[xk] XK120 tall driver tips

I currently have a XK140 DHC which I fit in fine. I’m
looking at a XK120 FHC but at 6’1’’ I find it almost
impossible to fit and be able to drive. It has the original
steering wheel so a smaller diameter wheel would help.

Are there any tall XK120 drivers that have any other ‘tips’
to improve the fit?

Thanks,
-Ed–
PacNW
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In reply to a message from PacNW sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

put the top down! I’m 6’3’’ and don’t drive it I wear it! but
just part of the ‘driving experience’ the best mistresses are
tight ;)–
godfrey
pender island bc, Canada
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In reply to a message from PacNW sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

A smaller diameter steering wheel will help, Momo offers one
& an adapter to fit the original turn signal / horn unit
manette.
The clutch and brake pedals can be moved further away from
the driver by grinding new relief divots in the pedal shafts.
The original seats can be replaced with aftermarket bucket
seats with much thinner backs.
The above should help you drive your 120 and all are easily
returned to original.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/RogerS_photo/Jaguar/JagWheel004.jpg--
Roger, '54 120 (SE) DHC, BRG, S678300
Tamarac, South Fla., United States
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In reply to a message from Velocette sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

I fitted Bill Bassett’s Trick pedals in my 120 OTS with pretty
good results. I can only wear well worn out sneakers on my size
13s, though.

I am 6’3 also and with the seat tracks removed and the original
seats back as far as possible with 3/4’’ spacers in the front of
each, I can drive reasonably well.–
The original message included these comments:

The clutch and brake pedals can be moved further away from


S674106
Cohasset, MA, United States
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In reply to a message from Velocette sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

The things I did that had the biggest benefit for driving
comfort were
(0) Lower pedal height by notching the shafts or getting a
set from Bill Bassett (that have the added benefit of more
comfortable angles on the welded foot pads).
(1) remove the convertible top. This allows my seat to go
back 1 more click.
(2) You can tilt the front of the seat track up a bit (with
a pair of long wooden wedges). This moves the seat back even
further back. You’re limited by when your shoulder blades
touch the rear crash roll. Alternatively, install some xk120
reproduction bucket seats (several UK places make them). The
bucket seat backs are really thin … like about 1’’ so you
gain a couple inches of space. I have buckets that I’ll be
installing in the future.
(3) Posture: If I sit bolt upright (e.g. small of your back
touching the seat cushion), I gain both leg and chest room
(4) Attitude Adjustment: resign yourself to a more vintage
driving position (e.g. wheel in your lap, arms and knees
splayed to the sides). If you drape your outside elbow fully
over the door (gunwale?), that close-up steering wheel
position actually seems to be about right.–
John
Boston, MA, United States
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For those who are 6’3" or so, wait a while and you will be only 6’2" -
that helps a bit with head room with the hood up but not leg room :-)On 11/22/2015 9:46 AM, etype38 wrote:

In reply to a message from Velocette sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

I fitted Bill Bassett’s Trick pedals in my 120 OTS with pretty
good results. I can only wear well worn out sneakers on my size
13s, though.

I am 6’3 also and with the seat tracks removed and the original
seats back as far as possible with 3/4’’ spacers in the front of
each, I can drive reasonably well.

The original message included these comments:

The clutch and brake pedals can be moved further away from

S674106
Cohasset, MA, United States
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In reply to a message from PacNW sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

To add to what the others have written, I purchased the
smaller diameter steering wheel from Bill Tracy. This wheel
has exactly the same look and design as the original XK120
wheel, but it measures only 15 and 3/8’’ in diameter. I am
over 6’2’’ in height and this wheel allows me to drive,
enter, and exit with the steering wheel locked in the
forward-most position.

I also have the Bill Bassett trick pedals, which do two
things. 1. They allow at least 1’’ more distance from the
seat back. 2. The pedal pads are smaller; more like the
size of the pedal pads on the XK150. The trick pedals allow
less lifting of the legs while clutching and braking so
there is less steering wheel interference.

