A few doubts on a recently aquired XK140 SE FHC

Hi guys! I just aquired a 1955 XK140 SE FHC. I just love those coupes!

It seems like a very good car with a prior restoration done according to it’s heritage certificate. Car is matching numbers, and with correct Pearl gray color and gray and blue interior… BUT, there are a few items I have doubts about and would love to find out if they are correct or not.

  1. Taillights. The car sports Lucas L-549 lenses, but ORANGE! They might be original or at least very old, as they do show crazing. The car was sold originally in Texas. Why orange?

  2. Engine fan. It has a metallic base and structure with a sort of fiberglass material for the green blades. Could this be correct?

  3. Brakes. I understand the car should have drum brakes but apparently it was updated to discs. Also the brake fluid deposit was updated. Can I think of installing a regular metallic black canister so that it would look correct when looking at the engine bay?

  4. Windshield washer jar. A friend noted that the jar is not original to the car and it should be a square jar with a black top with the vaccuum diaphragm unit on top. Is this correct?

I will try to post a few pics…

Any help and comments greatly appreciated!

Here are a few pics…

Oh, and looking at the pics I just remembered I want to ask about the external rear view mirrors. It only has one, on the driver’s side. Is this common or should I think of installing a matching pair?


Salut Victor , belle voiture, elles ont bientôt 70 ans, vu plusieurs propriétaires, des dizaines de bricoleurs et mécaniciens, faut la faire pour quelle te plaise a toi, origine ou pas a toi de voir !! pour moi ce n’est pas très important !! certain pays avaient des normes différentes pour les feux, ils devraient être rouge, pour les pales a part la couleur… si cela fonctionne bien et que le véhicule ne chauffe pas
Tu vas encore découvrir des surprises avec le temps, fait de belles balades et ca c’est important…

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Very nice Car, I love a XK140FHC, and have one myself.
The XK140 never came with side Mirrors, it was a dealer option.
I hate those mirrors they mounted on the fenders. I have clip-on mirrors on the doors.
This water bottle and brake fluid reservoir are from a very late XK150.
The XK140 had indeed a square one, with a vacuum membrane on top.
The Fan does looks rather strange to me.
Rear lenses, should be Red, never seen orange.

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Nice car. I restored my 1955 XK 140 FHC SE in the period 2004 to 2014. I could answer your questions one by one, but possibly you will encounter new problems. Therefore I refer to my website Jaguar XK 140 FHC Part & Assembly Information | All information is structured according the Jaguar XK 140 Spare Parts Catalogue where you will find answers on most of your questions. See some pics below on the subjects you’re looking for.

PS. I guess the sun in Texas has faded the red pigments in the plastic and now has become more orange. These lamp lenses are easy to obtain as they were used by many British cars of that era.

Bob K.

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That fan is called a Flexfan or Flex-o-lite fan. The idea is that the blades deflect when it gets going really fast.
Here is the normal XK140 fan, 8 aluminum blades on a steel center spider.

US delivered cars had a mirror on the left front fender, and you could get a matching one for the right front if you wanted it.

Moss Motors and others have the correct brake fluid reservoir, mirror and fan.

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Amber tail lenses on an XK140 are CORRECT! Yep, amber L549 tail lenses lenses were made by Lucas from about 1954 through 1957, and many XK140s, Mark VIIs, Triumph TR3s, MGAs and Swallow Dorettis, among others, came with these. Why this is true is a mystery. My own two XK140s have them. I have a friend who bought his MGA new in 1956 and it came with amber lenses.
It is true that the red pigments do turn clear or even somewhat amber with extensive sun exposure, but yours are NOT sun-damaged, although they do have hairline cracks, as most of these do. They are usually not structural and are quite hard to see.
You can tell an original amber L549 lens from a sun-faded one because the red lenses had a RED reflector (the reflectors are glued-in), while the amber ones came with CLEAR reflectors.
I collect these lenses and have quite a few, including some NOS ones that have barely ever been in the sun. Same Lucas part number as the red ones, though!
See my blog on this subject here: Lucas L549 and L563 Lens Color Variations in Jaguars of the 1950s and 1960s
Keep the amber lenses! They are unusual and look great on your white coupe. It’s only original once…


Forget to mention, we love 140 coupes and own two of them, and we stock lots of parts that are unique to these cars, including the unique square washer bottle (two on the shelf) in case you want one.

