1950 Jaguar XK120 roadster
Total restoration of an early alloy bodied car
Restoration Log by Dan Mooney



Project Specification:

Total restoration of an alloy bodied Jaguar XK120
back to original factory livery of black coachwork
over 2 tone biscuit and tan trim.


Update report - February 1, 2020
I am delighted to report that we have now completed this exciting restoration project. The following photographs were taken during the final test drive yesterday afternoon.

This shot could have been taken 70 years ago

Hopefully the last time the convertible top will
ever be raised!

2 tone tan and biscuit interior is stunning

This is the original shifter knob, restored for
you by Chris Scarborough

Installing the restored and re-chromed convertible
top frame

Jake and Carlos working together on the mohair
convertible top installation

Fitted luggage is trimmed in biscuit hide with tan
interior trim to compliment the car's interior

Fitted luggage is an exquisite finishing touch to
this restoration

I am delighted to report that the 120 is now running and driving and actually ventured outside for a trip to the gas station earlier today! So far it only has 100 yards under its belt, but so far so good!

Always exciting when one of the restorations
embarks upon its maiden voyage!

These cars must have been an amazing sight at
the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show

Bonnet louvers were a feature of several (but not all)
of the early alloy cars

Note SU carbs visible through the bonnet louvers
Two tone tan and biscuit interior is a nice
contrast to the black coachwork

Carlos did a beautiful job with the interior of
this car

The underside of this car is literally as new
Note side exiting exhaust, another feature of the
early alloy cars

Leather gaiters buckled around leaf springs

We finally received the last of the chrome back and have assembled and installed the screen. The restored and re-plated seat frames and beautiful NOS tripod headlamps have also now been installed. The car's maiden voyage is just around the corner!

Beautiful NOS 'tripod' headlamps installed

Seat frames and backs have now been installed

Carlos trial fitting the transmission tunnel, center arm rest and carpeting.

Installing the boot lid, bonnet, floor boards and steering wheel.

Trial fitting the dash and gauge cluster

Exciting to have this beautiful car getting so close to completion. Did a more elegant car ever emerge from Browns Lane?

The following sequence of photographs show Jake and his team installing the body onto the chassis. Always an exciting stage of any restoration, I am pleased to report that everything went very smoothly and the restored body fits perfectly!

The chassis has been tuned and run-in on the Dyno
and is now ready to receive the restored body

Jake assembled a highly trained team of athletes
for the body installation!

Lowering the body onto the chassis

Jake removing the tach drive for an extra couple of
inches of clearance at the rear of the engine

Body now resting on the chassis
Unmasking the engine

Alex starting to secure the body to the chassis
Car will now be moved to the trim room for
final assembly

The chassis is now almost fully assembled and we will be test running the engine in the next couple of days.

Repairing and reconstructing the fuel tank, original steering wheel restored to new condition, continued chassis assembly.

Original fuel tank will be repaired
Inner baffles removed

Fabricating a new inner tank baffle

New baffle welding in place

Francis welding the tank side panels back in
Very early starter motors and generators were
cad plated

Installing leather gaiters on new rear leaf springs

Original steering wheel restored to new condition

Sterling made some great progress last week and now has the front suspension installed as well as the rebuilt engine and transmission. Over the next few days he will be installing the rear axle, brakes and wiring loom.

Preparing to install the restored and rebuilt
front suspension

TCJ 6 bolt billet steel flywheel made specially
for this project

Engine and transmission now installed

It is now time to assemble the chassis. Once it is rolling with the engine and drive train installed, we will install the repainted body.

Chassis will be fully assembled over the next
few weeks

Many of the original fasteners have been blasted
and plated

Gerardo has now finished applying the second round of clear coat and the finished result looks truly spectacular.

I am delighted to report that we have now painted the car and applied the first coat of clear and everything looks absolutely beautiful. Gerardo is applying a second coat of clear as I write this report. We will then let everything cure for a couple of weeks before sanding with 1000 grit paper and applying a further 2 coats of clear.

The first coat of black base
Gerardo applied a total of 4 coats of base color

First coat of clear coat now applied

Perhaps the most exciting part of any restoration is the painting stage. Over the next couple of days we will be painting all the outer panels of our alloy XK120 project.

Lining the CJ booth with 3M dirt trap

Painting will begin first thing in the morning!

Lifting the main body section from the chassis and placing it on the XK jig table for painting.

Many hands make light work!

Chassis will be painted semi-gloss black before being
reunited with the freshly painted body

All inner panels and surfaces on the alloy 120s were
painted semi-gloss black, regardless of body color

After months of blocking and prep work, it is now time to paint our alloy 120 project! The first step in the process will be to paint all of the inner panels and cabin in satin black. We will be painting continuously for the next several days. Look for lots more photographs soon!

To be continued!

I am pleased to report that Jake has now finished with his part of this project and the 120 is now ready to be prepped for paint.

Jake's last job was to plot the position of the
rear license plate panel

With the license plate panel in place, Jake's work is

The flowing lines of the alloy XK120 body are
especially evident in this form

Time to prep for paint!

The grille surround and thirteen vanes have now been metal finished, copper plated and returned to us for welding. Once assembled the grill will be chrome plated. The distinctive bevel on the leading edge of the early 120 grille vanes is clearly visible in the second photograph below.