Although the smaller diameter steering wheel would seem to
require more steering effort, I don’t notice it at all. I
think it is because I can now drive with the steering wheel
locked all the way forward, and this creates a better
angle/position for applying arm strength to turn the wheel.–
Mike Balch
Iowa, United States
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I agree with John’s observation regarding the standard steering wheel
being right for driving with left arm on the door - where mine almost
always is unless doing something like drifting through the curves on the
Blue Ridge Parkway behind Pat Morey in his 150 on the way to Franklin. I
think that was the most fun I’ve had in one day with the 120. Thanks, Pat.

I also installed the Bassett pedals shortly after we got the 120 in 1996
and they made a BIG difference. (I may never say “huge” again)

I also learned to be very careful in stowing the hood to make sure none
of the canvass interferes with the full collapsing of the frame.

Another coping strategy is to get out and move around at least every 2
hours on a long trip.On 11/22/2015 9:51 AM, John wrote:

In reply to a message from Velocette sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

The things I did that had the biggest benefit for driving
comfort were
(0) Lower pedal height by notching the shafts or getting a
set from Bill Bassett (that have the added benefit of more
comfortable angles on the welded foot pads).
(1) remove the convertible top. This allows my seat to go
back 1 more click.
(2) You can tilt the front of the seat track up a bit (with
a pair of long wooden wedges). This moves the seat back even
further back. You’re limited by when your shoulder blades
touch the rear crash roll. Alternatively, install some xk120
reproduction bucket seats (several UK places make them). The
bucket seat backs are really thin … like about 1’’ so you
gain a couple inches of space. I have buckets that I’ll be
installing in the future.
(3) Posture: If I sit bolt upright (e.g. small of your back
touching the seat cushion), I gain both leg and chest room
(4) Attitude Adjustment: resign yourself to a more vintage
driving position (e.g. wheel in your lap, arms and knees
splayed to the sides). If you drape your outside elbow fully
over the door (gunwale?), that close-up steering wheel
position actually seems to be about right.


John
Boston, MA, United States
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Hi Ed,

Obviously, the suggestions that you put the hood down are not much use when
driving a Fixed Head Coupe. I once drove an XK120 FHC and found it nearly
impossible to drive, much less be comfortable in. On my OTS I have removed
the hood and relocated the seats as far back as they can go. Check on the
FHC and see if there is any unused room behind the seats. There’s no
substitute for leg room.

Mike Eck
New Jersey, USA
www.jaguarclock.com
'51 XK120 OTS, '62 3.8 MK2 MOD, '72 SIII E-Type 2+2>

I’m looking at a XK120 FHC but at 6’1’’ I find it almost
impossible to fit and be able to drive. It has the original
steering wheel so a smaller diameter wheel would help.

Are there any tall XK120 drivers that have any other ‘tips’
to improve the fit?

Thanks,
-Ed


PacNW

As much fun as a Jaguar parade, led by Bruce in his 120 standing up (I think
Donna was driving), playing his bagpipes…

Pat

Pat Morey
XK150 ots
Burnsville, NC and Vero Beach, Fl-----Original Message-----
From: owner-xk@jag-lovers.org [mailto:owner-xk@jag-lovers.org] On Behalf Of
Bruce Cunningham
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2015 12:00 PM
To: xk@jag-lovers.org
Subject: Re: [xk] XK120 tall driver tips

I agree with John’s observation regarding the standard steering wheel being
right for driving with left arm on the door - where mine almost always is
unless doing something like drifting through the curves on the Blue Ridge
Parkway behind Pat Morey in his 150 on the way to Franklin. I think that was
the most fun I’ve had in one day with the 120. Thanks, Pat.

I also installed the Bassett pedals shortly after we got the 120 in 1996 and
they made a BIG difference. (I may never say “huge” again)

I also learned to be very careful in stowing the hood to make sure none of
the canvass interferes with the full collapsing of the frame.

Another coping strategy is to get out and move around at least every 2 hours
on a long trip.

