Two types of seat frames for XK 140

Two types of seat frames for XK 140


Not commonly known and also not mentioned in the official Spare Parts Catalogue, the Jaguar XK 140 actually did have two different versions of seat frames over its production life. To be more precise: only the DHC and FHC had a revised construction of the seat base and backrest, whereas the OTS continued unchanged until the production of the XK140 ceased in January 1957.

Seat late frameLater seat with revised frame: note new hinge partially visible and hole for earlier hinge in frame

The change-over point in production is around the 20th of March 1956 for both the DHC and FHC. It looks like the new tubular backrest frame was based on the new XK150 frame version (and in fact also used for the Mk1 and Mk2) scheduled for introduction only 12 months later.

Early seat frame construction.

The Jaguar XK 140 DHC and FHC have always shared their seats but the OTS had a different backrest construction (although it kept the same seat base construction). The early seat frames consisted of a RH and LH steel seat base frame and a RH and LH wooden frame with metal strengthening and hinges for the backrests. The seat base frame had holes (Left and Right) for the hinge pivot bolts (BD3255) and two stops for the hinged backrest. The complete early construction has been well described in the Spare Parts Catalogue.

Seat frame RH ready Seat steel pan topBD9334 RH seat base frame assembly all versions.            Seat pan (aluminium)

The seat base frame had an aluminium seat pan which was the basis for the “Dunloppilo Latex Foam Cushioning” (F3508) followed by padding and leather upholstery.

Seat cushion Dunlopillo Dunloppilo Latex Foam Cushioning F3508

As can be seen below the early backrests had a fabricated metal strengthening consisting of two sheet metal channels to which the hinges (“dog legs”) had been welded. At the rear and the sides plywood is used, which is the basis for the (“Dunloppilo”) foam rubber cushioning, padding and upholstery.

Seat front LH frame BD9617 LH seat squab frame assembly DHC/FHC

Later seat frame construction.

For the second version both the base as well as the backrest changed. The backrest now had a metal frame made from round steel tubing that had been flattened for about 2” at the lower end, forming a flat place for the pivot bolt hole. This change towards tubing is probably led by efficiency considerations, which becomes more clear when we compare early and later backrests (see photos) and more in particular the assembly time required for the early version.

Later backrest frame 140 Tubular backrest        Later tubular frame for XK 140                                       Tubular frame with plywood panels  (XK150 shown)

As with the earlier model, plywood was used for the rear of the backrest (fixed to the metal tubes) and the sides, supporting the (“Dunloppilo”) foam rubber cushioning, padding and leather upholstery.

Later seat base frame 140 Seat base late Later seat base frame with higher rear part     Original unrestored version

Because the backrest of the seat had changed, the original hinge construction and position could no longer be used and the hinge position had to be changed (about 4” higher and 2” to the rear). A metal strengthening was added at the back of the original base frame (see photo above). Note that the early pivot bolt hole has been kept probably because the early seat base frame was used and modiied. This is also a way to recognize the later seat frame type immediately: the 3/8” hole in the side of the base frame remains clearly visible.

No part numbers have been assigned to this later seat frame type by Jaguar (or at least they have not been published).

Different upholstery for later seat frames

The change in construction of the seat backrest frame also necessitated a change in the upholstery in particular related to the lower hinge part. Some upholstery suppliers therefore ask you to specify whether you have an early or a later XK 140 DHC/FHC seat type.

Old XK140 seat upholstery pattern New XK 140 seat upholstery pattern                  Old frame (LH) upholstery with exposed hinge; new frame upholstery with covered hinge


4 thoughts on “Two types of seat frames for XK 140

  1. Stevie

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  2. Bob Heppell

    Can anyone help am restoring a jaguar XK 140 OTS but cannot find anyone who supplies the wooden seat backs. If nessasary I can make them but have no pattern. If anyone can tell me where I can buy a set or have a old set i can buy to use as a pattern. Hope you can help Bob tel 01386 860499

  3. Peter Olsthoorn

    I am currently busy with my front seats and as you already know I have the later type front seats. In my seats the seat pan is made out of pressed steel (5/100″ thick). The surrounding part is made out of 7 layer plywood (3/8″ thick).
    You wrote that the seat pan is made out of aluminium but that is not the case with my seats.

    Best regards,

  4. Andreas Koch

    Dear Bob, thank you for this interesting analysis. I am restoring an XK140 OTS 1955. Did you find the color code for the seat frame? Urs Schmid described the color as greenish-greyish color.
    And your blog about the restoration of your XK140 FHC is very impressive. I am still working on the panels…


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