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XK120 Identification Plates

120 Identification Plates

I have had a look at my notes re XK120 identification plates. There was a
change around 1952-53 and I would be grateful for any help in working out
exactly when it took place. Could any XK120 owners check whether they have
an early or a late ID plate fitted? The easiest way to tell is to look at
the bottom line: the early plates had the abbreviations INL and EXH where
the gaps were set out, and the later plates used the full words INLET and
EXHAUST. By the way, the repro plates I have seen had a completely blank
line of boxes at the bottom of the recommended lubricants, unlike either of
the original plates. FHC cars are meant to have the early type, DHC the
later type, and OTS had both, changing c 1952-53. Please advise chassis
number, and date of manufacture if known.
- John Elmgreen

I have three different variations on the ID plate. Saloon owners, you can
get in on this discussion, too.

MkV Chassis 627933, May 1950:
Measures 6-1/2" wide x 4-1/4" high, brass but plated with (?)nickel(?).
Format is as follows:

JAGUAR CARS Ltd. COVENTRY, ENGLAND
Chassis No. __________  Engine No. ___________
Body No. _____________  Gearbox No. __________
The numbers are stamped very sloppily, i.e. not on straight lines.

Then there is a table of RECOMMENDED LUBRICANTS
Top line: VACUUM, WAKEFIELD, SHELL, ESSOLUBE, PRICE'S, S.A.E.
Left column: ENGINE (sideways), SUMMER, WINTER, TROPICAL, GEARBOX, REAR AXLE,
STEERING GEAR, WHEEL HUBS.
Information is given in all the boxes except there is a blank for Price's and
Wheel Hubs.
Last line: VALVE CLEARANCE (COLD)  INL _____ INS    EXH _____ INS

The MkV manual has one photo of a car with a much smaller ID plate with a
completely different format, but too small to make out anything. This may
be a leftover from the Mk4 era.

XK120 FHC 679187, Feb 1952:
Measures 5-3/4" x 3-3/4" mounted vertically on the firewall, long direction
vertical (note a 6-1/2" x 4-1/4" plate would not fit here). Brass but
plated with (?)nickel(?).
Format same as MkV plate described above, with INL and EXH, and the
Price's/WheelHubs box is a blank. Numbers are stamped a little straighter
than the MkV plate.

XK120 FHC S681114, probably late 53(?)
Measures 5-3/4" x 3-3/4" made of brass, no plating. Format same as above
with INL and EXH but some of the lubricant product names in the boxes have
changed, and in the Price's/Wheel Hubs box it has BLEMOLINE H.M.P.
Numbers are stamped reasonably straight but still obviously done by hand.
There are machines for stamping ID plates like these in nice neat properly
spaced order, but apparently Jaguar did not have one.
- Rob Reilly

Rob,  thanks for your detailed notes.  Seems we have now 4 types of 120
plate. I have not got any photos of the INL/EXH, BELMOLINE plates, but I
have been told before they exist.  Later cars had Energrease N.3 in that
spot (with INLET/EXHAUST in full).  Also there were the ones with the extra
little plate that we discussed early last year.  Anyone else add anything
to all this?  What do your plates say - INL/EXH at the bottom, or the words
in full?  What do they
have in the Prices/Wheel Hubs box?
- John Elmgreen

Boy, this XK-Lovers group really loves to jump in the deep end of research.
I love it!

Postwar Jaguar ID plates can be catagorised (my catagories) as follows:-

TYPE A  3-1/2" x 4" brass    (4 different text variations)
TYPE B  6-1/2  x 4-1/4 brass  (1 text variation)
TYPE C  5-3/4  x 3-3/4 brass  (5 text variations)
TYPE D  5-3/4  x 3-3/4 aluminium  (4 text variations)
TYPE E  6-1/2  x 3-3/4 aluminium  (9 text variations)
TYPE F  6-1/2  x 1-1/2 aluminium  (3 text variations)

Note:  Type B and Type C.1 are Nickle Plated and I have confirmed an
excellent example of a nickle plated type C.4 fitted to 807431.

This gives a total number of 26 different ID plates used from 1946 to 1974
(plus additional Daimler versions). This coverage is restricted to the end
of E-Type production (as I'm not into XJ/ XJS research)

(One of my Type C and one of my Type E text variations have not been
conclusively confirmed, and there could possibly be a 5th variation for
Type D, and I'm not including non-factory ID plates fitted in some export
markets, nor the small add on plates seen on some XK120s as referred to by
Hal Rogers)

Of relevance to XK120/ 140/ 150, the 10 Type B/ C/ D variations were used.

