3,442cc inline six
Four-speed manual gearbox
The purest iteration of the XK120
Two year ground-up restoration
JDHT Certificate confirms original engine
Original Los Angeles supplied car
At the 1948 Motor Show Jaguar astonished the public by announcing a new two-seater roadster, the 'XK120'. The XK120 heralded the arrival of Jaguar's famous 3.4-liter twin-overhead-camshaft XK engine, intended for the Mark VII saloon, then two years away. Its chassis was essentially a shortened version of the simultaneously announced Mark V saloon, with torsion bar independent suspension.
The XK120's comfort and roadholding set new standards for British sports cars and, uniquely of the XK series, its name reflected the top speed. In May 1949, on the Jabbeke to Aeltre autoroute in Belgium, an example with its top and side screens in place recorded a speed of 126mph, and 132mph with the top and windscreen detached and an under-tray fitted.
The car's instant success caught Jaguar by surprise. It was immediately obvious that the ash-framed alloy coachwork would have to go and the XK120 was re-engineered in steel after 240 cars had been completed. In 1951 the open two-seater model was joined by a fixed-head coupé version, and a drophead coupé followed in 1953. The XK120 was superseded by the XK140 in 1954 - it was to prove the most popular of the series.
This left-hand drive XK120 Fixed-Head Coupe was finished in October of 1952. Ping-pong around the country, the car spent time in Maine and then Santa Barbara, California where it was restored from the ground up from 1983 to 1989. In 1993 the car joined the collection of the Gerald and Kathy Nell. Parked in the company of the Nell's C-Type, D-Type, and XK-SS, the XK120 no doubt felt very much at home amongst its bigger brothers. Not shown and sparingly driven by the Nells, it was carefully maintained by them before joining the Oldenburg Family Collection in 2010.
Finished in Olde English White with biscuit leather, this XK120 has been prepared for active use. While it no longer has the original engine as specified on its build tag, a correct replacement currently occupies the coveted spot under the hood. To haul the car back from excessive pace, front disc brakes are mounted. Chrome wire wheels that are unshrouded by rear spats round out the look. Inside, the Oldenburgs careful modified the front seat was to provide a bit more room in the cabin, a very welcome amplification that will be instantly recognized by those of longer stature.
A drier but just as stylish alternative to XK120M OTS offered as lot 333
, this lovely cat will no doubt be thoroughly enjoyed by whoever has the pleasure to own it.Without reserve