The following sequence of photos show Jake fabricating and welding a new repair panel in place at the lower edge of the aluminum boot lid skin.

Planishing the boot lid skin after cutting away the
corroded lower section

Welding the repair panel in place

Planishing the TIG bead

Ash boot lid frame has been repaired

Boot lid frame is now sealed in epoxy

The following sequence of photographs show how Jake straightened and restored the grille vanes. Corey (CJ machinist) fabricated a special curved dolly which allowed Jake to hammer the vanes back into their original shape and contour. Jake also made a jig which enabled him to install each of the restored vanes in perfectly spaced configuration within the grille surround.

Corey made a custom dolly with a curved blade
replicating the shape of the grille vanes
Using the custom dolly to return the grille vanes
to their original shape and contour

All 12 vanes now restored

Jake then fabricated a jig so that he could assemble
the grille with the vanes perfectly spaced

Restored grille now ready for chrome plating

Jake has now completed all the major repairs along the left side of the car.

This is the point where we left the rear
wing repairs last time
TIG welding the seam between the old and
new panels

After planishing and metal finishing
Next task is to repair and fit the wheel spat

Trial fitting the wheel spat frame

Heavy lifting is now done on the left side of the car

Jake has been busy fabricating and installing a replacement panel to replace a damaged section behind the left rear wheel.

Using the Pullmax to form the wheel arch lip
Rear wheel spat will sit in this groove

Trial fitting the new panel
Cutting away the damaged original panel

Steel wire will add rigidity at the bottom edge of the
new panel

Alloy skin hammered around the steel wire

Tack welding the new panel in place

TIG welding the joint between the old
and new panels

Jake has been busy fabricating and welding repair panels for the left hand rear wing and the left hand door skin.

Fabricating a new end flange where LH rear
wing meets the B pillar
Working the new panel on the Pullmax machine

Annealing the alloy prior to shaping

Trial fitting the new panel
Preparing to weld the new panel to the leading
edge of the LH rear wing

New panel tack welded in place

TIG welding the new panel in place
Fabricating a repair panel for the lower edge
of the LH rear wing

Once again, the new panel is worked and shaped
on the Pullmax machine
Trial fitting the new panel

Preparing to weld the new panel in place on the
LH rear wing

Fabricating and installing a repair panel to the
bottom of the LH door skin

Preparing to weld the lower skin repair panel
Panel is first tack welded in place

The seam is then TIG welded
To be continued!

The wonderful works by Bernard Viart (XK120 explored) and the late Urs Schmid (Anatomy of a Cult Object) have been an invaluable resource as we try to get every little detail of this special restoration correct.

The following sequence of images show Jake skinning the rear of the body. The aluminum skin is laid over the Ash frame, the edges are then hammered over and secured with panel nails, exactly as it would have been done at the factory almost 70 years ago.

After countless rounds of trial fitting, the repaired
alloy panel fits perfectly over the Ash frame
Securing the skin with the first of many panel nails

Hammering the leading edge of the skin over the
Ash frame

Rear skin is now permanently installed

Jake has been making great progress with the alloy 120 over the last few weeks. The following sequence of photos show the restored rear Ash frame being permanently installed to the surrounding steel structure. The rear Ash canopy is now ready to receive the alloy skin, which will happen in the next week or so. He has also finished reconstructing the front wings, which are also almost ready to connect to one another and install for the last time.

Rear Ash frame canopy has been installed
for the final time
Gas filler box has also been permanently

Edge beading now installed in both front wings

Almost ready to permanently install both front wings

Alloy rear panel will be skinned in next few days

The following sequence of photos show the rear canopy Ash frame sealed with black epoxy. They also show the fitment of the brace which attaches to the beam where the boot lid hinges attach. Without this brace, the boot lid hinge beam would not be strong enough to support the boot lid assembly without deflecting.

We have seen photos of this brace installed in different ways, although the way we have it installed has the smooth side of the brace facing towards the inner skin of the rear canopy, which we feel is the most logical configuration. Furthermore, if the panel was installed the other way around, it would not be possible to install or remove any of the shims, or access the 4 screws which hold the brace and shims in place, without removing the entire aluminum rear canopy skin.

Underside of rear canopy has been sealed
with epoxy primer
Note the alloy brace (with 3 circular holes) that adds
strength to the beam for the boot lid hinges

The Ash frame has also been sealed in epoxy Trial fitting the fuel filler box

The boot lid hinge beam brace viewed here from
the underside (note shims at top)
Brace is shimmed so it fits the gap perfectly and
doesn't distort the Ash frame

Rebuilding the bonnet latch mechanism, fabricating a replacement panel that joins the front wings beneath the grille and installing the fender edge beading into one of the newly fabricated front wings.

Disassembling the bonnet latch mechanism

The original mounting plate (top) did not center the
closed bonnet, so we made a new plate

The new plate allowed us to position the bonnet
perfectly central when closed

Trial fitting the panel that joins the two wings
beneath the grille

The new panel welded to the left hand wing

New beading wire for the fender edge

Jake hammering the edge of the wing over
the new beading wire

If you look closely at many Jaguar XK120 sports cars, whether alloy or steel bodied, you will see that very often the bonnet is not symmetrical to the sides and beneath the chrome front grille. Our car is no exception, with the width of the alloy panels either side of the grille being significantly different from one another (see photos below). As our goal with this project is perfection, Jake will address and correct these flaws during the process of restoring and trial fitting the grille.

