Why can't I fit in this XK-140?

I’ve been on the lookout for a nice XK140 that I can drive now, since I’m not getting any younger and the condition of the barn-find XK120 that I bought 50 years ago has progressed very little over the decades. I’m taller than most, with a 36" inseam, and the XK120 is a bit cramped, so I figured that the XK140’s couple-of-inches of extra legroom would be an improvement. I had previously driven Klaus Neilsen’s XK140 OTS around Connecticut for a day, and Steve Fairchild’s '140 around Martha’s Vineyard, and Steve Ferring’s '140 for an afternoon on Skyline Drive without any problems. Luckily, I found a nice 99+ point driver just 50 miles away, so, armed with my checkbook, I took a ride to see it.

The car was as nice in person as the pictures indicated, so I got inside for a test drive. That’s when the trouble started. You see, I had to put my foot on the firewall under the clutch pedal in order to get the door closed. Then I found that if I painfully wedged my left knee between the steering wheel and the door coaming and pointed my toe upwards as far as I could, then I could just barely wiggle my foot onto the clutch pedal. It was obvious to me that I could not safely drive it under these conditions. This car was more cramped than my XK120, which I have actually driven a few times. The seat on this car was all the way back, as evidenced by the worn spot where the hood bracket traditionally rubbed on the back of the seat. It had the original pedal shafts and everything seemed to work correctly, but there was no way that I could drive it. Does anyone have any insight into what could be different about this car from the others I had driven? I hadn’t figured that I would need to see if the car fit before I bought it. It was one of the last ones built, if that makes any difference.

A XK140 FHC and DHC has a lot more room.
Best way to get more room is to use Bucket seats.
I have them in my FHC , and I have a lot of room with my 1.85M.
Even a friend of mine with 2 Meters can sit in there.
When you have very long legs think about a smaller steering wheel ( preferable with Powersteering )

Peter Jan

I am 6ft2” and tear out half the stuffing in the seat cushion on all my XKs. That alliws me to look through the wind screen, rather than on the frame top, or even above.
Agreed on smaller steering wheel, but original is fine.
You could consider the Wilwood pedal box, and there is at least one more maker. This puts the pedals about 8” further forward. I gave that in 2 cars.
Look into that solution!!

Mike, I think what you are experiencing is the effect of a lower mounted steering wheel on the XK140. Both the 120 and 140 have steering wheels nearly 17 inches in diameter. However, the 140 has a jointed steering column and the steering wheel is mounted closer to the floor. On the XK140 OTS, I measure the distance from the bottom edge of the steering wheel to the wooden floor beneath it at only 12.5 inches. Not much room for those with long legs and large shoe sizes.

Compare that to the wheel to floor measurement of your XK120.

1 Like

I’ve just started to look into the pedals on my car. This is the time to deal with this.

So far, the ones from Coventry and Twyford (Tilton) look promising, but both look like they require a hydraulic conversion of the clutch. The one from Coventry states that the pedals are moved forwards (firewall box extension included). I haven’t found a Wilwood kit yet, except at Jegs but they don’t fit to specific cars by model.

Who’s done this?

I just measured my 120 OTS at 14" without carpeting with the original comically large steering wheel.


Those of us who enjoy being on the lengthy side (6’2") with feet to match (size 12-13) were not designed for the XK120. I have never driven a 140, but can attest to the vastly improved driving situation in a 150. As I mentioned some time back on this forum, when I first started driving my 120 DHC it was with the seat back in the boot and a folded car rug draped over the tool chest in order to gain some legroom! Years later the combination of a smaller diameter steering wheel and the smaller “trick” pedals from Bill Basset made a big difference and would, I’m sure, equally improve things in a 140. I did make other modifications, however, I will not go into those as the last time I mentioned them it caused some gnashing of teeth on the part of some listers. You can even source a smaller diameter wheel that is styled exactly like the factory original if that is important.


P.S. The clock is working fine and keeping good time!

1 Like

Mike, good to see you back. :wave:
Mitch, with non-power steering you may be glad of that large wheel when you have to maneuver it in crowded places. :smile:

Oh, I know. I have full strength Arm-Strong steering wheels on all my Brit-cars. They get comments at car shows.

When I was a teenager, I cursed being only 5’ 8" and 10½ stone, with diminutive size 7 (UK) shoes.
Now, in my sixties, it’s fantastic - I fit my Mini, my Series 2A Land Rover (surprising how small the driver’s space is in that), my Cobra 289, and my 140DHC. All have standard full-size steering wheels, stock pedal arrangements and original seats. I knew there’d be a payback one day! - although I do slide around a bit in the Mustang…

When I got my 120 DHC several years ago I could not fit into it either. I’m 6’ with a 32" inseam. The sticking point on my 120 was trying to get my left leg on the clutch because, in spite of having the string wheel fully extended, my knee just would not fit between the steering wheel and the door when it was time to push in the clutch to shift gears.

Over time and several changes, I was able to gain what was effectively 5 inches of leg room so now my left knee fits just fine and the string wheel is several inches further away from my chest. This was done with several changes. First was the addition of some small wedges under the driver seat tracks which allow the seat to go further back. Second was the change to the “Trick Peddles” noted above. The third change was to move the position of the window crank so it was out of the way when the window is in the full up or full down position.

My car is a preservation class vehicle. It won “Best in Show” at the recent New England Jaguar Concours. The set of changes are scarcely noticeable and completely reversible. No one who has ever looked at the car has ever commented on anything being the least bit out of place.

This comment is not completely on the thread of fitting into the 140, but would be happy to go into more detail if there is an interest.

So does mine at Cruise Nights, usually from street rodders with power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning and automatic transmission in their fiberglass Deuce Coupes.

…a memory I have not (painfully) remembered for almost 30 years.

From a fellow 32" inseam-er!

I bought my XK140 FHC off a person shorter than me, and found room a bit tight, and the seat did not seem to go back as far as it should. I discovered that the seat mounting rails had been moved forward to provide a different range of travel. I moved the rails back to their correct position and end of problem. I am 5’11’’ tall, but as I get older I am finding getting in and out a bit awkward.

I installed bucket seats, they will give you lots more room, i am about 183 and have enough room now.
Peter Jan.

I am 6’4" (193cm) I have yet to drive my 140 FHC . Head room is fine but I think I will struggle with knee room between the wheel and door . May have to try a smaller wheel, but don’t want to .

Now there is a very good reason Lyons kept his passenger compartments small. Jaguar was a small player and eternally broke. It borrowed money from Scots bankers, who as Highlanders, were over 6 feet tall. He hated them so made sure they couldn’t experience his cars. Now, I’m a Highland Scot and in finance. As a canny Scot I had a lovely 16 inch wheel made and adjusted the pedal stems on my XK140 DHC. Haw, foxed you Lyons!

1 Like

Ah, dinna fash, laddie! Lyons’ gotten the last laugh!