[xk] Converting an XK150FHC to a DHC specification

Does anyone have experience of converting a Jaguar XK 150 FHC to a
drop head specification?
I am about to start on my car, which is in a real state, a complete
rust bucket with a bent up roof. It seems that the more people I
speak to the more I am infected by the idea of doing this to my
restoration project.
Any view?
Does this fall under automotive barbarism?
Does it negatively effect the value of the car?
What is the DHC like on the road?–
Crazyboy 2
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Dear Crazyboy (interesting screen name, especially in regards to this
question…sorry, just kidding) Anyway, this is more of a philosophical
question than a technical one. Converting an XK150 FHC to a DHC certainly
has been before. I’ve seen two of them over the years. Its a matter of
replacing the sheet metal in certain areas. Many things are the same, and a
thorough study of the parts manual will be necessary. But, before you start
and before one can give an intelligent answer, you need to know what you
have. Okay, the FHC is rusty, and needs major work. But what is it? Maybe a
3.8L S model? or not? If you post the four numbers off the data plate, and
cross check them against the numbers of the items currently in the car
(engine, trans,), the car could be identified.
But, assuming that its a standard 3.4L non overdrive car with a non matching
engine, converting it to a DHC probably would make it worth slightly more
than if it was restored to a decent driver level. Probably worth less than
if the FHC was restored to show quality, but you say this car is a rusty
basket, so restoring it to a very high level would be difficult and
expensive. And, buying the DHC parts won’t be cheap. This sort of conversion
on XKs and the V12 E types was popular a decade or so ago as the prices ran
up during the period of intense speculation. That’s not the case now. With
world events in gasoline, I don’t see how anything automotive related will
be a very good investment, except maybe selling oil and gas at the gouging
prices now happening.
As far as it being a no-no, I suppose it is to a degree. If you are doing it
for your own pleasure and want an XK150 DHC, one that’s highly updated
perhaps, and are willing to do most of the work yourself, you might be able
to justify it. It won’t be a make money or even a break even proposition
though. I suppose its less onerous than parting out a S model XK150 or
something along that line. My suggestion would be to do some work to the
car, avoiding the major body work. Maybe get it operational or ??? thereby
increasing its worth. Then sell it to someone that wants a FHC and buy a DHC
project car. JMHO.
A DHC of that period is typically a little noisy and primitive compared to
modern convertibles. The XK150 DHC does not differ in trim from the OTS or
FHC. All three have better heaters than the earlier models (XK140/XK120) and
all three have roll up windows and decent weather equipment. Some early XKs,
especially the later XK150 DHC, started the transition from sports car to
touring car, being equipped with more powerful engines and automatic
transmissions.
Post those numbers and perhaps what you know of the history of the car, as
that would be of interest also.
Jerry Oliver
Olympia, WA
3-XK150s----- Original Message -----
From: “Crazyboy 2” jdanquah@email.cz
To: xk@jag-lovers.org
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 7:05 AM
Subject: [xk] Converting an XK150FHC to a DHC specification

Does anyone have experience of converting a Jaguar XK 150 FHC to a
drop head specification?
I am about to start on my car, which is in a real state, a complete
rust bucket with a bent up roof. It seems that the more people I
speak to the more I am infected by the idea of doing this to my
restoration project.
Any view?
Does this fall under automotive barbarism?
Does it negatively effect the value of the car?
What is the DHC like on the road?


Crazyboy 2
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–

In reply to a message from Crazyboy 2 sent Thu 1 Sep 2005:

Crazyboy
The conversion is relatively simple compared to finding all the
window frames and a nice set of top bows. If you do get serious
about the project I can run you through the details.
VAS–
VAS
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Cowboy:

In a way you are following Jaguar's lead. The very early 120 DHCs were 

actually made from FHC bodies so how can anyone complain.

In reply to a message from Crazyboy 2 sent Thu 1 Sep 2005:

Thank you all for the replies. Here a few more details on the car.

The Jaguar was purchaced through a broker in New York. It also
seems that the vehicle was sat outside exposed to the elements in
Alabama, United States. It is a 3.4l model with an overdrive , vin
S834753BW. As befits a Southern car it was specified in a rare
continental trim = completely in white, including the steering
wheel. I have yet to check on the cars full history but I am sure
that it will reveal some interesting facts, especially in this trim.