I categorise Rob's ID plates as Type B.1 (627933, also used on early
XK120), Type C.1 (679187) and Type C.2 (S681114), which with Type C.4
neatly covers the 4 different plates used on XK120s.

XK140 use only C.4 and C.5 (manual gearbox and auto trans variation)

XK150 use only D.1 and D.2 (manual gearbox and auto trans variation)

CAN XK120 OWNERS ADVISE CHASSIS/ ENGINE NUMBERS, AND IF THEIR ORIGINAL
I.D. PLATES ARE Type B.1, Type C.1, Type C.2 or Type C.4 (look for ESSO,
and not ESSOLUBE heading) PLEASE

You then get into a study of the number stamps used on these ID plates,
which appears to be of two different and distinctive styles, and not
necessarily the same stamps used for all 4 numbers on a particular plate
with a period of overlap during late XK120/ early XK140 of the earlier and
the later style, and as Rob has pointed out, the neatness/ alignment of the
stampings is a characteristic.
   When you appreciate that the available reproduction ID plates don't
offer you all these Type and Text variations, let alone the usual poor
quality of text/ lettering/ layout style, or the style of plate
manufacture, complicated by need to use correct style number stamps, it
isn't that hard to identify a reproduction ID plate fitted to a car.  In
Australia we do not penalise reproduction ID plates, however as mentioned
elsewhere we do verify all 4 numbers are correct and match car.

The issue of Nickle plating of Type B and C.1 plates is not generally
appreciated, so its very pleasing to read Rob's descriptions, however I
don't yet have a feel for exactly when Nickle plating ceased, having
verified C.4 with and without Nickle plating. (or status of Mark 4 Type A
plates either).   The Nickle plating seems to weather/ polish off very
easily revealing the brass finish people like to present, however original
Nickle is usually revealed under screw/ rivet mountings.

DOES ANYONE KNOW A SOURCE OF CORRECT 3.8 E-Type ID plates  -  even so
called specialist E-Type suppliers like UK's Martin Robbey pass off 4.2
E-Type text plates as one-plate-suits-all-Series 1 E-Types!!!!

FINAL WORD:  It is not unknown for Jaguar to have mistakenly used wrong ID
plate blank, correctly stamped up and fitted to some cars.  I've noted Mark
2 ID plate used on XK150, a Daimler plate used on a Series 2 E-type for
instance, although this is a very rare exception
- Roger Payne

Hal Rogers:  Hal, you said that you had a car in with the extra plate added
to the bottom of the ID plate.  Could you give me more details?  e.g.
chassis no. of the car and other numbers, is it a small size plate overall
(5 3/4 x 3 3/4"), does it have BELMOLINE in the square for Wheel Hubs /
Prices, what are the valve clearances stated (006/008 or 004/006), does the
extra plate at the bottom have INL /EXH or the words in full?  what is the
last line of Wheel Hubs lubricants?
Roger Payne - I would be grateful for any further details you can provide
also. The only photo I have of one of these is from XKD 510.
- John Elmgreen

CHASSIS No. 772507    ENGINE No. W5368-8
BODY No. F4500        GEARBOX No. UL11604

the lower add on plate portion is 5/8" tall and 5 3/4" length

WHEEL HUBS \ MOBIL GREASE \ CASTROLEASE \ RETINAX \ ESSO HIGH  \
                 #5           W.B.           A      TEMP GREASE


Cont. of top line of lower add-on plate

BELMOLINE \  H.M.P.
 H.M.P.      GREASE

Second line of lower plate says:
VALVE CLEARANCE (COLD) \ INL .006 INS \ EXH .008 INS

I need to clean the main plate to give you any more info.
- Hal Rogers

In my case the first number was 006 and the second one was started "00" but
not completed on the main plate. I will have to look for the plate sliver,
but I think I remember seeing 004/006 on it.
- Cleo Bay

Mine reads as follows:
VALVE CEARANCE (COLD) INL .006 INS. EXH .008 INS.

