Dropping an XK120 OTS body back onto its chassis - video

There’s a recent thread discussing the subject manoeuvre for an XK140 OTS, which indicates it’s not the same for the XK120 OTS. I pulled it off last April, during which I took video, but only got around today to editing it all down to a reasonable length and uploading it onto YouTube. The process involves using a shop crane attached to angle iron cockpit bracing to very carefully lower the body in small increments while shifting the rolling chassis, supported by wheel dollies, into position below.

Offered without recommendation, and the usual caveats about the need to be very careful and taking your own personal responsibility to avoid damages and personal injury.



You didn’t happen to do a video or have much detail on removing the body do you? This would be an invaluable thread for future searches to make it how to remove and replace including bracing required.


Hey there, Matthew. I bought the car as a barn find basket case. The PO had separated the body from the frame and had them tanked. The body twisted in half at the rear of the sills in the process and that’s how he left it. So, it was a long iterative process to remate the two halves of the body to the frame and do the initial restorative bodywork, fit doors and weld in new sills. Only then did I weld in the cockpit bracing to stabilise the body before lifting it off the frame and mounting it to a rotisserie in order to complete the bodywork and paint. I did take a fair bit of video of the process, including the cockpit bracing and rotisserie. Most of it’s raw footage that awaits time and ambition to edit and compile before I can post it but I do have an edited segment that I took the day before the above video that may be useful.

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Great video Nick! I’m about a year behind you on my '54 fhc (681324). Chassis is pretty much finished. Welder has not been available to put on the new sills. Did you make that wondrous shop crane yourself? The long legs are perfect to get the correct cg positions, as you certainly know. I have the steering column and box on the garage floor in the same place. Good to see the radiator in place also. We took the body off the chassis in the driveway using a large A-frame. It won’t fit in the garage hence the search for the lift.
Best regards

Hey there, Martin. The shop crane’s a standard commercial offering available at several stores. I bought this one at Canadian Tire for a couple hundred dollars but it or something similar will be available at places like Harbor Freight and others. You will of course need to rig up some sort of alternative sling arrangement to do the same manoeuvre on a fixed head but the process will be otherwise the same.

Here’s another short video providing more detail into the construction of the cockpit bracing:

This video is also very informative. The 2x2x3/16 angle stock is indeed appropriately sturdy. Thanks again Nick.
Best regards

Wow. Both videos are very helpful. I was particularly looking for information on the cockpit bracing and the second video shows it quite well. It is obvious you didn’t skimp on that obviously important step. My car is an XK-140 OTS so I don’t thing there is much difference in the way they should be braced. Thanks for the excellent insight.

Tom A,

That video with the bracing is outstanding. I like the idea of using existing holes to help attach bracing. (I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that…, should be obvious - Right??) You have likely covered this previously and I missed it, but did you have the body and chassis dipped ?

Thanks again,

Tom A.

The body and frame were dipped in Grand Rapids MI by the reported second owner shortly after he acquired the car around 1970. The first owner maintained a residence in Florida as well as Wisconsin, the latter state of course using salt on its winter roads. It was at the time an unmolested low mileage original that looked better than it actually was and once all the paint was stripped off and the rust removed presented more of a restoration challenge than he was prepared to undertake and he lost interest. The sills were shot, as well as the spare tire tray and the lower parts of the front bulkhead framework, battery boxes, headlamp and side lamp pods etc. The thing languished in a barn for a long time and acquired a bunch of dents and dings over the years. This is part of a video I took back in 1991 when I bought the basket case … still not on the road almost 30 years on …

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Thats a great video, was it easier to put the radiator in? Or could it have been after…Nice technique.

It’s easier installing the rad ahead of time, Joey, but it does require exercising more care when dropping the body to avoid fouling.

Wonderful was the petrol tank as well?
I couldn’t see it
But really that was a great idea and only using one hoist!
Nice job
Almost forgot what did you use for body mounts rubber or polly

Oh yes, the fuel tank install with its felt buffers is a must-do with the body off. Not impossible with body on by any means, but much easier with only the frame to contend with.

Almost forgot
Rubber or Polly mounts?

Rubber. 1/4” thick.
… for the rad saddles, that is.

Nice …

Any custom or hot rod touches?

None. After having this project for almost 30 years my principal motivation is finishing the thing before I can’t do the work anymore. For the time being it’s 95% restored to original spec. Once it’s on the road and I’ve had the opportunity to drive it for awhile I may explore options to upgrade the steering and brakes, but will more likely leave it as it is.

Its good to see its almost complete , it is 30 years…wow.
Good job.