XK120 FHC Radio Cable Routing?

(Wyn Laidig) #1

Can anyone tell me how the radio cable was routed on the XK120 FHC? Specifically I want to know how it entered into the battery area where the amplifier was located. I know it was routed from the controller through a hole in the carpet and then under the carpet along the tunnel toward the rear. But where did it come out of the carpet, and how did enter into the battery compartment? Did it go through a hole in the hinged plywood panel on the front of the parcel box? If so where was that hole located, and was a rubber grommet used? A photo would be helpful, if possible.

(Bob K.) #2


You don’t mention the specific radio you’re using but I assume it’s a Radiomobile (or Emitron in the US) with the large connectors (either 8 or 5 pin).
There is one picture (see below) in the instructions for the 4200 series (1951-1954) that shows the cable running along the tunnel (like you mentioned) but then pops up between the batteries.


But if we look at how it’s done in the XK 140, we see (below) that Smiths/Radiomobile recommended to drill holes in the vertical panel at the end of the tunnel and in the underside of the boot (trunk) floor or in your case in the battery case floor. I might well be the same in the XK 120 FHC although I don’t know the specific construction of the battery box of the XK 120 FHC. Remember that your holes should have a large enough diameter to get the connector (8 or 5 pin??) through and you have to use correct rubber grommets to keep it watertight. Hope this helps. Bob K.

(Wyn Laidig) #3

Thanks Bob. It’s a bit different on a 120 FHC. I found a photo in Urs Schmid’s book showing a oblong hole cut into the plywood battery box door where the cable enters. So that answers my question.

(Rob Reilly) #4

I hope you haven’t already cut your oblong hole.
My FHC 679187 had a radio amplifier when it came to me, and here is what it has for the cable routing, a notch in the center of the plywood parcel box panel.

(CP120) #5


While it is taxing “zee leetle grey cells”, I seem to recall that when I purchased my 1953 DHC the cable to the amp simply passed through a notch in the front panel, as Rob states. I do not recall a hole large enough to accommodate the multi-pin plug.


(Jag-ur) #6

While I concede that it isn’t for a DHC / FHC the OTS has a similar arrangement for the routing… a ‘mousehole’ was cut in the center of the lower edge of the removable battery box cover. so essentially the same location just a different shape. The routing of the cable from the radio head went through a hole cut in the tunnel carpet behind and below the radio, followed the tunnel under the carpet, and rose where it met the rear bulkhead panel at the floor, then through this hole to the amplifier. On the OTS there is no grommet in the mousehole.

(Nick Saltarelli) #7

Interesting. My '54 OTS was originally delivered to Florida with the usual US accompaniments (7" headlamps, bumper mounted front license plate bracket) but with a Radiomobile 4200 receiver and type B amplifier. IIRC Roger Payne opined that the Emitron units were likely US dealer installed while cars ordered from the factory with radios had the other.

Unfortunately missing the turn knobs and push buttons - any idea where I might find repros?

I haven’t decided to reinstall the thing. In fact have already welded over the 1" diameter hole that was in the right front wing. Maybe something to pursue when I get bored as I advance into my dotage.

(Bob K.) #8


I know for certain that in 1955 Smiths/Radiomobile introduced the new 200 series as a “Radiomobile only” version and the Emitron version was dropped. Apparently RCA had no longer problems with this brand name for the USA. It might well be that an agreement had been reached in 1954 and that from that moment onwards the Emitron versions were no longer required.
Will be very hard to obtain knobs and push buttons. The only option is to find someone who’s repairing these radios and has some spare radios for parts.
Regarding your decision whether or not to install the radio: remember that it is really “old technology” with a 1950s sound quality. In addition, after I had installed my 200 series radio I was confronted with the fact that in Europe (almost) all Medium Wave stations have meanwhile disappeared! There are still some European Long Wave stations however. That’s why you see old radios nowadays offered with MP3 connections or similar. Finally, it looks beautifull in the dashboard and we have to do some preservation of old technology in our cars!!!

Bob K.

(Rob Reilly) #9

This source has a lot of knobs.

(Jag-ur) #10

I will suggest you just buy a good radio head… they do show up… and you may find that if you choose to restore it there will be other miscellaneous parts that you will require too. I’m not convinced that your aeriel is not aftermarket… The original aeriel from all the drawings in the installation booklet are quite different. I too however gave up after 40 years of looking and installed a similar one to yours. It seems the one thing that everyone fails to include when the radio is removed from the car. Never understood why.

(Wyn Laidig) #11

Thanks for your all your help. Looks like it was either a notch or a mouse hole. Urs’ Vol 2 page 78 shows photos with a slightly elongated mouse hole just left of center.

(Terry McGrath) #12

believe it or believe it not the missing knobs could be made by 3D digital printing will never be perfect but will be much better than nothing

(Nick Saltarelli) #13

The Radiomobile 4200 knobs and buttons I’ve seen in photos that appear to be correct for this radio are a smooth creamy coloured plastic. They would be easy to cast but would require originals to make the moulds, though the chromed surrounds around the knobs would be difficult to replicate.


A google images search turns up pictures of the radio mostly with knobs missing. Seems like a common condition, indicating they likely deteriorated and broke up over time.

(Jag-ur) #14

I have them both ways… cream and black… My suspicion is that the bla

ck was more common… but the cream is pretty!.

(Wyn Laidig) #15

is there any place to get the sticker on the center button? I just have a blank flat space on my radio.

(Nick Saltarelli) #16

I’ve been pondering that for a few days, Godfrey. You may be right.

While I plan to paint the undersides of the four hinged panels while they are off the car it’s apparent that originally XK120 OTS bodies were mostly assembled before they were painted inside and out … traces of pastel green paint on the chromed door releases, painted hinge bolts but no paint under the hinge flanges themselves, etc. I expect that was standard procedure to minimise exposure of the paint to damage during any subsequent assembly steps. Is it possible the aerial was positioned loosely in the front bulkhead before paint for the same reason? I ask because the aerial tube I have has pastel green overspray on it.

Makes me wonder how it got there.

(Jag-ur) #17

I’m not aware of anyone remanufacturing them. they aren’t actually a ‘sticker’ they are a 3D embossed aluminium ‘label’ which is glued on. given their location and the inevitable handling they tend to get damaged quite easily. the ‘glue’ becomes brittle and they fall off. I eventually bought an entire radio head which is in excellent condition to scavenge the parts I wanted for mine… and kept the rest for spares. The second image is from the 1953 Earls Court display model I picked up recently which is essentially brand new having spent most of its life in a cupboard and never fitted to a car.

(Rob Reilly) #18

Yes, we see this in the factory photos, the workers are getting door, hood and trunk gaps right, tightening the hinge bolts, and never touching them again. Early cars on frame trolleys, later cars on rotisserie carts going down the paint line.
Fender skirts, however, were trial fitted first but painted separately. Some have reported finding body numbers on their spats which was to match them up with the cars after painting.
Aerials were not fitted until later. Is it possible your aerial fitter damaged the paint in the area and had to respray there?

(Nick Saltarelli) #19

More likely there was a minor paint repair done to the lower RHS quarter panel at some point, or that area was part of a general respray - the car had body repairs done to the driver’s side early on. In either case it might well be an aftermarket aerial that happened to be in the car at the time. Not going back into the car anyway.

(Jag-ur) #20

Nick I have just purchased a radiomobile radio for parts… PM me if you are still looking for knobs