Looked at a 140MC OTS today

It’s been “restored”, about 20 years ago.

The good:
Strong engine once we got the float valves unstuck (been sitting a while). Quiet rear end. Stable steering, as tight as I would expect. New interior, leather, all trimmed well in trunk, new cloth top. The trunk is truly rust-free and as we had to swap the battery I saw that this structure was in very good condition. Seems to have all new plywood floors. Side curtains are fair to good and complete.

The chassis has fine rust but looks to be in good cond. I couldn’t find any sign on frame or repair of areas in distress.

4 Chrome wheels in VG condition. Everything is there. MATCHING NUMBERS all-round. It is a proper MC made in May 1956.

The so-so:
Most chrome was very good, some just fair. Dash panel at gauges is over-padded and looks silly. Tires are 20 years old, gotta be replaced. Painted wire spare, no harm there. One front brake cylinder stuck, pulled badly. Paint is 90%, showing cracks in suspect areas, below.

The bad:
Body work has obviously been done badly. Bondo Betty. Fiberglass shards are evident at the bottom of the doglegs, rockers, we’ve all seen this - it’s a dead give-away. Most gaps and edges show bondo wasn’t finished off very well, it was obviously an amateur job. The fenders for the most part seem fairly good overall. The doglegs and rockers at least (and likely some supporting parts) need to be replaced.
The hood had been bent with a reinforcement pop-riveted to one edge, slight bulge. I can make an invisible repair here.
The trans is original and the syncros are tired, second gear was an ordeal. An overhaul is needed or maybe a conversion to a 5 spd…?
One of the headlight bezels fit very poorly - as if the fender nacelle was too small. One side fit well, one trim ring seems to be too big to fair smoothly to the body. Can’t figure this out yet. Are the 120 or 150 headlight trim rings different sizes tan the 140’s?

The door hinge pins are shot. The dovetails are severely worn.

Oh…My wife wants it!!!

So, he’s asking high 60’s. And I cautiously want it… pretty much . I have no problem with bodywork, been doing it since '73. I’d like a little guidance as I’ve no experience with this body.

Are decent patch panels (dog legs, interior supports, rockers, front fender bottom edge, etc) available??

What do you think of the price, assuming I’m doing all the work including paint?



There is something very wrong with bottom sill line on RH side ie back wing, door and front wing!

well… I smell a rats nest… with an sort of Ok paint job to hide it… 60 grand… and another 50 and you might get a good car… maybe… and how many years of ‘free’ time ?

For me, “my wife wants it” , would cause me to make a deal and get started. Lori drives our XK120 quite often.
I’d say the poor rust repairs that you describe are typical of some 20 year old “restorations”. And fixable because all the panels are available. Plus all the chrome is available. 140 and 150 headlight trims are basically the same, but there are variations based on sealed beams vs reflector types. Have fun!


In situations like this it invariably becomes a "heart’ or “head” scenario, tempered by what is it you want. If you want a regional JCNA 90 plus point car then maybe Godfrey has a point, on the other hand if you simply want a reasonably good example to enjoy driving this one looks like it could easily fit the bill. From what you are saying you can sort out the body/paint issues considerably cheaper than many of us who would have to seek out professionals in a reputable body shop.

Take a look, if you don’t already, at the website Bring-a-Trailer. They frequently feature XKs and the folks who follow the auctions and comment are, for the most part, pretty knowledgeable. It gives you a pretty accurate idea of the current market place. No affiliation, just a useful resource if you are in the market.

In my case, 56 years ago, it was definitely a “heart” thing. I just fell for the car and wanted it, regardless of all it’s faults (and they were legion). While driving the car on Saturday a burly, bearded gentleman astride a Harley-Davidson who had been following me for a couple of miles pulled alongside. He tooted his horn to get my attention and when I glanced sideways he gave me a wide smile a raised his thumb. The car will never be a show vehicle, but it affords me a great deal of pleasure while generating that kind of response. That works for me, however, as stated above, it depends on what you want.



