My Car Quest

November 14, 2019

How To Treat A Barn Find – A Jaguar XK140 FHC-SE

by Mike –

Geoffrey Horton has had a lot of experience around some serious cars. As the nephew of George Tilp he had access to Ferrari race cars and the people who worked on them and drove them.

It is no surprise that he would be a life time car lover and would take on a project as awsome as the one he describes here – reviving a dead Jaguar XK140.

This is what one should do with a barn find once it has deteriorated past the state of being a driver with just a little clean up.

1955 XK140 FHC-SE

Geoffrey Horton and his 1955 XK140 FHC-SE

Text and photos by Geoffrey Horton

Speaking of barn finds. This is my 1955 Jaguar XK140 FHC-SE that I pulled out of a barn in Volcano, California in 1982. Rats had lived in the engine block (freeze plugs missing) for 14 years.

1955 XK140 FHC-SE

They had completely eaten the interior and all wiring. They stored dog food in the wool headliner. The second owner assured me the car was running fine when placed into storage. With four flat tires and no interior we pulled it out of the barn onto a U-Haul trailer.

Within 3 days I had chased all the rats out of the car and placed rubber plugs where freeze plug were missing. I used a 5 gallon gas can as a fuel cell, 2 milk crates as seats and added a 12 volt battery with some wires to the coil.

1955 XK140 FHC-SE

I installed new plugs, cleaned the points and aired up the flat cracked Dunlop RS tires. With the Jaguar backed into my garage I was unaware the previous owner had poured a quart of oil into each combustion chamber. With several cranks, the engine came alive, blowing oil and tons of smoke into my garage covering the back wall which housed my washer, dryer and furnace.

Neighbors came running to my house thinking my property was on fire. The following day I drove the car out of the garage and down some back roads reaching speeds of 100 mph in overdrive.

I totally scared the crap out of my neighbor who had volunteered to be co-pilot – no seat belts and two milk crates – memories for life.

Thirty-two years later my wife and I still enjoy taking our Jaguar to Concours at venues through out California.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

1955 XK140 FHC-SE

1955 XK140 FHC-SE

Summary
How To Treat A Barn Find - A Jaguar XK140 FHC-SE
Article Name
How To Treat A Barn Find - A Jaguar XK140 FHC-SE
Description
This is what one should do with a barn find once it has deteriorated past the state of being a driver with just a little clean up.
Author

Comments

  1. Volcano CA has a nice car show too, but don’t blink or you’ll miss the town!

  2. I am still trying to find the barn!!
    Never give up 🙂

  3. John in Fargo says

    100 mph sitting on milk crates and ridding on cracked tires – Woo-hoo!!

  4. Geoffrey Horton says

    Mike, That article brings back a lot of memories from 1982. UHaul trailer, best friend and a bottle of Jack Daniels.
    My wife was not to happy when we arrived home with the jag. Still have the jag and enjoy showing her.
    Cheers

  5. Mike — nice coverage of a super nice and funny guy who was somehow optimistic enough to bring that old cat back from the dead. If you have a chance to see both of them at a show somewhere, stop and check out that lovely coupe and chat with Geoffrey. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the visit.

  6. Once in a lifetime experience. We have a few of them over the past 39 years.

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