On 11/22/2015 9:51 AM, John wrote:

In reply to a message from Velocette sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

The things I did that had the biggest benefit for driving comfort
were
(0) Lower pedal height by notching the shafts or getting a set from
Bill Bassett (that have the added benefit of more comfortable angles
on the welded foot pads).
(1) remove the convertible top. This allows my seat to go back 1 more
click.
(2) You can tilt the front of the seat track up a bit (with a pair of
long wooden wedges). This moves the seat back even further back.
You’re limited by when your shoulder blades touch the rear crash roll.
Alternatively, install some xk120 reproduction bucket seats (several
UK places make them). The bucket seat backs are really thin … like
about 1’’ so you gain a couple inches of space. I have buckets that
I’ll be installing in the future.
(3) Posture: If I sit bolt upright (e.g. small of your back touching
the seat cushion), I gain both leg and chest room
(4) Attitude Adjustment: resign yourself to a more vintage driving
position (e.g. wheel in your lap, arms and knees splayed to the
sides). If you drape your outside elbow fully over the door
(gunwale?), that close-up steering wheel position actually seems to be
about right.


John
Boston, MA, United States
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Jag-lovers - Donate at http://www.jag-lovers.org/donate04.php

In reply to a message from Mike Eck sent Sun 22 Nov 2015:

‘‘FHC’’
opps, sorry.
All I can suggest is the smaller wheel, the tilt back on the
seat and one of those pedal box extensions that also allow
you to go hydraulic on the clutch mechanism and to twin
brake master cylinders for adjustable front/rear bias. I
have several friends who have this setup and they are really
fabulous.

And of course, yoga–
John
Boston, MA, United States
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In reply to a message from PacNW sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

Years ago I had a nice 120 FHC that I couldn’t fit in (6’2’’). I
sold it to buy a very early outside latch XKE. That’s when they
were worth about the same. I can’t fit in that either. I do have a
140 DHC that the P.O. put 120 trim on. Now, that’s a 120/140 that’s
comfortable to drive.

Phil.–
PhilW
Virginville, Pa., United States
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I once tried squeezing into a flat floor E-Type but I couldn’t get the door
closed much less drive it. That’s why I have a S3.

Mike Eck
New Jersey, USA
www.jaguarclock.com
'51 XK120 OTS, '62 3.8 MK2 MOD, '72 SIII E-Type 2+2>

Years ago I had a nice 120 FHC that I couldn’t fit in (6’2’’). I
sold it to buy a very early outside latch XKE. That’s when they
were worth about the same. I can’t fit in that either. I do have a
140 DHC that the P.O. put 120 trim on. Now, that’s a 120/140 that’s
comfortable to drive.

Phil.

PhilW
Virginville, Pa., United States

In reply to a message from PacNW sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

There is an ultimate solution, but it depends on how much you
love your car …

http://jbjs.org/content/s2-14/10/598

I’m 5’10’’. No problems.–
The original message included these comments:

Are there any tall XK120 drivers that have any other ‘tips’
to improve the fit?


Nick Saltarelli '68 Cdn mkt E-type S1� OTS, '54 XK120SE OTS
Niagara, Ontario, Canada
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1 Like

It is not about getting in.
It is about putting it on!

OTOH I have never tried a flat floor but should not be any different ingress or egress than my S1 FHC.

ron raderSent from my iPhone

On Nov 22, 2015, at 7:48 PM, Mike Eck mikeeck@optonline.net wrote:

I once tried squeezing into a flat floor E-Type but I couldn’t get the door
closed much less drive it. That’s why I have a S3.

Mike Eck
New Jersey, USA
www.jaguarclock.com
'51 XK120 OTS, '62 3.8 MK2 MOD, '72 SIII E-Type 2+2

Years ago I had a nice 120 FHC that I couldn’t fit in (6’2’’). I
sold it to buy a very early outside latch XKE. That’s when they
were worth about the same. I can’t fit in that either. I do have a
140 DHC that the P.O. put 120 trim on. Now, that’s a 120/140 that’s
comfortable to drive.

Phil.

