1953 Jaguar XK120 Roadster
Chassis no. 672755
Engine no. W5764-8
3,442cc DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU carburetors
160bhp at 5,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension, Rear Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
*Matching numbers example
*Sold new in California
*An excellent choice for rallies and tours
*A pure expression of the XK120 Roadster design
*Offered with JDHT Heritage Certificate
The Jaguar XK120
"We claimed 120 mph (for the XK 120), a speed unheard of for a production car in those days" - William Heynes, Chief Engineer, Jaguar Cars.
Conceived and constructed in but a few months, the XK120 debuted at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show where the stunning-looking roadster caused a sensation, the resulting demand for what was then the world's fastest production car taking Jaguar by surprise. With orders rolling in, Jaguar had no choice but to rethink the XK120's method of construction. The work of Jaguar boss William Lyons himself and one of the most beautiful shapes ever to grace a motor car, the body had been conceived as a coachbuilt, aluminium panelled structure for the simple reason that Jaguar expected to sell no more than 200 XK120s in the first year! Consequently, a new all-steel panelled body was developed, retaining the fabulous looks of the coachbuilt original.
The XK120's heart was the fabulous XK engine, a 3.4-liter 'six' embodying the best of modern design. It boasted twin overhead camshafts running in an aluminium-alloy cylinder head, seven main bearings and a maximum output of 160bhp. Jaguar lost no time in demonstrating that the XK120's claimed top speed was no idle boast. In May 1949, on the Jabbeke to Aeltre autoroute, an example with its hood and side screens in place recorded a speed of 126mph and 132mph with the hood and windscreen detached and an under-tray fitted.
The XK120 set new standards of comfort, roadholding and performance for British sports cars and, in keeping with the Jaguar tradition, there was nothing to touch it at the price. Coupé and drophead coupé versions followed, and for customers who found the standard car too slow, there was the Special Equipment (SE) package which boosted power to 180bhp. With either engine and regardless of the type of bodywork, the XK120 was a genuine 120mph car capable of sustained high-speed cruising.
The Motorcar Offered
A delightful example of Jaguar's 'OTS', or open two-seater, this left-hand-drive XK120 was completed on August 27, 1952 and dispatched September 3 of the same year to Los Angeles, California based distributor Charles Hornburg. The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate on file does not record the first owner's name, but does verify the original matching-numbers engine. A Southern California car delivered at the height of the early days of the West Coast sports car movement, we imagine that the first owner spent many happy miles behind the wheel of his XK120 on California's then much-less-traveled two-lane backroads.
It is believed that this car has enjoyed the long-term ownership of only two private owners from new. The second owner, who kept the car for 23 years, reportedly purchased the car from the original owner. Always garaged, we understand that the XK120 was treated to a sympathetic restoration in 2003. During the restoration, the car was stripped and repainted, wet sanded and buffed, and now presents in the brilliant black livery it wears today. The original body and frame were deemed to be straight and solid. A new gas tank was installed, and the matching-numbers 3.4-liter engine was overhauled. The hydraulic systems were renewed, and a stainless steel exhaust installed with restored porcelain manifolds. The interior was more recently re-trimmed in Biscuit leather in 2012 with handmade workmanship, utilizing the proper materials. In addition, the Roadster's top and top bows were restored in 2013, complementing the 120's elegant lines.
The look is graceful, as befits an XK120 - original steel wheels with hubcaps and spats give this car the purest expression of the XK120s sensuous lines. Additional features include Lucas tri-bar head lights and driving lights, while the original jack is also present. The vendor reports that he has enjoyed driving this Jaguar, in which he has taken obvious and well-deserved pride of ownership. A popular choice for vintage touring events, and a timeless design that needs no introduction, here is a usable and very well-presented XK120 Roadster that will provide many thrills for its next long-term keeper.