The grille itself is interesting because the early alloy bodied cars had a grille that differed slightly from later production grilles. The 13 folded vanes have a very pronounced 'raised flute' on the leading edge on the early cars, something which gradually disappeared during XK120 production as the manufacturing presses became worn with use. The cast surround and vanes were made of brass which were silver soldered together. Our grille is not in the best of shape, but deserves to be restored rather than simply replaced because of the subtle differences between it and new grilles currently available.

Original grille will be restored
13 vertical vanes are silver soldered
to the oval surround

Look closely and you will see the pronounced
'raised flute' on the leading edge of the vanes

Forward section of bonnet was not
symmetrical from the factory

Note differing widths of side panels
and also panel beneath the grille

On left side the side panel is 2cm wide
More like 1cm wide on the right side

Illustrating inconsistent shape of panel beneath
grille opening
Cast brass surround stripped and

Originally there would have been 10 studs to hold
grill to bonnet
Several are missing

Several different style fasteners have been
substituted for the original studs over the years

Fabricating new side panels for leading edge
of bonnet grille opening

Tack welding new side panels in place
Jake split the nose of the bonnet down the
center line to correct the issues

Trial fitting left side of nose

Two sides now welded together down the
center line
To be continued!

Jake has now turned his attention to restoring and fitting the bonnet.

Rear brace also serves as hinge mount

Preparing to spot weld the rear brace in position

Bolting bonnet to bulkhead to begin fitting process

Several of the alloy cars had bonnet louvers
when new
To be continued!

Beautiful hide fitted luggage made for us by Taris Charysyn. Our XK120 interior trim is two tone biscuit and tan, so we decided to do the cases in biscuit hide with tan interior broad cloth. The luggage is stunning quality.

Jake has been busy putting the finishing touches to your right hand front wing...

Flanging the wheel arch edge on the Pullmax
The edge is flanged using several passes on
the Pullmax

Flanging the straight bottom edge on the brake

Rear edge was flanged on the bead roller

Rear edge now hammered over

Marking low spots for further planishing

The following photos show the rear wooden frame after Jake sealed it with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) from The Rot Doctor. This process really highlighted the new versus old wood, with the latter appearing much darker in the photos below. Once the CPES has been completely absorbed in a few days time, the frame will be sealed with black epoxy primer, as it had been at the factory.

Your flywheel was damaged beyond repair, and new replacements are not available, so we had no choice but to manufacture our own replacement. I am pleased to report that the finished item is a thing of beauty.

New CJ flywheel side by side with the original
We took the opportunity to shave a few lbs from
the original's heft

Machine work is absolutely spectacular
6 bolt pattern unique to very early XK engine

This challenging engine rebuild has now been completed.

Crankshaft has been be ground
and machined
Early style crank oil galley plugs are pressed in,
not threaded

Weight matching crank plugs prior to balancing
Balancing the crankshaft

Cylinder hone in progress

Surfacing the deck after cylinder hone

Short block assembly

Assembling the cylinder head

Note ultra early style head with siamesed spark
plug holes and brass allen water plugs

Note early style 'smooth' valve covers with no
studs and acorn nuts on timing chain section

Rebuild and assembly now complete

I asked Jake to explain in his own words how he fabricated a new boot lid drip rail. It really is a joy to watch him at work.

The original boot lid drip rail was damaged beyond repair so we had no alternative but to fabricate a replacement panel. This required me making a steel fixture that would allow me to create a 'J' profile that would precisely match the original. In order to do this I used 1" x 3/16" steel cold rolled bar stock. Using a hollowed out anvil, I shaped the strap using blacksmith techniques until I had matched the shape and contour of the boot opening. Once this fixture was made, I then took 0.060" thick 3003 aluminum sheet stock and sheared it into 2 3/8" wide x 40" long sheets. I annealed these sheets to allow for the tight radius bends that would be required around the top corners of the boot lid opening.

Taking the freshly annealed sheets, I broke them in our Mittler Bros sheet metal brake to create an 'L' profile. Taking the 'L' profiles I then shaped them to match the shape and contour of the boot opening. This was done in three sections, comprised of the top and two sides. Once the three sections were formed, the next step was to fit the side sections to the upper section and weld them all together, making one continuous 'L' profile. I then clamped the steel fixture I had made earlier inside the new 'L' profile. Using a rawhide hammer, I then hammered over the inner flange which created the correct 'J' profile that exactly matched the original drip rail and fit the bonnet opening perfectly.

Original drip rail was damaged beyond repair

The decision was made to fabricate a new drip rail
Shaping the steel 1" x 3/16" cold rolled bar stock to
match the shape and contour of the boot opening

Clamping the steel bar stock in place during the
fabrication process

Steel fixture now completed
Note how fixture follows the shape and
contours of the opening

L profile 3003 aluminum sheet stock being shaped
to fit boot opening
L profile aluminum sheet now shaped to the

Steel fixture now clamped inside the L profile

Another view of the steel fixture in place inside
the L profile aluminum
Jake hammering over the inner flange to create
the desired J shape

Here you can clearly see the steel fixture being
sandwiched inside the new drip rail

Old and new drip rails side by side
Job done!