Yes Chris. This is all 100% correct. I’ve driven a few that we’re just OK, but I’ve gotten a rep in the area for producing 90-95 point restos.

This car may never be the one that gets this treatment because frankly, I’m tired of going upside-down while spending 600-1,200 hours. I’m getting a bit old for frame-offs and the XK’s are huge projects if you want to do one correctly.

I’m beginning to think this way now: This is a $110 to 120K car… minus what it will take to get it there. If I get it for say $65K, can I get it to where I’d be proud to show it and spend close to $120K total? The answer is a hard yes. Now I have to decide if I want to.

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Mr. Mitchman,
I have had this conversation with myself a few times with cars. Beg the question, would I rather have my 60+ grand sitting in my boring money market account or have it sitting in my garage waiting for my instruction?

Mitch, my 2 cents’ worth…
-You want one
-You are proven capable of the work
-money does not appear to be an object
-your wife wants it.

Seems simple to me!

Philip and Wigs… the voices in my head.

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make what ever deal you can…buy it. Nick

I don’t disagree BUT it ain’t worth nothin’ 'til it’s done! and that could easily be a number of years and many thousands more… Have you considered buying one that is already done for the120K ? Which probably cost more to do … and your wife can enjoy NOW.

there’s a sticker on some “classics” and hot rods…" .built not bought"…depends on what ya wanna do. Nick

Nick it ain’t YOUR time that will go into it…or your wife!

as said…depends…but it WAS my time…that went into my xk120…and I have had offers…way more than what it is worth…could have sold…pocket the extra and still have plenty to buy a completed one…but I’d just have to buy another already done…someone elses time and work…and that just AIN’T the same feelin. N.

Point taken… I did the same… but years ago… different world, different life… would I sell mine… depends… only if someone offered me stupid $$ for it… but now I have the ‘Ctype’ to play with. So the poor ol’ 120 is a lawn ornament.

YUP. Ain’t the same.

you might reflect on this when you come to sell it after the 600 > 1200 hours of ‘free’ time that you have expended on it… or your wife sells it as your 'uncompleted project ’ in your estate. for whatever she can get for it. let me see lets say for arguments sake that we take the difference… ( 900 hrs) divide $50K by 900 = $55.50/hr I suppose I could find a way to justify that IF there were no other costs in that figure… ( parts, paint , shop supplies, etc etc ) which tend to add up in a hurry in my experience.

I’m relatively sure Mitch knows all that: I say we let an informed, knowledgeable owner make his own choice, in how he chooses --or not-- to engage in this hobby.

Yea, there is a balance to be had. When I’ve got a project in the resto bay, I eat dinner while standing at the sink and don’t stop til 9 or 10 at night. I watch very little TV. Huge waste of time.

I’ve built or restored 5 cars in 7 years. I bought, restored, and sold an MGA while waiting 8 months for the body for the TC Special to arrive from England. It was a Bondo Betty when I got it. The hours spent don’t matter. Really… just like a golfer doesn’t count the hours spent getting a tan.

The equation on this 140 isn’t do I want one, it’s do I want to restore one (this one). I bought an older restored E-Type last year so I could spend only 2 months on it to get it on the road right away while working on the TC. Another one on my list is to build a V8 MGB. There are some incredible F/R suspensions available for these now.

Everyone’s motivations are different. Mine is selfish. I’ve had 2 cancers in 30 years and at 62 the years I’ll want to or will be able to do this are growing short. I want to do everything. It’s a shame we have to sleep.

After finishing radiation treatments in 1992 I went to classes to learn to skydive to celebrate, and then jumped out of an airplane.

Do it now.


Do it now, indeed: we are not guaranteed any future time.

That’s why I’m gonna sell up, and hit the road in my RV: I no longer want things: I want experiences.

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