Last month I had the pleasure of trimming this beautiful 1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC (fixed head coupe) for a local client from Duncan - Garth Taylor.
Garth inherited the car in pieces from his late father who had owned the car since 1960. Garth had many fond memories of it from his childhood growing up. The car was owned and loved by his family for decades when his father began a full restoration of it in the mid 1990's.
When Garth inherited the project a year and a half ago, it was still apart and mostly in boxes with some pieces missing.
Garth had Alan Simpson restore the car back to its former glory while Merritt restoration did the paint. When it was ready to install the interior, Garth contacted me. He had already purchased interior kits from BAS (my former employer years ago) and needed someone with experience in the marque to assemble and install everything.
While I have lots of experience producing all the interior kit components for these in the past, and I've completely installed interiors on several XK120 roadsters in the past, the FHC was a much rarer breed.
In fact of the 12,000 or so XK120's made, only 2672 were FHC's - this would be my first time fully trimming one - and there were lots of pieces missing!
To start with I had to find and assemble a new inner wood tack strip assembly for securing the rear headliner in the cockpit. Luckily we found these components through a private dealer on E-bay. These consisted of several specifically shaped pieces of birch plywood riveted together with the body and aluminum trim strips. The wool headliner and steel headliner bows would secure to these wood tacks in specific locations...
I also had to completely fabricate all the rear storage box assembly from scratch based on photos of what it should be. All the original wood structure was long gone, but I was lucky to find enough good pics to make it all new again...
Here you can see it all coming together with the grey wool headliner and burl-wood trim around the windows now being installed too...
The rear storage box & battery access on the FHC was quite the tricky assembly! - all hinged wood panels neatly trimmed in vinyl with grey wool-cloth on the inside as original...
Here is the front carpets and kick panels going in, complete with the proper Moquette covered J-rubber door seals...
The completed door panels are installed with fresh vapor barrier behind them, and the burl-wood capping pieces and chrome hardware...
The Hardura boot floor mat and the boot lid panel were installed too -
With the interior nearing completion, it was time to restore the unique curve back seats.
I started by cleaning up and re-painting the seat frames and hardware.
Then I proceeded to fully trim the seats with all new foams, leather covers, hardboard trim panels in vinyl, and new Moquette on the backs... Creating the right amount of curve in the backrest profile on these is crucial...
With the seats all finished, I lightly greased the tracks and bolted them in the car to finish things off.
The owner still had some mechanical & electrical work left to do before the dash could be completely installed and finished, but aside from that this interior is now complete - and what a stunning addition it makes!
Jobs like this are always such a joy to do! This beautiful Jaguar has been a part of Garth's family for generations, I feel honored to be a part of its continued legacy and history. It's the history and stories that come with owning these cars that make my job feel so deeply gratifying!
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.