Jake has now finished fabricating and welding the repair panels for the ends of the rear side panels. He has now turned his attention to fabricating a new drip rail for the boot aperture, which will be the subject of the next update.

Clamping the RH panel in place for welding

LH repair panel has already been welded in place

After metal finishing the welded seam, the repairs
are invisible
Both repair panels have now been welded and
metal finished

Front suspension and brakes will need a bit
of a scrub!

This will be a great 'before' shot once we
have everything restored and rebuilt!
Original Girling lever arm shocks will be rebuilt

The first two photos in the following sequence may not look like much, but they are actually cause for much celebration. As you know, we have been chasing internal cracks and porosity issues in this delicate cylinder head casting for several months, and I can finally report that the head has now survived multiple heat cycles and pressure tests, passing them all with flying colors! Getting to this point has involved countless hours hooked up to a TIG welder in the CJ Coachworks, some intensive sonic cleaning, and finally a vacuum impregnation sealing process performed by the casting porosity experts at Baron Industries in Michigan.

In our quest to keep our 120 as original as possible, we went to extraordinary lengths to save the original cylinder head, and I am delighted to say we have been able to achieve our goal.

Pressure testing in progress

Honing new valve guides
Surfacing intake flange

Original 'smooth' valve covers repaired and polished
Front of head prior to sanding and polishing

Rebuild and restoration of the rear axle and ENV (Eaton Number V, London) differential underway.

Tear down of rear axle underway
Rear cover is welded to the casing on ENV

Differential looks like it may have been recovered
from the Titanic

Ratio and serial numbers stamped on housing
Note original brass filler plug and dipstick

Brass dipstick removed from the filler plug

Differential unbolted from casing
Standard 3.64 gearing stamped on crown wheel

Old damage to cover will be repaired
Drain hole has been added - will be welded up

Scrubbing away decades of dirt and grime from
axle housing
Note green paint on top side of diff case

Lots of progress in the Coachworks over the last few weeks..

Planishing another new alloy panel
Trial fitting new panel

Preparing to weld new panel in place

Lower extremities of both rear side panels will
be replaced

Shaping the left hand repair panel on the wheel

New panel starting to take shape

Note early style 6 bolt flywheel
Flywheel is damaged in several places so we will
make a new one

Installing rear bumper brackets...

Drilling holes for bumper bracket pots

One of the brackets slightly mishapen

A few minutes on the anvil straightened
things out

Trial fitting straightened bracket

Trial fitting fuel filler box
Fuel filler box viewed from beneath

Jake fabricating and welding a new closing panel for the rear canopy where it meets the driver's door shut face panel.

More progress in the Coachworks...

The two outer beams will be filled to provide a
smooth foundation for outer alloy panel

Boot frame now trial fitted complete
with latching mechanism

Note filled and smoothed outer beams

RH shut face panel also needs slight modification

Note how panel now fits neatly against rocker panel

Leading edge of rear wing will eventually be
secured against shut face panels

Putting the finishing touches to the rear canopy and boot lid opening ash framing.

West System epoxy wood repair

Prior to sanding
After sanding

Trial fitting boot lid frame

I am delighted to report that Jason (Texas Heritage Woodworks) has now finished the restoration of the Ash framing. The following photos show Jason and Jake doing an initial trial fit of the rear canopy and boot lid frame.

Jason and Jake performing an initial trial fit
of the rear canopy
Original wood was retained whenever possible,
although rear canopy needed a lot of new Ash

Curved rear wing sections fit beautifully

Trial fitting upper skin to Ash canopy frame

Only lower rear edge of boot lid frame required
new wood - rest of frame was very solid

Most of the time, we dictate how our work piece will be held. Simple enough when dealing with flat stock. On something large and complex like this Jaguar XK120 rear body support structure, the work piece dictates how it will be held. There is a curved section along the inside of the outer rail, the bent laminated components I made need to be shaped to fit this curve. The easiest solution I found was to cut several kerfs along this curve, with plans to knock out most of the waste with a chisel afterwards. While this is most definitely not ideal posture for using a handsaw, it works well for a few reasons. First and foremost, my handsaw is in optimum condition. This is my brand new @badaxe6 Bayonet crosscut saw. A thin saw plate and sharp teeth are essential for an awkward cut like this. Secondly, I'm keeping my eye directly in line with the saw back as I use light pressure in the cut. Keeping my eye lined up with the saw back helps me track straight and true through the cut. It took about three minutes to cut 20+ kerfs this way. The end is in sight now, this challenging and amazing project is nearing completion.

The following sequence of photos show the fabrication of the new left front wing, and in particular the outer flange that will eventually be hammered over a wire beading.

Working the flange on the Pullmax machine
Using the bead roller

On the metal brake

New panel tack welded to front section
This photo shows the flange that will eventually
be hammered over new wire

New wing now almost completed

Earlier today Carlos put the finishing touches to your seats...

Lots of progress in the Coachworks and the trim room over the last couple of weeks...

