Tonneau cover 1952 XK120 OTS Snap placement

Just received my new Tonneau cover and ready for installation. Can any share a photo of the snap placement and the post locations? Appears that another Tonneau was installed on a row of snaps 6 inches behind the crash roll and a row of snaps on the dash. I have heard that there are 3 post snaps outside the teardrop bars on the rear top location each side that the top attaches to but mine has only 2…Unfortunately I don’t have an example that I see look at. Since the snaps are not attached to the cover I can use the existing locations however I feel like the should be more attachments especially on the front door tops.

I know the “short” hood (top) only has 2 snap studs each side at the rear, long hoods having 3. There should be no attachments on the doors themselves, with one on each side of the windscreen pillar and 2 behind the centre of the screen, one of which also serves as one of the mirror mounts.

Here’s a picture of my recently-sold, 63 year-owned OTS, 672776, and an excerpt from the JCNA approved XK120 Judging Guide. While additional fasteners, behind the crash roll, were practical, the factory never used anything but the hood bar retainers to hold the rear end of the tonneau. If you want the car to be authentic, the only tonneau fasteners you’ll have are the two or three fasteners, on each side, behind the shut panel, the posts near the base of each wind screen pillar and a single post, on the passenger-side, near the rear view mirror.

Tonneau Cover (OTS) 22

Early steel-bodied tonneau cover

Early front ‘Tenax’ stud. (March 1950 to August 1951).

Later front ‘Lift-the-dot’ stud. (August 1951) onwards.

• From OTS chassis nos. RHD 660059 to 660879 and LHD 670185 to 671465 (Mar 1950 to Aug 1951), the lock (BD.4646) RH and (BD.3825) LH Tonneau has 3 Lift-the-Dot fasteners at the forward end of the Tonneau and 4 Durable-Dot fasteners. 2 on each side, which attach to their matching studs mounted onto the body behind the doors.

• From OTS chassis nos. RHD 660880 and LHD 671466 (Aug 1951) onwards, the lock (BD.6454) RH and (BD.5853) LH Tonneau has 3 Lift-the-Dot fasteners at the forward end of the Tonneau and 4 Durable-Dot fasteners, 3 on each side which attach to the body behind the doors.

• The Tonneau Cover has a 34” zipper sewn down the middle.

• There is a pocket piece for the steering wheel.

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Dick, thank you very much for the great information. My car has snaps everywhere around the cockpit. I am trying to get this new tonneau attached snugly with the fewest number of snaps as possible. The excess snaps will be removed and the holes sorted.

This helps me immensely and I really appreciate your guidance and photo.

Dick is quite right, there is only one Tenax snap fastener at the front centre of the tonneau. Early cars (up to 660879 and 671465) had a special short Tenax (BD 3822) as the passenger side mounting of the mirror. This was so the passenger side could remain closed if desired, while driving. Later cars had a Durable Dot fastener next to the mirror on the passenger side. BTW, I’m quoting from the Viart “XK120 Explored” book. Maybe Dick could post a picture showing the exact placement of the fastener by the mirror on later cars?

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tonneau covers
short and long
early cars were mohair type material late cars were plastic type material
colour of tonneau was not necessarily same colour as hood and sidecurtains and was more likely colour of car.
The tag holding tonneau to lower windscreen pillar should just be part of tonneau cover not a strap like white car shown above.
Pictures are of original factory tonneau covers

Terry, when did the change to plastic type material occur, approximatey? My bronze car originally had a Sand hood - I suppose the tonneau would have been the same?

Exact positioning of the front center post fastener may depend somewhat on the tailoring of the tonneau. My (1952) car, purchased in 1956, did not use the mirror base as a position for that post fastener. The attached picture is the best I have for its location. I realize that the tonneau leather straps, for the windshield post fasteners, were not found on my earlier tonneaus but I didn’t question my “trusted supplier” Bill Basset. Also, while outside the quoted chassis number, 672776 only had the 2 fasteners to the rear of the shut-panels on each side.The Parts Book is not clear when the 3rd fastener was added.

the three holes 2 for rear vision mirror and the one for tonneau peg are punched into panel ie predrilled they are not drilled later, so position is preset.

Interesting to see that, Dick - thanks!

I’ve just read in the Schmid book that the tonneau material was changed from mohair to Duranide in August 1951.

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Thank you all for your fantastic information and photos, it is now very clear to me!

I have discovered that in addition to the lift a dot stud location to the right of the mirror on the dash and the stud located in the right mounting hole on the mirror there is a third verified location for this stud. My 52 OTS had a monting hole located dieectly in front of the right side of the mirror which indicated this was where the stud should be located. I verified this location by looking at a similiar 52 OTS, photo included.

Hello Guys!
My car is a May, 1951 car that was shipped directly to Byrson’s (Brylaws) in Melbourne, Australia. I bought the car in Australia and started the restoration process there. The car came with us to Germany and the restoration finished there. It is a RHD car and always has been. It was used as a race car and came with the Windscreen removed and the twin Aeroscreens fitted. I used the holes already drilled when it came to fitting a new Tonneau Cover. No additional holes were drilled to fit the Tonneau Cover. How do you explore the Fasteners around the cockpit and the fact there are more than what is being discussed here?
Karl Robertson

I will post pictures here tomorrow. Can’t seem too do it from my phone here.


Remember that next to the Tonneau Cover, there’s also the Hood (Soft Top). In an ideal world, the Tonneau Cover and the Hood could have used the same fasteners, but there are many changes made during the production of the XK 120 and you shouldn’t excluded that either the Tonneau Cover and/or the Hood have been replaced somewhere in the past, making new holes for the fasteners.

Your May 1951 car should already have the later arrangement of the “Teardrops” that hold both the rear of the (now longer) Tonneau Cover and the (later) Hood.

The front fasteners remained (more or less) the same over the entire XK 120 production, meaning three (left, centre and right) at the front for the Tonneau Cover.
But with the introduction of the later Tonneau and Hood, there were three fasteners at the rear both left and right (the earlier shorter versions only had two fasteners each side), meaning three small holes each side.

If you say your car has been used as a race car, I can imagine that all sorts of special Tonneau Covers have been used (may-be even the aluminium version), requiring new holes to get them fitted in a reliable way.

My April 1954 XK 120 OTS had four holes left and right at the rear: one PO apparently had some difficulties holding the Hood in place and decided to put a 4th fastener each side (see picture below). So you’re not alone in this respect…

The chance that your car was raced with a Hood fitted is minimal, but you never know…(24 hour or endurance racing?).

Bob K.