Project XJ6: Leaky Tank Blues / Consolation Prize, Part 2


In yesterday’s article, we established that the Jag’s fuel tanks were shot, and went on safari to try and find one or more appropriate replacements. Having struck out (multiple times), I decided to take the night off, put a few miles on the LeSabre while the nearby Back To The 50s cruise night was going on, and hit the show’s swap meet the next morning.

Come dawn, the skies looked threatening – but that hadn’t stopped the vendors from turning out in full force. Let’s see if we can find a tank for our Jaaaagggg.


This swap meet had a fairly sizable spread. Everywhere you looked, all kinds of people were hawking all kinds of stuff.


Perhaps more impressive – and surely more frustrating – were the crowds. Shoppers were packed in tight, and moving slowly.


Their pace was perfect for browsing. But I was searching for something in particular, so I needed to move a little faster. It was a little tricky at times, but I could usually manage to force my way through.


Though I wasn’t seeing many tanks around, I did spot several interesting items along the way… like this Hollander interchange manual. It’s sort of a junkyard spelunker’s bible, the master index of what parts fit on what cars. If you’ve ever been handed an interchange printout at a junkyard, or used sites like Car-Part, you’ve seen Hollander interchange data in action.

As it happens, I have an inventory of several hundred car parts in my attic and garage. Each is listed with its location, condition, what I pulled it off of, and its Hollander number (so I can easily determine its compatibility, or lack thereof).

For instance, I just tucked a 110-01935AL into the attic yesterday. Look it up, and you’ll find that it’s a left fender for your 1981-87 Regal coupe, complete with cornering lamp.

This one was dated 1967. Had it been a bit newer, I might have grabbed it… I can always use another copy.


Plenty of wheels – but they weren’t giving out any deals. The Buick sport rims were bringing $35 each (without caps!).


Of course, there was no shortage of dealer advertising items. This guy had a stack of early ’70s cardboard prints depicting various GM models.


Speaking of advertising, there were plenty of painted-up pails to be had. This lineup certainly puts my “collection” (consisting of two buckets) to shame.


Keep Minnesota green. Sure, why not?


If you want three deuces, a four-speed, and a 389, you could easily find all three items here. Whether or not they’d fit together might be another story.


In addition to all the parts, there were also more than a few vehicles for sale whole.


Not all of them were older than yours truly.


Unfortunately, tanks – fuel cells – anything that could have been helpful to the Jag – were nowhere to be found. This boat tank was the closest thing I spotted… not close enough!


And, as luck would have it, the sky opened up just as I was reaching the last tables. All the vendors disappeared like rabbits. The show cars – which I hadn’t even come close to yet – quickly got covered or driven into trailers. Those without any better options (such as this woman with her roofless ’55) just had to do their best.

So with that, the outing was over. It was back to the Buick, and the beginning of my long drive home.


If you read yesterday’s article, you may recall some discussion of options for this Jag’s fuel tank needs.

There’s used tanks, which I have been unable to find any of. There’s new tanks, which are rather costly. There’s fuel cells, but I’ve been unable to find any of those on the cheap, either.

But remember when I mentioned there being an additional, then-undisclosed option?

There is a fourth choice, one which I think is more in keeping with the spirit of this project. After all, we’re aiming to make this long-forgotten $1000 Jag into a driver on the cheap, using a bit of junkyard ingenuity, and accepting that some factory correctness may need to be abandoned to make that happen. Resale value is a non-factor. Stealing from another manufacturer’s parts bin is a non-factor. The only factor is whether it starts, runs, drives, and stops reliably.

That being said, I’m thinking about junkyard fuel tanks. Truth be told, I was thinking about it from the beginning. But since I’m not exactly a walking encyclopedia of fuel tank knowledge, I was unable to easily determine what vehicles might make good donors (short of crawling under every car in sight with tape measure in hand).

Reader DougD suggested the Ford Focus as a possibility; Wolfgang mentioned the Ranger. Keeping in mind that I need something roughly the same dimensions as my full-size spare tire, what would you recommend?

Of course, there’s plenty of other obstacles other than physical dimensions which must be overcome. But I need a starting point. I’m looking at you, CC readers – what vehicle(s) would you suggest I check out?