Filler on body, from factory?

Gents, bought myself a 1990 XJ40 to fix up, it has holes rusted in the body.

I removed some paint behind the rear doors to have a look in what condition the body was underneath, and I noticed there’s a hell of a lot body filler there, on both sides.
So, the filler is from the end of the rear doors towards the back of the car. So that the rear doors don’t stick out that much from the body.
It doesn’t look like the car has been in an accident.
The filler was done very nicely, if there wasn’t a dodgy section there I never would have noticed there’s that much filler.

My question, does this come like this from factory? What’s hard to believe. Or is there something dodgy going on? Looks like the rear doors could go in a bit more…
Does the arch of the door follow the arch of the body nicely with the XJ40?

I hope I wrote it down clear enough…

Thats been bodged to my mind.

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If it is lead filler, it will be factory. If it is ‘bog’, it is a repair. The colour shown seems to be a grey typical of lead solder and you can test by pushing a sharp point into it. Lead wiping was done on most cars for decades to cover joins between sections which had welded seams or where a smooth transition was needed, say, between pillars and sills and around windscreen corners.

The modernising of body design and construction has eliminated this task which presented serious health risks to the artisans. Avoid sanding this type of filler, wear masks and wash your hands so that you don’t transfer any lead residue to your lunch sandwiches.


I wonder what happened to the car…
Not looking forward fixing it, we’ll see how it ends up.

What you see is zinc primer, not lead.

They didn’t use lead or body filler when the XJ40 was assembled. By that time production had been modernised, robots were assembling the panels onto the cars which were produced a lot more accurately than on earlier models. You can take a door from one XJ40 and it will fit directly onto another without requiring any sort of filler, it’s the same for body panels like fenders, and also the bonnet and boot lid. On earlier models, if you tried swapping a door or fender, unless you were very lucky some filling would be required, or the panel might even be slightly larger and need material removing because each car was 'hand finished ’ meaning no two were exactly the same.

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