At the age of 42, an automobile accident robbed Stewart Jones of his eyesight. But that didn’t stop the now 73-year-old from pursuing his greatest passion: restoring vintage Jaguars.
Although Jones can’t see the cars he’s working on, his memory and years of experience compensate for his lack of vision. He says he can tell everything about a car by touching it — except the color.
“I can listen to it,” he told The Drive, “feel the engine, blip the throttle — feel it running and find out if it’s a bad cylinder or a thrown rod.”
Jones is clearly an expert in his field. Even without his sight, he’s able to call out a difference in stickers between a 1973 and 1974 model. And in his 6,000-square-foot workshop — a remodeled refrigerator plant in Winsted, Connecticut — he keeps an enviable stable of immaculately maintained cars. Jones ’s E-Type V-12 was even the first of its kind to receive a 100-point rating by the Jaguar Club of North America.
Jones doesn’t just restore Jags — he modifies them the way he thinks they would’ve been made if not for the regulations of the time. And in addition to his capacity for fixing a car by touch alone, he and his crew have created at least 50 specialized tools that make restorations easier for the rest of us.
Thanks for looking out for us, Stewart.
Images via: Michael Crenshaw via the Drive