The rear of the 140 turned out to be really well rusted out. Once I had stripped off the paint and filler the full extent of the corrosion could be seen. The spare wheel tray was almost entirely gone. This is a known trouble spot but it was much worse than that.
The outer wings were a patchwork repair and had been brazed on to the inners by someone, I suppose at a time when the cars weren't worth much. Also the shut face panels and inner wings were just nasty. They had been bodged with sheet metal patches crudely hammered to shape and then made to look sort of right with filler. Even the sidelight nacelles were just a rough base to support the filler even though re-manufactured items are readily available and quite cheap to buy.
In a way, I should be grateful for this because if it hadn't been for this cheap repair I suppose the car would have been broken up for spares. It was obvious that a further repair would only add to the overall mosaic of steel patches so in the end I went for the expensive option of replacing the whole lot with new.
I did a lot of research in the UK to find panel suppliers who I was happy with. I went to see several of the regular advertisers, Classic Parts & Panels, Classic Autos etc. Nothing wrong with the quality but the prices made me catch my breath. Then I happened on Bill & James Lawrance quite by chance as a result of a replying to a private advert for some other XK stuff.
This is them in their workshop at Sway in Hampshire with my finished rear assembly. Their whole business is the manufacture of XK panels. Bill & James don't make anything else. They don't advertise either because they say they don't need to. They have been making XK panels for over 30 years and they seemed pretty good at it. All the sheet metal for the 150 that was Champion of Champions last year came from them. They are also reasonably priced.
I finished up buying the rear assembly, spare wheel tray, both outer wings, the floor and transmission tunnel, sills and shut face panels. James also repaired my boot lid and re-skinned one door. As you can see, the whole lot goes in the back of a pickup.
I ordered this lot in the Spring of last year and finally got to collect them in late November. Good job I wasn't in a hurry although if I had been I'm sure I could have had them sooner.
How well it all fits only time will tell but it all does look pretty good to me. Now just the simple matter of cutting the old body in half and welding this lot together.
As far as the front end is concerned, this is in much better shape. Standard repair panels will be OK here but because there is quite a bad dent in the right hand wing, James has made a larger than normal repair panel.
I did consider replacing the whole wing but this is not only a lot more expensive, James advised against doing this as it can be very difficult to get the correct alignment once the wing is removed. By fitting repair panels only, the alignment can be preserved.
The large repair panel is minus the headlight pod as I intend to save this from the old wing. Again, the advice was to re-use the pod if possible as they do vary a little in shape.
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Jaguar XK 140 Restoration