1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838

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Lot 654
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater
Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838

US$ 110,000 - 120,000
£ 88,000 - 96,000
Amended
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater
Chassis no. 671685
Engine no. W37838
Jaguar literally redefined the term “British sports car.” Making its debut at Earl’s Court in October 1948, the XK-120 was streamlined and slinky, the antithesis of the traditional look espoused by MG, Singer and Morgan. Customers gave it a warm welcome, validating Jaguar chief William Lyons’ decision to start production in July.

The modern looks of the XK-120 were matched by the engineering under its skin. A sturdy box-section chassis was independently sprung at the front, with torsion bars and control arms; the live rear axle rode on long semi-elliptic leaf springs. Brakes were Lockheed hydraulic drum units, with twin leading shoes and a generous 12-inch diameter. The heart and soul of the new was a 3,442cc dual-overhead-cam six. Twin SU H6 carburetors fed it well enough to develop 160bhp at 5,200rpm. The “120” in its model name came from its expected top speed, a mark it easily surpassed.

In 1951, the attraction of racing led to an improved cylinder head, with larger valves and ports. Called C-Type, for “Competition,” it was also available as part of a Special Equipment “SE” package that also included wire wheels and dual exhaust.

This XK120 Open Two-Seater has been treated to a recent frame-off restoration. Completed in 2007, this included a complete engine rebuild, with C-type cylinder head fitted with hardened valve seats to accommodate unleaded fuel. Large, two-inch sandcast Type C racing carburetors feed the fuel. A new lightweight flywheel was fitted, mated to a rebuilt Moss gearbox. The engine has porcelain headers and a large-diameter stainless steel exhaust, the sum of these refinements adding some 15bhp. It has been driven fewer than 1,000 miles since the rebuild, and is still being broken in.

The body was restored to the most exacting standards of fit and finish, and painted brilliant red. All panels exhibit excellent alignment, with even gaps. There is a custom-made metal tonneau cover, painted in body color’ Brooklands screens and mirror completely the racing look. The interior is done in black leather, matching the small-window canvas top, and there are matching Wilton wool carpets. A new wiring harness was installed as part of the restoration.

The suspension was rebuilt, with neoprene bushings, new Koni shock absorbers and sway bars. The car has wide alloy Dunlop wire race wheels, fitted with matching wide tires. The vendor reports that it handles beautifully on tight turns, and corners like a dream. The undercarriage is carefully detailed.

Offered with a documented service history and a complete set of tools and handbooks, it is a very special British sports car. A Heritage Certificate from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust documents its specification and provenance. A thoroughly satisfying automobile, it is aptly summed up by its owner: “The engine sounds truly breathtaking at speed and it handles beautifully.” Offered on a California Certificate of Title.

Saleroom notices

  • This lot is complete with a new fan and waer pump to the original specification
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838
1952 Jaguar XK-120SE Open Two-Seater  Chassis no. 671685 Engine no. W37838
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