Working the spare wheel well floor on the
English wheel
Both edges of the spare wheel well floor are
corroded and will be repaired

Wheel well side walls also have some corrosion

Close up of the electrolysis damage on wheel well
side walls

Fabricating new side walls

Trial fitting the new side walls

Fabricating repair panels for the edges of the
spare wheel well floor
Offering the new panels in place

After metal finishing the welds are invisible

Trial fitting the gas tank

Time to fabricate repair panels for front section
of right hand wing

Planishing welds
Shaping the repair panel on the wheel

First repair section welded in place

Trial fitting second repair panel
Note 3D wire template behind new repair panels

Second repair panel tack welded in position

Panel beneath the grill is in poor shape

Marking vent hole for front of right hand wing

Carlos and Hector have been busy in the trim room

Seat backs starting to take shape
Seat backs are complicated in their construction

Both seat bottoms have now been trimmed

Another great update from Jason at Texas Heritage Woodworks.

It's back to work on the Jaguar XK120 restoration today. We are now addressing issues with the rear body support
frame. The four main runners (for lack of a better term) are completely rotten at the rear, which is where they are
exposed to moisture from the wheel wells. The runners are all bent laminated construction, using Ash like the rest
of the wooden components. These four runners provide all of the strength in this structure. Because of this, they will be
getting replac
ed. The connecting pieces in between can all be reused. The first step in all of this is to label each
 individual component. Some blue painter's tape and a permanent marker work well for me. After everything is labeled,
the detailed work begins. Each joint must be thoroughly documented with measurements, photographs, and notes
on each section. I don't have another XK120 handy for comparison, my notes and my photos are all I'll have. This is
probably the most important step of this entire rebuild process. Once I'm happy with my documentation, I'll begin taking
this apart, assessing the condition of each individual piece. Most will just need the old glue scraped off, a few might
need some checks and cracks fixed.

Here's one of the close up shots I was talking about earlier on the Jaguar XK120. This particular joint was
photographed from all angles, making sure any important detail was captured. When the time comes to put the entire
structure back together, having this photographic breakdown will be very important.

Here it is, fully disassembled. This part actually took around 12 hours to complete. Not one screw was broken and
every component that needed to be saved, was. All in all it was a very successful tear down, though a tad longer than
I anticipated. My biggest concern up to this point was whether the four runners had identical curves or not. The
two outer runners and the two inner runners looked identical. Once I had them separated I was able to lay one
on top of the other and v
erify that the curves are the same. This means that I only need to make two bending
forms as opposed to four separate ones. It appears that these were made in the same forms at Jaguar all those
years ago. I kind of figured that would be the case, but until I was able to verify it, I couldn't be sure.

The bent lamination forms for the Jaguar XK120 have been finished and the first dry run was successful. These 3mm
thick Ash laminations bend really well. Now that I know the forms are tuned up, I'll cover the faces of each form with
clear packing tape so that the plastic resin adhesive doesn't stick. After that, it'll be time for the first glue up. Shop
temp is steady at 75 so we are ready to go!

Did a test run with the other bent lamination form, this one is for the pair of inner runners on the Jaguar XK120 rear
support structure. After clamping up all ten 3mm laminations, I check the overall shape against the original piece.
It was absolutely spot on. I'll do the glue up in the morning.

Plastic resin glue can be a pain to remove. It's really hard stuff that's tough on blades. I found my Stanley No. 80
cabinet scraper to be the best tool for this job. The thicker @hocktools blade holds an
edge well and is quick and easy to resharpen.

Here are the four bent lamination pieces, two of each shape. They have had all of the squeeze out removed and have
been inspected, looks like all of the seams are nice and tight. I'm very happy with how each of these turned out. Now
I'll let them sit in the shop for a few days before tackling the joinery and final shaping. This was a big step in this
Jaguar XK120 project. Can't wait to start the final stages!

Today I'm back to work on the Jaguar XK120 rear frame, starting the process of transferring layout points from
the original pieces to their replacements. Here I have both inner runners and one of the originals stacked
on top of each other, being very careful to match up the curves before securing them all down with
holdfasts. Once they are held down, I can start transferring points.

Assembling the firewall, sills and door frames...

Securing the firewall in place on the chassis
Ash sill covers bolted in place over steel
rocker panels

Preparing to assemble door latch mechanism

Driver's door frame bolted in position

Various restored ash, aluminum and steel items sealed with Spies Hecker Priomat 'red oxide' primer.

Ash sill top covers
Door frames

Driveshaft tunnel

Top cowl panel

A post panels
Front wing support brackets

Front bulkhead and rocker panels

The following sequence of photographs show the restoration of the wooden door frames. In our efforts to retain as much of the original car as possible, we decided to repair the original door frames, rather than simply replace them. Our friend Jason Thigpen at Texas Heritage Woodworks replaced the lower section of the frames with new seasoned Ash, but the rest of the frame was deemed salvageable.

Jake has been using West System 105 epoxy resin filler to repair and re-shape damaged areas, and Kwik Poly epoxy filler to fill the smaller imperfections and nail holes. The wooden door frames were originally painted black at the factory. Once we do the same, our repaired frames will look absolutely brand new.

We recently acquired these absolutely beautiful, mint condition (never installed), NOS Lucas tripod headlamps for our 120 project

Jake has finished trimming and trial fitting the new Ash panels and rebuilt door hinges. He has also begun fabricating the new left hand wing repair panel. The Ash has been sealed with a special epoxy, and will eventually be painted black, as it was when the car was new.