I was told by an enthusiast that this particular model
specification is rather rare, but to date I have not managed to
confirm that.

The car is effectively ready to be scrapped and had it been shipped
to Western Europe the cost of a full restoration would have been
prohibitive but living in the ex Commie block with cheaper labour
rates made this a feasible option. Corrossion of the body and the
chassis is extensive. Sections of the floor panels have rotted
away, the sills have turned to dust and the doors close with a
scrape, so the body will need to be aligned on a bench. The engine
has seized, with most parts in place even if some are held in place
with string and wire. Further it was found that all the brake
calipers are missing. The interior is complete but mouldy. All the
dials are on the dashboard and the steering wheel is original. The
seats are ripped , the headlining is gone and the rear glass is
missing. The exterior trim is rusty and it is missing all the
lights.

Oh and to add misery to woe every single panel on the car is dented.

Any views before I start chopping it up to make it into a DHC?–
Crazyboy 2
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In reply to a message from Crazyboy 2 sent Fri 2 Sep 2005:

A number of XK150 FHC’s were converted to DHC in the 1980’s.

They are offered for sale from time to time.

http://www.cumminscars.com/150redxk265.html

I own such a car which has been converted using all Jaguar
panels. The only way you can tell mine is a conversion is
by the fact that the rear view mirror hangs down from the
top of the windscreen, rather than standing on the top of
the facia.

A car which has been ‘‘chopped’’ will always be worth somewhat
less than an original car in similar condition - but of
course offers rather better value for money!–
Nigel J S Steward - 1959 XK150 DHC
Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, United Kingdom
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In reply to a message from Crazyboy 2 sent Thu 1 Sep 2005:

Hello,

I’m considering doing the same to my FHC, and have already
collected a lot of the parts needed.

In terms of it making sense or not, I would say that to start off
with a FHC basket case such as yours would IMHO make no sense at
all.

The way you describe your car seems to indicate it really is in a
sorry state and will need a lot of work (especially expensive body
work) done to the car.

I estimate it would only take an extra 5000$ to start off with an
original DHC in a condition similar or better than your car, Which
is only a little more than what you will have to spend to gather
all the DHC specific parts needed for the conversion.

IMHO the only situation in which such a conversion would make sense
is if you start from a reasonably good FHC with no major bodywork,
possibly even a tired driver. These now sell for 10000-15000$, as
compared to a DHC in similar condition going for 20000-25000$.

It will also be a lot easier to find a reasonable FHC than it is to
find a good DHC project, which could take you more than a year
before you can find a suitable car.

All in all, in my case, I fell in love with my 150FHC, and honestly
found it nicer looking than the DHC, but over time, the open
touring idea started playing in my mind, and I got the DHCitis.
Since this is my first restoration project, I wouldn’t want to
invest the money it would cost to buy a reasonable DHC
restoration project anyway (It really is a lot of money for a heap
of old iron, and you need a very loving wife to sympathise with you
spending this kind of money on what is just a load of old junk to
her).

All this said, there seems to be no way to make money on restoring
these cars nowadays anyway (unles you get paid to work on other
peoples cars). It is a hobby, and hobbies cost money, in our case,
a lot of it.

If you want to drive one of these beautiful cars, don’t waste time
and energy on having one restored for you. You will just end up
broke and frustrated. There are many nice cars to be had out there
at a fraction of the cost of what their restorations have cost.

If you like me, love to work on these and restore them to their
glory, select your project very carefully before starting, and
realise that every dollar saved upon purchasing the car now will
have to be spent during the restoration later (and then some).

One thing though. If you go looking for a restored car, find
someone who has restored one, and ask him to come with you and
evaluate the car or join the XKclub, and get into the subject
before buying. There are just so many important things to check to
make sure the restoration was done reasonably well, (for example
checking if the door hinge boxes are OK), and I say reasonably well
because to do a thorough professinal job on an XK would cost a
fortune so they are all only more or less well done.
That might save you from getting the bondoed over beauty queen and
suffer deerly afterwards.

Just my 2 cents.

Marc–
hodijag
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