Modification and upgrades on classic cars is always going to be controversial; however the owners of classic cars, understandably, want to get as much use out of them as possible. To that end we have developed a range of modifications and upgrades for the XK120, XK140 and XK150 to make them more useable and pleasurable to drive in the modern day. These modifications have been developed with the specific aim of leaving the car looking as visually standard as possible and maintaining the 'connected', classic driving experience, which is after all a major reason for having a Jaguar XK.
This article will focus on power steering upgrades for the Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150. Having fitted, tested and used many different power steering systems over the years, we have developed a good idea of what works well and what doesn't. For many years hydraulic power steering racks were the only realistic option for the XK. This system works well; there are however three significant drawbacks.
Jaguar XK120 with electric power steering fittedThe first problem is that hydraulic power steering systems are unsightly under the bonnet; pipes running everywhere, a nonstandard looking steering rack and a whacking great pump for the fluid. The second issue is the whacking great pump itself, which on many cars whirrs away under the bonnet and makes a distinctly un-classic sound. The third issue is one of feel and I have to admit is fairly objective. Parking an XK can be hard work and power steering is therefore a most welcome addition. For us in the workshop, maneuvering these wonderful cars in and out of the workshop several times a day, power steering is a welcome rest for the arms. It can however dramatically change the feel of the car out on the open road, making the steering reel disconnected and too light. Fortunately we are now fitting a power steering system that gives all the benefits of power steering without any of the above-mentioned drawbacks.
The system we fit is by EZ Power Steering for whom we are the approved installers for XKs. We have been working closely with EZ for several years now refining the system to develop what we believe is the best power steering conversion available for the Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150. This electronic power steering system works using a compact electric motor attached to the upper steering column offering several benefits over traditional hydraulic systems.
The biggest benefit in our view is that EZ power steering leaves the car looking totally standard under the bonnet and inside the car. The original steering rack and lower column remain in place and a modified upper column is fitted. This modified column leaves the steering wheel in its original position and looks totally standard where it comes out of the dashboard and through the bulkhead. The part of the column with the motor attached is hidden behind the dashboard and the only visible difference is a slight bulge in the under-dash panel. There are no unsightly pipers or pumps and the system makes virtually no noise (you certainly can't hear it over the engine).
This system can also be fitted to the Jaguar XK120, keeping the original steering box, without the need to convert to rack and pinion. There are no other systems available for the XK120 without changing over to rack and pinion.
Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150 electric power steering systemThe way Jaguar XKs drive is what makes them one of the most desirable classic cars around and what made them so successful in their time. We therefore do everything we can to keep them driving as they should, if not better. This is where the EZ power steering system comes into its own. As already stated, the original steering rack is left in place thereby leaving the steering geometry as it came out of Browns Lane and therefore the car drives and responds as it should.
Finally the ace up this systems sleeve is that you can turn it off! This means that you can have lovely, light, modern feeling steering for parking and town driving but when you get out on a twisty B-road or onto Goodwood Motor-Circuit you can switch it off and experience the XK as it was designed. The best of both worlds!
This power steering system has proved to be hugely popular with our customers and is now our second most popular upgrade just behind our disc brake conversion. For more information about our upgrades and modifications please click here or get in touch.