Convert from wire to steel wheels - XK120

Hi all,
I’m very much enjoying my new (to me) XK120, and am making a list of things I would like to do (over time) to make it more ‘my own’.

One of those things is to remove the 60 spoke Wire Wheels, and replace with the original steel wheels that came with the car.

I understand the project requires new hubs in place of the splined ones.

But other than that, is there anything else I will need, noting I do not wish to fit the spats or hub caps at this stage

Here is some motivation for steel wheels and no spats:


Thanks in advance

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Front hubs and non-dished front brake drums for disc wheels. Your car is early, so the rears should be there with the 5 studs once the splined adapters are removed. Oh, and disc wheels and front wheel (lug) nuts, of course. The rear adapters should be held on with the correct wheel nuts. Can’t think of anything else…

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with disc wheels you could have either the original early 5 inch or the later from factory, 5.5 inch widths.

Also, check the length of the rear lug bolts as you may need to order a new full set (nominal expense). The reason being, some suppliers of the rear wire wheel spline hub adapters (this, assuming you still have an ENV-type rear axle) recommended cutting short the bolt studs so as not to potentially interfere with the back of the wire wheel hubs.

Otherwise, +1 to the other comments as above.

If you indeed have the original ENV axle, there are no new hubs to worry about at the rear, ENVs have a one-piece axle and hub.

If on the other hand you have a Salisbury rear axle, you want to get rear hubs from a saloon such as a Mark V, VII, VIII or IX.

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If your axle differential case looks like the following picture (view from behind), it’s an ENV axle (original). That would make the change back to the steel wheels a lot easier.

MkIX hubs are different, originally having disc brakes.

Thanks all for the input.
I’m relieved - it doesn’t sound like as big a job as I feared.
I do still have the ENV axle - I’m glad that doesn’t make matters harder, as I had read somewhere that the half-shafts may have needed to be modified.

I will see if I can gather the parts.

Next question then - Body colour steel wheels (i.e. Red on Red), or black wheels?
They are currently body coloured and in good condition, and I guess body-coloured is more “correct”, but I’ve always liked red cars on black wheels…

Its totally your personal choice…
If you have any interest/desire to enter a concours, then you must stay with the ‘correct’ body coloured wheels - its not a case of ‘more correct’ as its either correct or not correct, and black wheels on a red car are ‘not correct’.
But if you have no desire to enter a concours - that has clear rules re authenticity - then of course you can paint the wheels whichever colour you personally prefer - bearing in mind your personal preference ‘non-authentic’ choices may not be shared by others, if/when you ever decide to on-sell…

I guess that’s like being “a little bit pregnant”… :grin::grin::grin:.

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My car was at one time red with black wheels. To my mind, it looked distinctly odd. But, it’s a personal thing - judge for yourself!

XK120 660405 zzk 10.11.05 for sale Jaguar Driver

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Thanks Roger -
You are correct, of course, there is no such thing as ‘more’ or ‘less’ correct, as it is either one or the other.
However, if you can humour me, my thinking was that on one hand, I have chrome wire wheels which are not correct for 1950 (or for any year, given they are 60 spoke), and on the other hand I have original steel wheels in body colour which are correct, so then perhaps having original steel wheels in another colour is at least one step in the right direction, and even if not correct when taken as a whole, it would have more correct elements than before.

Its all a moot point really - the car and wheels are a shade of red that was never used on the XK120, so its not even “correct” anyway, so its not winning a concourse any time soon…!

Haha, gosh, you are correct, it doesn’t quite look right (no offense)… certainly not what I had in mind.
To be honest, red is not my favourite on an XK120.
That bronze colour looks fantastic - very nice.

love that non red color…or colour…what is it? Nick

It is Bronze that was an option on the earlier XK120. It’s the original colour on my car. Jaguar phased out the metallics when they changed the type of paint they used. Was it some time in 1952??

altho my 120 is red…i sure do like that bronze color !! Mine was originally Lavender Gray…I have yet to see that color live in person…but in pics it seemed rather dull. Nick

Bronze and Suede Green are my two favourite colours on a 120. I did know an XK140 fhc which was still in its original Lavender Grey and rather liked it, too. But it is quite a “quiet” colour.