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XK120 dual exhausts

XK120 Dual Exhausts

The standard XK-120, no exceptions, had a single exhaust system consisting of a "2 into 1" header pipe from the manifolds to the single silencer into a single exhaust pipe which exited at the left rear of the car. All the SE versions, no exceptions, had 2 header pipes from the manifolds to a single silencer into 2 exhaust pipes which exited at the left rear of the car. That said, many of the cars may have been modified by by the factory at the buyers request, by the selling dealer prior to sale to appeal to us yanks and the sporty crowd or by the first owner for the same reasons. Some even had an ABARTH system installed, heaven forbid! Man, this was exhausting-later gator. - George Badger

My 679187 has one exhaust hole in the cross member. It is lined with a piece of round steel tube. I have seen a number of XK120 chassis and the only one I ever saw with two holes through the cross member was very definitely a post-factory hack job involving a GM V-8 installation. I have an original Burgess SE twin system and it passed under the cross member. I have also seen a photo of a system that was single through the cross member, but twin pipes after the muffler; I suspect this was some aftermarket system. Scott, as to whether your second hole is factory or post-factory, a clue would be if there is a liner tube the same size as on the left, and if so, is the welding similar in quality to the welding on the left side tube. Let us know what you find under there. If I'm not mistaken, I believe XK140 and 150 have two holes. - Rob Reilly - XK120 FHC 679187

I'm going to disagree with the suggestion that all SE 120 had a twin exhaust. I have here, on my desk and open, a 120 owners handbook, in original form. A page inside the front cover states that SE models used dual exhaust in" Super Sports Model only". This book has been in my possession since the mid sixties and is not a reprint. I also have a 120 twin muffler I acquired many years ago with the word Burgess embossed on the main body. I wonder how many of these are still around. Also have a touring kit. Know what they are? Speaking of Abarth, I once saw an early 120 with single exhaust and one half of an abarth system fitted on the left side. How well it worked, or how it sounded, I don't know. My own experience with fitting an Abarth to my 140 is not a happy memory. The welded inlet was not large enough to go over the front pipe and it split down its side immediately. Also, the brackets were not in the right place for the front mountings. - Art Ford

FHC with single exhaust: It is in a Service Bulletin: SB 121 - Mar 53: Single exhaust for S.E. FHC cars: From 669005/680738, a single exhaust was fitted to SE FHC cars, although the OTS continued with the dual type. No reason was stated for this. Note that this was before the introduction of the DHC (Apr 53) and someone has already stated that the DHC SE was single. - Regards, John Elmgreen

Our 120 FHC "S" model (680844) did not have the twin exhaust fitted at the factory. I still have the original single downpipe for it. When installed, the pipe was routed through the hole in the frame crossmember. I did, early on, purchase OEM twin-exhaust downpipes when they were still available at San Jose British Motors in the early 70's (still have them, too, but they're in sad shape). These were routed under the frame crossmember. 140's & later routed one pipe thru the right-side frame hole. Not 120's. I like the mellow sound with the twin exhaust. Always have liked it. - Mike Plechaty

Is the twin muffler still useable? I sure need one for my original steel system. If I have to replace my twin exhaust system with a stainless system, who can recommend the one to use? I have seen Double SS, Falcon, and Dick Ames units. It is a bummer that the mild steel systems, or mufflers are no longer available. My muffler is getting real loud and I need to replace it, though. -

Same with my 679012-- only one hole in the cross member, lined with a steel sleeve. - Carl Hanson, '51 XK120 FHC

One of my '54 frames (S675757) has 1 hole for the exhaust. The other, 675878, has a second hole on the right side. The welds seem to be similar on both sides. - Tom McNicholas

updated 9/98...

Dear members, My exhaust system is shot. I know I should put a single exhaust on the car but I want the best sound and performance. Is there a single exhaust system that is not expensive and would offer these qualities? Is there a duel system that will bolt up easily and give good performance and sound without breaking my eardrums? I like it loud but I do not want to get a headache on a long tour. - E.W. Blake

I installed a dual system from Bassettslast year and I am very happy with it. The muffler is a stainless 2-in 2-out glass pack with two straight through perforated pipes. The pipes are steel. It bolted on easily with one hanger installation required for the tail pipes. The exhaust pipes run under the frame so I had a little problem with ground clearance until I fixed my rear springs but it's no problem now. At resonance (1,600 and 3,200 rpm) it is louder than you would want it to be all the time so I cruise a little above or below these frequencies if I get tired of the decibels - but it's fun to have those resonant points available for showing off. Outside of the resonance points, it's pretty quiet while cruising. All in all, it sounds fantastic. Price is about $600. - Bruce Cunningham, Hinesburg, VT '53 XK120 OTS

Dear E.W. Blake, I changed from a single to a twin system.I took the Double S (~US$300.-) and was surprised hearing the new roooar.It´s all stainless steel and fitting was quite easy. Ground clearance could be better. If you accelerate slowly the sound is extraordinary,but if you suddenly push down your pedal,especialy in a tunnel,your ears won´t be at the same place. We did a phone test as it was new and measured 105 decibels at 3500rpm.I think it was calmer as it was new. - Thomas Wagstyl, Germany 120OTS

Bruce, Who is Bassetts? - E.W. Blake

Bassett's Restoration and Supplies, P.O. Box 245, Wyoming, Rhode Island 02898, toll free line for orders 800-444-JAGUAR - Bruce Cunningham

To the exhaust people: the paste I use when joining the pipes to avoid leakage is Holts Firegum.. Everytime I forget it, I regret it. Allan Derry


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