'For 1955, Jaguar present a range of models incorporating not only added refinements, but mechanical advances directly derived from their many outstanding successes in international competitive events. All the wealth of experience gained on the race-tracks of the world and in record-breaking speed and endurance tests is built into every Jaguar to provide for discriminating motorists the highest degree of efficient performance allied to comfort and safety.' - Jaguar Cars Ltd. Launched in 1954, the Jaguar XK140 was broadly similar to, though more refined than, its sensational XK120 predecessor, major engineering changes being confined to the repositioning of the engine 3" further forward and the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering as used on the racing C-Type. The suspension and brakes remained much as before, though with stiffer torsion bars at the front and telescopic shock absorbers replacing the previous lever type at the rear. Like its forbear, the XK140 was built in three model types: roadster, coupé and drophead coupé, the latter two offering usefully increased cabin space and occasional rear seats. Outwardly the newcomer was distinguishable by its revised radiator grille, rear lights incorporating flashing indicators, and larger bumpers - the latter adopted to withstand the cut and thrust of urban parking.
The power unit remained Jaguar's well-tried, 3.4-litre, twin-cam six, which now produced 190bhp in standard trim thanks to higher-lift camshafts and revised porting. To ensure reliability, steel bearing caps replaced the previous cast-iron type. A close-ratio gearbox enabled better use to be made of the increased performance while Laycock-de Normanville overdrive became an option for the first time. Special Equipment (SE) XK140s came with wire wheels and Lucas fog lamps, and could be ordered with an engine developing 210bhp courtesy of the 'C'-type cylinder head. XK140 performance was well up to the standards set by its exemplary predecessor, contemporary magazine road-tests regularly recording top speed figures in excess of 120mph. Tested by Road & Track magazine, a USA-specification XK140MC (as the 'C'-type head-equipped SE version was known there) recorded a 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 121.1mph.
One of only 479 XK140 drophead coupés made in right-hand drive configuration, '174 YNY' is well know to the Bonhams team, having been handled by us twice in the 1990s under the Brooks banner and more recently when it was sold to the current vendor at our RAF Museum, Hendon sale in April 2009 (Lot 332). Prior to the immediately preceding ownership, the car had been owned by the 9th Earl of Chichester and during the period 1991 to 1993 was the subject of a painstaking and extensive restoration by P & K Thornton of Nottingham. Work carried out is detailed in a substantial file of restoration photographs and invoices totalling circa £40,000. The car was said to have been carefully cherished since restoration, seeing little use in the years prior to its sale in 2009, though it had been started regularly and MoT'd. Equipped with the desirable overdrive gearbox and chromed wire wheels, '174 YNY' is finished in maroon with biscuit leather interior and is described by the vendor as in generally excellent condition. Potentially a front-runner on the Concours d'Élegance lawns or indeed on competitive road events, the car is offered with the aforementioned file, purchase invoice (1989), photocopies of old MoT certificates, various SORNs and Swansea V5 document.