Now that I was about to start the reconstruction a debate started as to whether to build up the body on the chassis or to use a jig. A very good argument can be made for using the chassis because you know that the body will ultimately fit. The problem is that I wanted to work on the chassis and I didn't want to wait until it was ready before starting the body. So, I opted for the jig but I can't say that I didn't have some anxiety about this decision.
The first stage was to build up the bulkhead using what could be salvaged from the original and combining these with the new parts. I consider myself pretty competent at most things, mechanical but I don't have much experience at panel work although I can weld. Luckily, at this juncture, I was able to get the assistance of Brian Fincher.
Brian has many years of experience building XKs and was able to obtain not only the correct jig for aligning the bulkhead components but also the full body jig for a 140.
The bulkhead went together quite nicely and we were soon able to fit this up onto the main jig. This was where the problems began. When the back and floor sections were fitted it appeared that their alignment to the sills was too high. We puzzled as to whether the body jig mountings should have the spacers on them and tried this but in the end, after careful measurement and comparison with the chassis, it was obvious that they should not have.
There was a space of nearly 1" between the jig mounting and the underside of the body at the forward mounting position. This caused the 'B' post and shut face assembly to be too low. We never really established the real reason why this misalignment occurred but I solved it by simply fitting the mounting bolts and tightening them up while gritting my teeth. Having done so, everything came into line albeit under some tension. Also, the replacement sills did not quite meet the rear assembly being about 0.5" too short. It did look as though the were made slightly short when compared to the originals. In the end, we dealt with this problem by welding in a short extension piece.
The next job was to hang the doors and this took a couple of days to get right. I had replaced the hinge boxes as the old ones were useless, having oval hinge pin holes. Two of the pins were seized in the hinges and I managed to salvage these after using a lot of heat. The other two hinges were worn out and had to be replaced. The fit of the doors is adjusted by means of packers in the hinges. With patience, we got a good fit with a nice positive clunk as the door shut onto the latch plate.
Fitting up the rear wings was also very time consuming as profile of the leading edge did not that of the door. Brian spent a long time on this job but they do now look as if the were meant to fit this car.
I have also braced the car from the rear to the front so that the body is rigid when lifted and has no tendency to fold up.
Completing the body
Back to Front Page
Jaguar XK 140 Restoration