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The Audrain Concours Auction / 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster Chassis no. S674747 Engine no. F1765-8S

Lot 109
1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster
30 September 2022, 16:00 EDT
Newport, Rhode Island, International Tennis Hall of Fame

US$130,000 - US$160,000

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1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster
Chassis no. S674747
Engine no. F1765-8S

3,442cc DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
2 SU Carburetors
180bhp at 5,200rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Rare and desirable factory 'Special Equipment' XK120 Roadster
*Stylish and appropriate British Racing Green over Biscuit livery
*Beautifully restored, matching numbers example documented by Heritage Trust Certificate
*Eligible for a host of international tours and driving events


"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 just 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 apace, Jaguar had no choice but to think again about 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, aluminum paneled structure for the simple reason that Jaguar expected to sell no more than 200 XK120s in the first year! In conjunction with the Pressed Steel Fisher Company a new all-steel paneled body was developed, which retained the fabulous looks of the coachbuilt original while differing in minor external details. Beneath the skin the steel car was entirely different, and it would take some 20 months of development before manufacture could begin.

The XK120's heart was, of course, the fabulous XK engine, which had been developed during the war and was intended for Jaguar's forthcoming Mark VII saloon. A 3.4-litre 'six' embodying the best of modern design, it boasted twin overhead camshafts running in an aluminum cylinder head, seven main bearings and a maximum output of 160bhp. It went into a chassis that was essentially a shortened version of the simultaneously announced Mark V saloon's, featuring William Heynes' torsion bar independent front suspension. 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. Coupe and Drophead Coupe 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 XK120 was produced until 1954 and would prove to be the most popular of the XK series, with 12,078 examples built, of which 2,194 were left-hand drive SE Roadsters like that offered here.


This stunning XK120 SE Roadster was completed at the Browns Lane Jaguar Works during 1954 - nearing the end and fully-evolved production run of the original XK model - and was equipped with the 'Special Equipment' package from factory. The new Jaguar was configured as a left-hand drive, US market example, and is purported to have done just over 62,000 miles from new to this day. The XK120 Roadster would reside in a well-known California-based collection for many years, and was in 2004 treated to a full restoration, while having been enjoyed on the road just a few hundred miles annually since, resulting in less than 4,000 miles since restoration. During this ownership, the Jaguar was diligently serviced and maintained as needed.

Today this classic XK120 Roadster presents beautifully throughout, with the svelte 'Open Two-Seater' bodywork finished in the stunning and era-evoking British Racing Green color, perfectly contrasted by the Biscuit interior and black Roadster top. Chrome wire wheels are fitted and shod on period-correct Dunlop tires, with a matching spare mounted in the boot or trunk. Importantly, the accompanying Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate confirms that the XK retains its matching numbers engine block.

This impressive Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster must be among the finest on the market, and is offered complete with books, service records, tools and jack. Eligible for a host of international driving and Concours events, this lovely example of Jaguars iconic and very first XK Roadster model deserves serious consideration.

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