Note bronze bushings pressed into the old
cast iron hinges

Machined stainless steel hinge pin

All four hinges now have zero play and are
operating perfectly

Trial fitting inner left front wing

The majority of the front left wing will be fabricated

Wood is sealed with Smith's two part epoxy
Jake sealing one of the door pillars and sill panels

Wood will eventually be painted black
Welding two parts of LH wing back together

After metal finishing, the welded seam is invisble

Repair panel taking shape

Important that the lower edge of the front wing, door
and rear wing form a straight line
The top edge of the rule will be the body line

Welding the front wing repair panel in place

To be continued...

Jake has been pressing ahead with the trial fit of the new Ash sill and A pillar panels...

Hinges have been rebuilt using custom machined
pins and bronze bushings
Driver's side A pillar now fits perfectly with the
original dash support wood

Using a chisel to cut the required relief
for the A pillar support bracket

Trial fitting the A pillar support bracket

Both panels being trial fitted together

New Ash A pillar and sill panels now fit together

Jake has completed the modification and trial fit of the new Ash panels on the passenger side of the car.

Machining a new countersink in hinge plate

Passenger side wood sill panel and A pillar
now installed

View from beneath passenger side sill

Lots of progress in the Coachworks. Jake has been fabricating new alloy repair panels, and fine tuning the fit of the new Ash panels.

Side panel of the LH wing will be replaced
Fabricating the new panel

Forward lower panel of the RH wing will also
be replaced

Cutting away the damaged section

Making another 3D template

B pillar panels

Measuring required angles between B pillar
and original wooden sill panel

New upper B pillar panel fabricated

Trial fitting new A post Ash panel

New A post panel connected to original dash
top frame

To be continued...

Jason has now delivered the first of the completed Ash panels.

Another fascinating update from Jason Thigpen of Texas Heritage Woodworks. Great stuff!

As I carefully work up to my line on the Jaguar XK120 B-Pillar supports, certain spots call for specialty tools.
This small section was giving me trouble when trying to use my spokeshave or block planes. A little work
with my rasp, followed by fine tuning with a @lienielsentoolworks plane maker's float worked perfectly.

Finding common reference points along the perimeter of the old and new B-Pillar supports is the first step. I set my
dividers to a 1" spacing and proceeded to walk them along the edge, starting at the same point on the old and new
components. This gives me accurate and precise layout marks on all of the pieces, setting me up for the next step.

Now that I've got my layout determined, I use my @sterlingtoolworks saddle tail to clearly define my reference
points along the face and side. Having each section clearly defined is a good visual for me.

Next I go along the perimeter, placing my Brown & Sharpe machinist's square at each layout line. I barely touch the
square to the wood, then I use my smallest pair of Starrett dividers to measure the gap. I transfer that measurement
to the corresponding layout line on the replacement B-Pillar support. I work my way along, stopping at each mark
to transfer the measurement. Once this is done it's time to revert to a childhood favorite, connect the dots.

Now that the marks for the angled edges have been established, it's time to connect the dots and create my actual line
that I will cut to. The straight sections are easy enough for a guy like me. When it comes to the curved areas I need a
little help. My @sterlingtoolworks French Curves are the ideal tool for this job. It's easy to find sections of the French
Curves that perfectly match the area I'm working on. This keeps my lines crisp and clean.

I use my Stanley 151 spokeshave to establish the angle. I've used a pencil to color in the waste on the edge, up to my
layout line on the face of the board. My goal now is to work towards my layout line on the face, and the opposite corner
on the edge. I keep my eye on the reference marks on the edge and my line on the face. If I do this correctly, the final
pass should remove the last of both lines simultaneously.

I'm using my @lienielsentoolworks plane maker float to smooth out any bumpy or irregular spots that I find. When
operated at a skew, this float is leaving a wonderfully smooth and flat surface. And it makes some really unique
shavings. Almost like a mini spill plane, it's pretty cool!

Here I am using my Stanley 9 1/2 block plane. This thing is a beast. It's been a big help in shaping the taper on the
sides of the A-Pillar supports for the XK120. I can set the blade for a fairly heavy cut, the mass of the plane makes
it easy to hog off material quickly. Once I get close to the line, I'll switch over to a spokeshave or rasp.

Using the rounded face of a fine rasp is the best way I've found to tackle these inside curves. It leaves a fine finish that
cleans up with a few passes of a scraper. It's important to use a light touch. Too much pressure can cause the rasp to
flex, rounding over the edge. By making light passes, the edge remains dead flat.

Now on to the interesting part of the B-Pillar replacements. The sides of both supports are angled to fit the curves of
the body. The issue is that the angle isn't consistent, it varies along the entire length of the support. You can see
how it changes in the photos. I've been brainstorming ways to replicate this angle as accurately as possible and I
figured out a simple and accurate way to reproduce it. To be continued!

Jake has been busy repairing the left hand headlamp pod and he has also begun the process of fabricating a new skin for the lower front valance that includes the air intake vent. This panel is actually a fairly complex shape, with a distinct curve along the lower edge towards the center-line of the car. In order to achieve precisely the correct contour, Jake is using a 3D template made from copper plated 1/8" steel welding rod.

