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White wall tires

White Wall Tires

The first owner of my XK 120 dhc 1953, delivered to Hoffmann in New York,
confirms that he had baught the car new with white-wall tyres. Does anybody
know whether those have been mounted in England or changed by Hoffmann in
New York? - Best regards Zoran Mitrovic

Zoran,  There was no listing of whitewalls for the 120 that I have found in
the parts book. They were listed for the 150 however. Certainly they came
on new cars but maybe they were dealer fitted. I have a copy of a sales
invoice for an XK140 S831644 VA1632-8  F16655, owner Geoff Towner, WA. Copy
documents held:, price $3883.70 incl $34 for white wall tyres. XK150 parts
book - VI/437 - 5 available. Anyone else care to comment? - Regards, John
Elmgreen

Zoran, I'm frantically searching through  old Jag Mags for a featured b/w
photo of a group of XK 120 or 140 roadsters waiting outside the factory at
Brown's Lane to be delivered, by road, to the docks for shipping to the US.
If memory serves me well, they all sported w/w tires. Mind you...... if my
memory served me THAT well, I'd be able to remember where the bloomin' mag
was that I saw the photo in! Does any one  remember seeing a photo like
that? - John Morgan

Dear Members, I have read that the white wall tires where installed in the
states after the cars came across the pond, but I can not be certain. -
E.W. Blake

The Viart Book shows the Paris 1950 Show Cars. incl. the XK 120 OTS, with
wide White Walls. A  Photo like the one John Morgan mentioned earlier,
showing XK 120s lined up for export shippment in front of the factory shows
partly 120s without headlamps (black plate instead of the lamps) but
standard tyres on all lined up cars, no white walls on that photo I saw.
Any more clues? - Arno Wahl

Oh-oh, now I'm starting to have doubts about this photo with the white wall
tired cars but the subject of the photo was definitely cars lined up
outside the factory for export. I saw the photo in a mag- not a book (I
don't have many Jag books with photo plates) but it could possibly be the
same photo Arno mentions. - Forgetfully, John Morgan

>From all the original B/W factory pictures that I have seen, the 120s were
sent with blackwall tires and no sealed beam headlamps.  An original 140
owner that I know changed his tires to whitewalls after the original
blackwalls wore out.  He said he waited until the really wide whitewalls
became a little more narrow. - Larry Jackson, 660636

As to originality of whitewall tires, perhaps the brand name of the tires
is a clue. Whitewall Dunlops have been reported once on this list, but are
apparently rare, whereas whitewalls in American brands were common, so it
seems reasonable to suppose that the USA Jag dealers would install them if
there was customer interest. They were certainly popular at the time.
Several photos and sales brocure airbrushes of XK's with whitewalls are in
"Jaguar, History of a Classic Marque" by Porter. - Rob Reilly

I have a whitewall Dunlop displayed in my garage. It was one of the set
mounted on my Cotswold Blue 150 OTS, purchased by me as the second owner on
April 12, 1965. (I still own this car today; it was my first XK and,
needless to say, it is my favorite XK possession.) The tire is dry rotted,
shows faded white, but still has some remaining tread. Among my Jag books
is a factory photo showing a 150 OTS wearing whitewalls prior to being
despatched. If there is interest, I'll search and advise of the reference.
- Bob Oates

The innovative idea of looking for photographs of 120s at the factory with
white wall tyres had me searching through my books last night. Well there
is at least one.  As reported by others, photos of 150s and Mark VIIs with
white wall tyres, at the factory, are easier to find, but on page 59 of
Porter's "Jaguar: The complete illustrated History" (1984) there is a
photograph of a whole pride(?) of newly produced 120s. The caption to the
photo is: "A mouth-watering display of Jaguar's products, including a lone
C-Type awaiting despatch. All but a handful are left-hand drive." There is
no date or year given (it is exactly 12 noon if the factory clock is
working) but I am guessing it was taken around 1953 from the other photos
in the same spread and the existence of the production C-type, etc. The
factory location is also not confirmed but it looks like the factory, and
Mark VII manufacture seems to be happening in the background. The source of
the photograph - Jaguar Cars Ltd - seems to support the factory location as
well, and the appearance of right-hand drive cars indicates that it is
almost certainly on the right-hand side of the pond (holding the atlas with
Australia at the bottom). Anyway, just creeping into the shot in the bottom
right-hand corner is a dark coloured (B/W photo) left-hand drive XK120 OTS
with, you guessed it, the wide stripe white wall tyres, very similar to, or
the same as, those that appear in Zoran's early photograph. This is the
only car with white walls in the whole bunch of them, but it is definitely
there. So there you are, factory white walls on XK120s, at least to special
order. After crossing the Atlantic they would still have been changed, no
doubt, into "tires". Hope this find clears things up. - regards Jon Garde.

Jon, Thank you for this very interesting information! I will have a look in
my bookshelf whether I have this book! - Best regards Zoran Mitrovic

I also have a number of photographs that show XK's with whitewalls. I think
there are some in Viart's book. - Jose Del Pino - 120 DHC

Bernard Viart's book "Jaguar XK Le Grand Livre" has some interesting
pictures of and references to white walls: - page 127: photo of the Paris
Motorshow of October 1952, shows a 120 OTS and a MK VII both with white
wall tyres.  BTW the Montlerey 120 FHC record car is also shown: but no
white walls. -page 132: picture of 120 FHC (wearing a rather elaborate
roofrack) shows white walls. The caption says that the picture was taken
outside  at the Browns Lane factory and that the car was destined for the
US. - page 200/201: two page spread of perhaps 100 cars in a UK port, ready
for shipment to the USA.  Many 140 OTS with wire wheels and white wall
tyres everywhere.  Also MK VIIM, Triumph TR2 and MG TF's. - page 203: 14 XK
140 OTS ready to be loaded onto a ship; some with wires and white walls;
the one actually being hoisted aboard is fitted with disc wheels and black
walls (no  rear wheel valences/spats). Based on this, one would say that
some 140 OTS have been factory fitted with white walls. Mr. Viart seems
positive that some 120's have also had these fitted at the factoy. This
book is, as most of you may know written in french. The excellent photo's
make this also a worthwhile posession for the few that have not mastered
this language. I understand that the book is still available. - Wim Bakker

If you have any questions or comments send e-mail to: ted@jag-lovers.org
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