developed by the final drive, with increasing demands they overheated.

In the video at the very bottom, you can see the assembly of a modern Jaguar in Castle Bromwich, below that, the fitting of the rear axle. A certain resemblance still exists, e.g., because of the framework that surrounds the individual components, the brakes have been moved back to the outside again (unfortunately) and the usual struts guide the wheels. In the beginning of the upper video, the individual parts of the rear axle are shown. 09/14