“We claimed 120 mph (for the XK 120), a speed unheard for a production car in those days.” – William Heynes, Chief Engineer, Jaguar Cars.
The XK120 was unquestionably one of the finest sports cars of its day, as its chassis provided amazing handling and its engine delivered record-breaking top speed.
Jaguar launched the Jaguar XK120 in 1948 at the London Motor Show as a way to test out a new engine and gauge interest in a new body design. It intended the car to facilitate the evolution of the brand.
Mr. William Lyons, the brand’s founder, didn’t expect to sell many of his novel XK’s, they were mainly being used to test engine components and body composition for that potential future sedan so he made them with readily available, lightweight aluminum. (The conventional method for making car bodies back then used steel, which was scarce after World War II)
Demand for the XK 120 exploded, especially in the United States, where drivers had never seen a postwar sports car.
The XK 120 was considered to be an amazing value for the money. It felt much more modern than anything else people had driven, especially for the American driver.
Early models came with a straight-six, 160-bhp “XK” engine and a feline body molded out of the aluminum and trimmed in ash wood. It was Jaguar’s first sports car in nearly a decade, so there was a lot of pressure to hit on something that would stick.
Preliminary results were exceptional: The car set speed records, and Jaguar ended up using that engine until the 1980s.
Jaguar’s 3.4-litre straight-six is perhaps one of the greatest engine designs of all time.
This engine is absolutely fabulous and due to the perfect power to weight ratio the car has an amazing performance.
The XK 120 is a car which can be driven on a racetrack but it is also a fantastic car to use for holiday trips.
The large and powerful engine feels itself at home on motorway because it does’t need high revs at higher speed and is therefore very comfortable, but because of the torque an XK is also a superb car to use for rallies, races or on small roads in mountain areas for example.
With the beautiful engine/exhaust sound it will 100% give a smile on everybody’s face.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
According to its Heritage Certificate, this very early Jaguar XK120 Roadster or OTS Open Two-Seater as officially called when it was newly sold, was built in left-hand drive form and rolled off the production line on the 29th of June 1950. This early build date means that this example is one of the first steel bodied Jaguar XK 120’s produced with all it’s special and unique details which are present on very early examples.
The Jaguar was despatched from Browns Lane on the 2nd of August 1950 to arrive at the dealer in Hornburg, Los Angeles in September that year.
It was destined for its new owner, a Mr. Douglas R. Sprague.
The Jaguar comes with an impressive amount of papers and pictures. The pictures show the car in 2000 at that time the car was in a complete condition but in need of restoration. The base of the car was excellent as the car was not dismantled so everything was still on the car. This also results in the positive fact that this specific example has so many of the rare early details.
Even the widescreens were still with the car.
Pictures show that the car was extremely thoroughly restored. The body went back to bare metal, the chassis was restored and the complete technique has been restored including a full engine rebuilt, axle rebuilt etc. etc.
During the restoration the car was fitted with 2 very desirable upgrades being a 5 speed gearbox as well as disc brakes at the front.
The original gearbox is still with the car.
Optically the chrome parts have all been re-chromed and new windows have been installed during the restoration.
Since the restoration the Jaguar has had 2 owners who took very good care of the Jaguar resulting in a beautiful condition exterior and interior wise.
Cosmetically this Jaguar is in an extremely beautiful condition. As described above the car has undergone an impressive restoration whereby the car was brought to bare metal. The paint work was a high caliber job and shows extremely well with no signs of use.
Fittings of the doors, boot and bonnet are excellent throughout.
The windows are in a beautiful condition without scratches or pitting. Also the chrome is in a beautiful condition and don’t show any wearing.
As this Jaguar is a desirable version with the closed wheels it’s important that the rims are still with the car which is the case with this specific example.
The Jaguar comes with a soft top which is in as new condition even as a tonneau cover. (A tonneau cover is a cover to close the cockpit)
The seat frames, springs and inner material were fully restored and renewed. The seats, rear bench, door panels, dash top and bottom were upholstered with first class Blue Connolly leather. The floor was upholstered with fine wool carpet.
The interior is restored as the exterior, on a high quality level and on the period correct way. The original materials have been used.
The dashboard is covered in leather as original and the meters, gauges and knobs fitted in the dashboard are all in a beautiful nice and perfectly working order.
The trunk has been newly upholstered as well during the restoration.
This Jaguar looks impressively nice but the driving experience is even more impressive.
For some reason every classic car drives slightly different even as it is the same brand or type. Some cars are handling more heavy than others and certainly after a serious restoration.
This Jaguar XK is an example which is mechanically in a very good order. The engine runs beautifully and is very very strong. The setting of the engine is perfect and the engine response very responsive on the gas pedal.
The car starts immediately and the transmission which is upgraded to a 5 speed gearbox (original gearbox comes with the car) shifts very easy and smooth.
Due to the 5th. gear the Jaguar invites to make long distance trips on the motorway. With a standard 4 speed gearbox the engine makes high revs on high speeds but because of the ratio’s of the 5 speed gearbox the car is much more comfortable to drive on high speeds.
The Jaguar also benefits from an upgrade at the front with disc brakes which make the braking more effective.
The suspension feels very tight and the car is driving fabulous on lower and on higher speeds.
The Jaguar has been recently serviced in our workshop. A compression test with excellent result was carried out and the inspection from the underpart of the car (the chassis) resulted in the conclusion that this car is impressively nice restored.