PhilW
Virginville, Pa., United States

In reply to a message from F Ronald Rader sent Sun 22 Nov 2015:

I’m 6’0’’ and I’ve been driving my 120FHC for over 25 years
with the standard wheel and pedals. Only rarely have I ever
considered putting the top down. :wink:
You just have to accept the fact that it is not a car you
can jump in and out of quickly.–
XK120 FHC, Mark V saloon, XJ12L Series II, S-Type 3.0
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I am willing to bet that you weigh a lot less than 230 pounds!

ron raderSent from my iPhone

On Nov 23, 2015, at 7:10 AM, Rob Reilly xk120us4@sbcglobal.net wrote:

In reply to a message from F Ronald Rader sent Sun 22 Nov 2015:

I’m 6’0’’ and I’ve been driving my 120FHC for over 25 years
with the standard wheel and pedals. Only rarely have I ever
considered putting the top down. :wink:
You just have to accept the fact that it is not a car you
can jump in and out of quickly.

XK120 FHC, Mark V saloon, XJ12L Series II, S-Type 3.0
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In reply to a message from godfrey sent Sat 21 Nov 2015:

I remember seeing a video shot sometime in the late 1980s or
early 1990s where Lofty England and Walter Hassan made an
appearance at a British Jaguar club event to reminisce about
the early days of the XK120 works racing program.

Lofty England who stood 6’5’’ drove to the event in Nick
Haines’ works XK120 (660041). For effect, he effortlessly
slid out and back into the car just to show those in
attendance how well he had mastered the technique. England
was about 80 years old at that time.–
Mike Balch
Iowa, United States
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I am also 6 ft. and find my XK120 uncomfortable as well. I pity the guys
that are taller than me with these cars.

I have done all of the things previously mentioned by other listers to
make it more comfortable. 16" steering wheel (actually 15 3/8 as Mike Balch
mentioned), wedges under the seat slides, tilting the seats back, and
Bassett trick pedals. I can go for a couple hours but then have to extricate
myself from the car and stretch out.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is how to get into the car. Back in.
Don’t try to stick a leg in there first and somehow get in. You can
hurt yourself that way.

Back in, duck your head under the hood frame if it is up, and then rotate,
dragging both legs under the steering wheel. Wear small shoes/sneakers as
well.

And for me the most comfortable driving position is with the window down
and my left arm resting on the top of the door with both hands on the wheel.
On long drives, I have a small inflatable pillow that I wedge between my
right leg and the tranny tunnel for support.

John Brady
678462
Bedford, Ma

I think this thread indicates a major reason (amongst others) why many XK
enthusiasts (who want to drive their cars) prefer XK140 to XK120 - maintains
the same fundamental appearance, but has plenty of room for a 6 ft (and
plus) driver.
Similar with the first 3.8 E-types - there was a reason why Jaguar modified
floor-wells and ability to move seat further rearwards, despite Lofty
demonstrating how easy it was to get in and out.

Last weekend I (183cm - 93kg) got to have a sit in an XJR15 (a road version,
not race version - about 50/50 of only 52 made) - but not a drive
unfortunately.
Hellishly difficult to get into, harder still to get out, but once in -
everything worked/fitted perfectly. Supposedly designed around race driver
Martin Brundell, but still like to see if Lofty could have got in/out.

Roger Payne
XK140MC OTS; 4.2E OTS; DaimlerSV8
Canberra, Australia

.-----Original Message-----
From: owner-xk@jag-lovers.org [mailto:owner-xk@jag-lovers.org] On Behalf Of
JBrady5282@aol.com
Sent: 24 November, 2015 09:54
To: xk@jag-lovers.org
Subject: [xk] XK120 tall driver tips

I am also 6 ft. and find my XK120 uncomfortable as well. I pity the guys
that are taller than me with these cars.

I have done all of the things previously mentioned by other listers to
make it more comfortable. 16" steering wheel (actually 15 3/8 as Mike
Balch mentioned), wedges under the seat slides, tilting the seats back, and
Bassett trick pedals. I can go for a couple hours but then have to
extricate myself from the car and stretch out.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is how to get into the car. Back in.
Don’t try to stick a leg in there first and somehow get in. You can hurt
yourself that way.

Back in, duck your head under the hood frame if it is up, and then rotate,
dragging both legs under the steering wheel. Wear small shoes/sneakers as
well.

And for me the most comfortable driving position is with the window down
and my left arm resting on the top of the door with both hands on the
wheel.
On long drives, I have a small inflatable pillow that I wedge between my
right leg and the tranny tunnel for support.

John Brady
678462
Bedford, Ma