Trial fitting the repair panel fabricated
for the LH headlamp pod

Tack welding the repair panel in place

The seam is then TIG welded

Trial fitting bumper brackets

Damaged lower left front panel cut away

A replacement panel will be fabricated

Note the distinct curve at the lower edge
of the front panel

Another image showing the distinct curve that will
be incorporated in the new panel

Creating a 3D template using copper plated 1/8"
steel welding rod

Laying the paper template over the 3D wire

A new piece of aluminum is cut to the
required shape

Starting the trial fitting and shaping process

The following sequence of photographs show Jake fabricating new rocker panels and beginning the restoration of the front wings.

Forming the new rocker panels on the finger brake
Wheeling the folded edges of the new panel

Trial fitting the new rocker panels

New inner braces fabricated

New panel now virtually complete

Cast alloy B-pillar shut face panels were
hand cut when new

Recesses for latches etc were chiseled out by hand
Note the hinge holes in the A-pillar panels were
also cut by hand

Close up of the chiseled recess

Front wings have been split along the
factory welded seam

Marking an area of damaged aluminum
to be replaced

Damaged area cut away

With the wing split in two, it is more manageable
on the English wheel
Marking out the repair panel in piece of
fresh new aluminum

Repair panel starting to take shape

More wood restoration notes from Jason Thigpen of Texas Heritage Woodworks

I've got the A-Pillar panel glued and clamped, so it's time to move on to the B-Pillar supports. Here is what I have to work with, one side is in shambles, the other is about 90% complete. Both sides are almost identical from what I can tell, just mirror images of each other. I'll base my new pieces off of the mostly complete side, making them slightly oversized and fine tuning the fit by hand during install.

The wood that I'm replacing on this Jaguar was last cut and shaped over 65 years ago and is therefore likely to have shrunk slightly from its original size. As a precaution, I'm cutting the new parts out slightly oversized. To accomplish this I'm using a 24" steel rule that is around 1/16" thick. By laying this against the original piece and tracing alongside I end up with an outline that is 1/8" larger in all dimensions. As an added bonus, using the steel rule as a guide eliminates the rough pencil line that would have resulted if I had traced right against the wood. A cleaner layout line makes it a lot easier to make a clean cut.

In the last photo in the sequence below, I am shaping the curves of the B-Pillar supports. I have both sides stuck together with double sided veneer tape. Using my Stanley 151 spokes shave I am removing the marks left from the band saw, slowly working my way down to my pencil line. A razor sharp blade does a nice job on the Ash end grain.

Jason Thigpen

Additional information from Jason Thigpen (Texas Heritage Woodworks) regarding the tools he is using on this project

In the outdoor shot, I'm using my thickness planer to bring the rough lumber down to the correct thickness. I have the planer set up on my portable workbench outdoors. Just too nice outside to not take advantage! In the photo with me at my workbench, I'm using a hand plane to initially flatten and remove twist from one side of the lumber. Once that side is perfectly flat, that's when it goes to the thickness planer for further work. The planer is one of the few power tools I regularly employ. To bring the stock down to proper thickness by hand is just way too labor intensive.

In the picture of the board with the square on it, I'm just checking that my hand planing was accurate and that the board is indeed square. Incidentally, the square I'm using is made by Chris Vesper, an Australian toolmaker who is one of the top two or three toolmakers alive today. He custom made that square for me using some highly figured Mesquite from our ranch and a piece of Eastern Dead Finish, a dense Australian hardwood. That square was certified accurate to 0.12 microns - so it is extremely close!

The other photos illustrate the work required to prep tough stock by hand. I love using my handsaws to break the rough lumber down. In the picture of the hand plane on the board, I am squaring up the edge of the board with the face of the board. All of the saws and hand planes shown in the photographs are late 19th century or early 20th century items.

I will now let the wood sit for a week or so to acclimate before going to the next stage. I will re-check it is all perfectly square and make any necessary adjustments before proceeding.

Jason Thigpen

The following sequence of photographs show how Jake restored the rear support bracket on the underside of the bonnet. As well as acting as a stiffener for the rear edge of the bonnet, this panel serves as the mounting panel for the bonnet hinges. Originally the hinges were simply bolted to this singe sheet of aluminum, which flexed every time the bonnet was opened. This led to deformation and cracking. Having repaired the damage, Jake reinforced the (hidden) underside of the panel with a second layer of aluminum, which he bonded in place using 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive. The result is a much stronger panel that will be far less prone to flexing, while still looking identical to the original panel.

Support brackets removed from the underside
of the bonnet
The 3 vertically aligned holes are for the
bonnet hinges

The main panel needed significant repairs

Note cracks at the top edge of the panel
where the hinges had caused flexing

Welding up the various cracks

Plugging the holes left after all the spot
welds were drilled out

After metal finishing, the old spot weld
holes are invisible

Reshaping the holes in the rear panel with
a dimple die
The holes all look new once more

Fabricating reinforcement panels for the
backside of the hinge mounting points
Trial fitting reinforcement plates

Plates bonded in place with 3M Panel
Bonding Adhesive
Close-up of the reinforcement panels

Repairing and restoring the forward sections of the aluminum front wing support brackets.