Geoff Rogers

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Salut Gaétan et merci beaucoup pour les commentaires. C’est vrai, c’est ma voiture… mais je suis favorable à ce qu’elles soient aussi originales que possible, mais bien sûr, la question du bon fonctionnement est plus importante.

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Thanks a lot, Peter Jan, Bob, Rob and Geoff!

So, after your very kind responses, here is what I found out: (using my same number from the original post).

  1. Taillights. Amber or orange lenses are ok for my car… so they will stay as they are, until I can find better ones that show no crazing (though mines are not bad at all). Thanks for the reference to your blog, Geoff. Very informative.

  2. Engine fan. So, it appears I have a Flexfan or Flex-o-lite fan. Question still is: is this a valid setup for Jaguar, some period option, or is it an aftermarket accesory? If so, I would look at replacing it with the regular steel and aluminum fan.

  3. Brakes. I can change the current plastic canister for the regular black metallic can found originally in these cars.

  4. Windshield washer jar. I should look for a the square one, with a vacuum membrane on top. Geoff, if you have that extra one, I’d certainly be interested, if it has the metallic base also, as my current one would not fit a square jar.

  5. Mirrors. Fender mirror, left side, was regularly supplied for US cars. I can find a matching mirror and add it to the right side.

So, there it is… thank you all for your very informative responses.

Aftermarket from the 70s


A few more doubts:

  1. Original keys. The car has FA locks. There is one Wilmot Breeden UNION round one that appears original, and it opens only the trunk lock. The other one, which has a Jaguar emblem and is surely an aftermarket key, operates ignition, door locks, cubby door lock and gas cap lock. I read this was supposed to be a round key also.
    Is this what was supplied originally for a 1955 FHC? All FA locks and with two round keys?

  2. Lighter. The car has a big chrome knob lighter. Is this correct?

  1. Trunk rod. Is it normal to be held unto the lid and kept in position by a leather strap
    like in the pic attached?

  1. Hood rod. It is kept in stowe away position by a rubber (in my case all painted) at th back of the hood. Where should it be held in the engine bay? I used something I found with a hole in the head… I guess it is a kind of plug…


My 120 has this bracket on the left side for the bonnet prop rod.

and this clip to hold it.

The boot lid rod has this clip.

Of course the 140 could be different. No doubt the 140 experts will post something.

On the disc brake conversion, you will want to find out what the restorer did in the way of balancing the front and rear pressures, and whether there is a vacuum assist unit.

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Bob! I am really impressed! Your site has an unbelievable amount of work! A tremendously valuable way of sharing information! It will be of tremendous help.

Thanks a lot!

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More pics to answer your questions.
Brake reservoir.

Wing mirrors:for the XK 140 these wing/fender mirrors were available ex factory (according Salesman’s Data Book)

Original keys: Round head and rectangular head had a different number. I understand that some 140’s may have had FNR (early) or FP (very late) key numbers.
Door lock FA round head
Petrol filler FA round head
Ignition lock FA round head
Boot lock FA rectangular head
Cubby box FA rectangular head


Trunk (Boot) rod fixation: special clip, same as XK 120 but now with round plate behind it.

Hood (Bonnet) Rod: is placed in bracket on radiator

Hope this helps

Bob K.


Thank you, Tom! I will have to look for a correct fan. I have a 1960 MK2 that is becomming sort of a parts car for two other MK2 I have… I am hoping the fan will be the same as in the XK140.

That is also true for the cigarette lighter.

Thanks again,

Thank you Bob!!! Sure it helps, and a lot.

The cigarette lighter, I will source it from my MK2 parts car, as I believe they are the same.

I just did not understand the trunk cover prop rod thing… that circular plate. What is it for? and then a clip also, correct? I would need to source those to correct it in my car.

Thanks again!

Thank you, Rob! I don’t believe it has a vacuum assist unit but I will take care to check on everything. In fact, the first thing I check when buying an old car is the brakes!


I believe the circular plate is to protect the boot liner so the flange on the prop rod doesn’t cut into the vinyl:

Although it’s not perfectly aligned on my car, it is in the exact spot the factory originally mounted it.