Door cards(casings) XK120 ots

Can anyone tell me what is the correct covering for the door cards of a 1952 Xk120 ots? Some of my books say leather others leather cloth. Also the piping on the seat covers, again leather or leather cloth?


The recent JCNA XK120 Judging Guide states: “The door casings and pocket flaps for the first few hundred steel cars made in 1950, were trimmed in leather, but thereafter they were trimmed with Rexine (Exact demarkation dates unknown)”
I believe that the seat piping was most likely always Rexine covered, as leather would have proven too thick.
Good luck,

The last time I had a car trimmed I enquired about what the pipng material was to be used.

I was informed, the same Connolly hide material I questioned the thickness.

The trimmer showed me his skivver. Its a little machine with rotating knives, similar to a surface planer. The leather was cut into 1 1/4" wide strips and fed into skivver rough side to the knives. When it came out it was trial wrapped around a plastic cord. Another trial run and the thickness needed was acheived.

Machine was not cheap but under $4K. I was told that the machine meant the leather pipng ALWAYS matched the seat material as they were the same.

Worth its weight in gold I was informed.

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660876 aug 1951 were leather suede green I have the originals
660999 june 1952 bits of leather remained
This should be something that is easy to come up with better demarcation chassis numbers.
Certainly without checking all the piping was vinyl initially on cane later cord. Once again very easy to check with many cars still having original seat trim.
As noted leather in the old days was shived ie reduced in thickness and an old trimmer I spoke to who worked for the top english trimmer in the 30’s as an apprentice his job with a very sharp knife was to skive the leather by hand for piping for seats in RR’s obviously they didn’t have the $4000 machine!

Thanks Terry,

As my car was December 1952 I think the cards were most likely covered in leather cloth then. Unfortunately when I bought the car the doors had already been retrimmed in vinyl, badly!


Thanks for your advice Lovell, yes I know all about skiving leather I still have the scars to prove it!! I think the easiest solution would be to use a matching colour leather cloth (Rexine) the same stuff I used for the seat piping.


Both my 1938 SS and my 1950 Mark V have the original seat piping made of a simulated leatherette cloth sewn over cane. Rexine, naugahyde, vinyl, or call it what you like, but the making of piping out of real leather was out of date by 1938. I do not know when cord replaced cane.

You may be interested to know how piping is made in quantity. In my early career I worked for a furniture factory and saw it made in mass production.
We would get in rolls of vinyl, 54" or 60" wide and about 12" diameter, so 300-400 feet. They were cut with a band saw into 2" wide x 12" diameter donuts. The donut and a spool of cord were set up on an industrial sewing machine which had a special curled foot, into which the material and cord were fed. It was very fast, and the sewer hardly needed to even hold it. There was a takeup spool to collect the finished 300 to 400 feet of piping.
Then to sew it between two sheets of seat upholstery, there was another sewing machine with a different special foot just for doing this one kind of seam. The sewer would finish the piece and then cut the piping off from the takeup spool.

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Thanks Rob, actually I’m an upholsterer though antique furniture not cars. My XK being mid production would have probably had rexine covered door casings.

I’ve since found reference in a XK120 book saying only the early production cars had leather covered door cards. Many thanks for your pictures. Connolly Hide Food by the way is very good for cracked leather.


Here’s just a bit more on the door coverings and seat piping, confirming Rob’s finding. No longer relying on my memory, I retrieved the original door panels and seat coverings from my 1952 OTS 672XXX. The attached pictures show the door panels to be covered in leather and the seat piping to be some sort of fabric, assumed to be Rexine.

Thanks Dick,

These are the original door covers from 1952?


Yes, there’s the single picture of the back of an original 1952 door panel (showing its leather covering) and 3 pictures of the (fabric) covered piping on a 1952 original seat cushion.
I guess I have to add that I’ve owned this car since March 1956. I saved the original seat and door coverings when it was re-upholstered in ~1985.

So Dick’s 1952 original has piping made of rexine over cord.
My original seat covering pipings from my Nov 1951 car are rexine over cane.

So with two pieces of evidence, we can tentatively narrow down the date of the change from cane to cord as late '51 or '52.

660224 sept 1950 was cane but well inside rob’s late 51/52
I have seat covers of 660876 aug 1951 and from memory can can’t check at this stage

Very interesting! My car is also 52.

Many thanks to all. The casings will now be leather with Rexine piping. John