Both forward sections of the alloy front wing support
brackets are in need of repair
Note cracks in panel

Separating the forward panel

Making a card template for section to be replaced
Preparing to weld up cracks

Clamping repair panel in place

Panel is TIG welded in position

After metal finishing, the TIG weld bead is
Plotting the required position of the new hole

New hole cut and beveled precisely as the
original had been

Leading edge of second bracket will also be repaired

Repair panel welded in place on second panel
The patched panel after metal finishing

Trial fitting the bonnet in conjunction with the
repaired wing support brackets

Left forward section clamped in position but not
yet welded permanently in place

Repairing the rear bulkhead and battery box surrounding panels..

The following sequence of photos show the restoration of the front bulkhead and firewall. The last few images offer a fascinating and rarely seen view of the alloy front fender support brackets in place, without the front wings.

Jake's first task it to restore the steel firewall, which has picked up a lot of unwanted piercings over the years. Any hole not cut at the factory will be welded up and metal finished. When the cars were first built, the factory technicians did not bother priming between any steel panels they welded together. For that reason, we will remove all the various firewall brackets and braces, clean the mating surfaces back to bare metal before applying weld thru primer to all weld zones, prior to reinstalling the brackets and panels. The last two photos in the following sequence illustrate the value of this additional effort.

Lots of extra screw and drill holes in the firewall
Under dash support braces will be removed

Bonnet hinge mounting plinths will be removed

Jake welding up unwanted holes in the firewall

Innocent looking support bracket..
...is actually rusting away from within

With the chassis and bulkheads back from the blaster, I am pleased to report that everything looks to be in exceptional shape.

Front and rear bulkheads are both very solid
with only minor issues to remedy
Chassis is 100% rust free and totally straight

Chassis sealed in Spies Hecker 4500 Epoxy Primer

Rear section laid in place over the chassis

A couple of minor rust issues in rear blukhead

Battery boxes in great shape

A second hole for an aftermarket twin exhaust
torched in the RH side of the cross-member
The hole will be patched

Chassis is in wonderful structural condition

An alloy 120 in kit form

One of the largest project updates I have ever done! The following photos show the dismantling of the body and the tear down of the chassis.

Having separated the rear cowl panel from the wooden support structure, we identified a little more rot than we were expecting to find in the wooden beams that lie beneath the alloy skins. Thankfully, our friend Jason Thigpen (Texas Heritage Woodworks) has agreed to tackle the wood restoration/replacement for us. Jason assures us that the project is nothing more than routine to him...

Some of the factory construction on these early
120s is pretty basic

Time to set aside the chassis and focus on the body
(Oscar gets to drive)

Lower right front impact damage has left the RH
wing sitting a little lower than the left

Rear cowl panel removed from the body

Rear steel subframe will be cleaned back to
bare metal

Note damaged wood, particularly at the extremities
of the frame work

Note how corners of the alloy skin were folded
over and tacked in place

Wooden frame separated from the rear cowl panel

Interesting that the underside of the body panels
got nothing more than a dusting of oxide primer
Parts of the aluminum skin will have to be replaced

The frame is laminated and bent to the shape of
the corresponding body panel

Our friend Jason Thigpen will be assisting us with
the restoration of the wooden frame

Time to get the body restoration underway!

Rear cowl panel will be removed and wooden
frame beneath restored

We have been working closely with Eric Suffolk to make sure that your new interior will precisely replicate the original trim in terms of color, texture and fit. There were several differences in the way the alloy cars were trimmed versus the (later) steel bodied production cars. Eric has been careful to capture all of those subtle differences and the resulting kit is a very special piece of work. Eric Suffolk is a true master of his trade and we are privileged to work so closely with him.

Great care was taken in the selection of the hides
used for this particular project
Alloy 120 door pockets differ from later
production steel bodied cars

Note full grain texture of tan hide

New side screens made in black mohair
Convertible top will also be fabricated from
original specification black mohair

Stripping paint continued...

Main body is in exceptional condition

Fair amount of bondo found beneath both
headlamp pods

Firewall was originally left in red oxide primer
by the factory

Removing filler from beneath the headlamps
revealed only very minor damage

This is the worst damage on the entire body

Doors, bonnet and boot lid next to be stripped

Alloy skin was installed with countersunk screws
at the factory

Earlier today we moved the 120 outside to the parking lot to begin the process of stripping the paint. The 'aircraft stripper' we use to remove paint from alloy bodied cars is nasty stuff that should be used in a well ventilated environment, hence the move outdoors. The top surface of the old paint is first sanded to allow the aircraft stripper to be absorbed and do its work through all the various layers of paint and primer. Interestingly, it appears this car has only ever had one repaint, as we are only finding the factory black paint beneath the current dark green.

Tear down continued..

Engine and transmission now removed

Chassis is in very solid condition

Note wiring harness routed through steel conduit

Insulation between top surface of chassis and
floor boards

Removing the gas tank

More of the alloy structure exposed

I am delighted to report that we now have this very special restoration underway.

We managed to track down a rare Tecalemit Plastigun (grease gun) for the tool kit we are putting together for your alloy 120.

This type of grease gun was used in the
alloy 120 tool kit
Gun is in fantastic original condition

Inventory of parts that we received with the car.

I am pleased to report that your alloy bodied XK120 arrived safely in the CJ workshops yesterday afternoon and we will have the restoration underway in the next few days.




 Interior was originally two tone tan and biscuit



 Chassis is generally straight and sound



 Boot floor and under panels generally are in
great shape
Rear section of chassis is also in excellent condition 

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