It appears to me that perhaps Cleo's assumption is correct. A valve
clearance change was made at some time and rather than discard a bunch of
pre stamped plates the ever parsimonious Mr. Lyons came up with the small
strip until supplies could be exhausted.
- Dave Freeman


>Hal Rogers wrote:
>CHASSIS No. 772507 ENGINE No. W5368-8
>BODY No. F4500 GEARBOX No. UL11604

Hal: I am guessing from the body and engine numbers that this chassis
number should really be 672507, and the gearbox number should be JL11604,
is this correct?
- John Elmgreen

My tuppence:
I see in the service manual that the clearances for 120 were .006 INL/.008
EXH, but for Mk7 were .004/.006. Then in Service Bulletin SB 65 - Apr 50 a
special clearance of .010 was mentioned. SB 120 - Feb 52 confirms .006/.008
for 120 and .004/.006 for Mk7. SB 109 - Sep 52 gives .006/.010 for high
lift racing cams. SB 131 - Sep 53 changes the clearances for high lift cams
to .006/.008, same as standard 120's, but Mk7 is still .004/.006. SB 140 -
Jan 54 revised the clearances for all cars to .004/.006, but C-type and
cars with high lift cams actually used in racing were to be .006/.010.

So Dave, you are right, there was a change. Does this Jan 54 date jive with
the dates for cars with the added correction plate? Would a correction
plate be added to earlier cars by the dealers? Another possible explanation
is that the factory guy stamping the plates made a mistake, thinking the
120 had the same clearances as Mk7, and the inspector caught it and made
him make the correction plates out of misstamped or old superceded stock
plates of one of Roger's ABC designations. Cleo's incomplete plate is very
suggestive of a mistake.

How many cars are we talking about, any idea? Any Mk7's?

More data collection, eh. All part of the fun of this hobby.

Actually, a serious question arises.. should earlier cars be reshimmed to
.004/.006?
- Rob Reilly

I believe the closer valve clearences on the sedans & later cars were for
quietness, wider clearences on 120's for improved performance at the
expense of some additional noise. I set mine on the wide side of .006 &
.008 Dennis Murphy
- Dennis Murphy
  1952 XK120
  1990 XJ-S

Thanks to Hal, the Freemans and others for details of the ID plates. I
think that it was not any change in valve clearances that caused the extra
plate (they were still 006/008), but the addition of BELMOLINE in the
Prices / Wheel Hubs box. I'll check further. By the way, some very late
cars (XK120) had 004 / 006 valve clearances (like 140 and 150): does anyone
have one of these cars?
- John Elmgreen

My 1954 120SE OTS Chassis S 675067
Body    F7344
Engine F2259-8S
Gearbox JL21537
has a one piece brass ID plate with .004 and .006 valve clearances. Is it a
late production model?
- David Sales

This would seem to fit with the Jan '54 Service Bulletin which changed the
clearances on SE engines to .004/.006, and the engine number is about 2000
numbers before the end of XK120 engine production in Sept '54. Figuring
about 75 engines per week and working backwards puts the date of yours in
early '54.
- Rob Reilly

Re the add-on ID plates at the bottom: observations do not support the
theory that these had anything to do with the valve clearances changing to
004/006. The plates were on cars earlier than this. I have also seen a 120
plate with 004/006 that was not overplated i.e. just had the different nos.
stamped on. As to whether they were overplating the Mk VII plates, there
seems no support for this either: a bottom (underneath) plate had no valve
clearances stamped anyway (i.e. it was not a Mk VII plate being plated
over). I still think it must have been the Belmoline change (Prices / Wheel
Hubs) but more observations might tell us more.
Another question here: were any SE models stamped 006/010 per the Service
Bulletins? I have never heard of any, i.e. the plates (showing 006/008)
were wrong for the period 52-53 that 010 was recommended, apparently. (The
recommendation was later withdrawn).
-  John Elmgreen

David Sales - Thanks for the info re your ID plate. I think that your car
was about a Feb/Mar 54 build date - a Heritage Certificate would confirm
(see the Web site). The 004/006 is consistent with a couple of other very
late cars. Does it have Belmoline in the Prices /Wheel Hubs box? Does it
say at the bottom INLET and EXHAUST in full rather than INL and EXH? Other
cars on this list which should have the same are the OTSs of Bruce
Baysinger and Larry and Denise Hodson. I would be interested to hear if
they could advise ID plate details. The Service Bulletin of Jan 54
announced the revised clearances, to 004/006 from the earlier 006/008, so
this seems to tie in with the change in ID plates as observed.
- John Elmgreen

Thanks for the build date information. My ID plate bottom row is as
follows: VALVE CLEARANCE (COLD) INLET .004 INS EXHAUST .006 INS The WHEEL
HUBS/PRICES column recommends ENERGREASE N3. I appreciate any other data
you can provide regarding my car.
- David Sales



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