The ex-Walter Hill
1950 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Competition Roadster
Chassis no. 670119
Engine no. W1192-8
Delays in the gestation of its MkVII Saloon led to Jaguar exploring an alternative method of bringing its new XK engine to public attention. The result was the XK120 sports car. Launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, the stunning-looking roadster caused a sensation. Conceived as a low-volume model, the XK120 proved considerably more popular than expected, with the result that the expensive-to-produce, ash-framed alloy coachwork was replaced by steel after 240 cars had been completed. Today these early lightweight cars are among the most sought after of all the XK family.
Although it had not been designed with racing in mind, the XK120s competition potential was immediately obvious, not least to the factory, which entered a three-car team in the one-hour race for standard production cars at Silverstone in August 1949. The XKs of Leslie Johnson and Peter Walker duly rewarded Jaguars faith in its new sports car by finishing first and second respectively, thus setting the scene for an illustrious competition career that would culminate in the development of the legendary C-Type.
Left-hand drive chassis number 670119 was manufactured on February 8th 1950 and sold by Max Hoffman in New York. It is one of the first 240 lightweight, alloy-bodied cars produced before the switch to steel, and thus one of the most desirable and sought after of all XK120s.
670119 appears to have been modified for racing at the factory: there are no tell-tale welding scars from the rear trunk shelf having been raised to accommodate a spare, an unnecessary item for racing, while the rear fender has no skirt recess and no lead in the arch. Incorporating its original block but fitted with a later 9.0:1 compression ratio head number F2918-9S, the engine boasts larger valves, hotter camshafts and twin sand-cast 2 SU carburetors, the latters factory fitted cold air box being fed via a duct leading from the right-side headlight aperture. The seats are Le Mans-specification racing seats, not buckets, while the aero screens likewise are Le Mans items and original, not added later as replacements. Legitimate in-period Borrani hubs and wire wheels are fitted, offering improving brake cooling and weight reduction. The car retains its original racing brake drums; the dual exhaust though, is a later modification.
The car was purchased by the current owner at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Meeting Sale on September 16th 2005 (Lot 121) having previously formed part of the Walter Hill Collection from 1985 to 2005. The accompanying Jaguar Heritage Certificate confirms that it was originally finished in pale blue, but while with Hill the car possibly repainted at time of modification in the early 1950s - had the same sand color as present. Unused for several years at time of purchase in 2005, 670119 has since been re-commissioned by Bob Bakers specialist restoration shop in Phoenix, Arizona where it was fully restored to its original factory racing specification in every respect. Essentially, everything that leaks, dries up or falls off was replaced, together with all the accessories, and the engine brought back to full running condition. As the car had been raced in the 1950s, Bob Baker preserved as much of the patina as possible.
Offered with the aforementioned Jaguar Heritage Certificate, sundry restoration invoices and a volume of photographs from the Walter Hill Collection, this car could be driven over to Pebble Beach for the Concours without any reservation.