Secret Jaguar Collection - Including Phil Hill Racer - at Bonhams Amelia Island Auction

A secret collection of important collectible and racing Jaguars, including a Works XK120 raced to victory by US racing driver and Formula 1 Champion Phil Hill, will be seen for the first time in 20 years crossing the block at the Bonhams Amelia Island Auction on March 2 in Florida.

The cache has been hidden for more than two decades just outside Washington DC, having been collected by the late Thomas C. Hendricks. The lifelong automobile enthusiast, known Jaguar connoisseur and former Chairman of the Washington Jaguar Club inherited his passion from his father Carl whose own XK120M, reacquired by Hendricks Junior in 1961, is one of the jewels offered at Amelia Island.

LT3 1951 Jaguar Works-built lightweight aluminum racing XK120, left as driven by Phil Hill in Palm Springs, 1951 (credit, The Hill Family Archive), estimate $400,000-600,000

A highlight of the collection is LT3, one of three 1951 Jaguar Works-built lightweight aluminum racing XK120s, estimate $400,000-600,000. Originally intended to understudy the new C-Types in their 1951 24 Hour Le Mans campaign, the trio was brought to the US by West-Coast distributor Charles Hornburg to race and promote the marque in America.

With Phil Hill at the wheel, LT3 placed third – and first in class – on its debut at the SCCA Elkhart Lake race in August 1951. Hill piloted the Jaguar for most of its campaign, including at Pebble Beach in 1952.

Two decades later, having been given a lead about an unusual looking Jaguar for sale and realizing it was LT3, Mr Hendricks tracked down the lightweight XK120 and bought it in 1974. Never restored, and only shown once for the anniversary of the C-Type in 2001 in Nashville, Tennessee, this is an exceptionally rare and important piece of Jaguar history.

Costin-bodied 1959 Lister Sports Racing Car, est. $600,000-800,000

Lining up with LT3 is another car with in-period racing pedigree: a Costin-bodied 1959 Lister Sports Racing Car, estimate $600,000-800,000. The Lister enjoyed an on-track career in the UK with its original owner Ron Brightman – firstly campaigned with a V8 Chevrolet unit, and later a Jaguar powerplant.

The Lister was driven by Chris Drake at the 1973 50th Anniversary of Le Mans event before it was acquired three years later by Mr Hendricks when he was on a tour of the UK. Arriving back in the USA, the Lister was never raced, but carefully preserved and proudly displayed, also last being shown in Nashville in 2001.

1954 Jaguar XK120M Roadster, est. $75,000-110,000

The third highlight is a time-warp, never-restored 1954 Jaguar XK120M Roadster – a real family heirloom, which was originally purchased new by Mr Hendricks' father, who sold it on a few years later. In 1961 his son discovered it was again for sale and quickly snapped it up, using the deposit he and his wife had saved to buy a house.

Some 3,000 hours were spent detailing and preparing the Roadster before becoming a familiar figure at Concours events, where his efforts were nearly always rewarded with an outright win. The Roadster was even selected to represent the marque's 20th anniversary in the USA, on the Jaguar stand at the New York Auto Show in 1968. Having been the pride of the family for 62 years, the Roadster is now offered with an estimate of $75,000-110,000.

The collection's remaining big cats are a trio of 'barn find' projects presenting a tempting opportunity for Jaguar enthusiasts: a 1951 XK 120 Fixed Head Coupe and Roadster, estimates $10,000-20,000 and $20,000-30,000 respectively, and a 1961 Jaguar E-Type 'Flat Floor' Roadster with hardtop, estimate $30,000-40,000.

1961 Jaguar E-Type 'Flat Floor' Roadster with hardtop, est. $30,000-40,000

Rupert Banner, Global Head of Specialists, Bonhams Collector Cars, said: "This is a fantastic discovery - an exciting, fresh collection representing both the finest track and road examples of this beloved British marque."

Bonhams returns to the Fernandina Beach Golf Club for its first East Coast collector car sale of 2023, the Amelia Island Auction which takes place on Thursday March 2, with viewing on Wednesday March 1 and on the sale day.

Other highlights include a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Sports Tourer, coachwork by Vanden Plas (estimate on request), restored to concours, award-winning standard and a highly original No Reserve 1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series 2 (estimate $1,000,000-1,500,000), formerly kept in the collections of James Leake and John Mozart, which has covered fewer than 14,300 miles from new.

Further consignments of important collector cars are currently being invited. Contact [email protected] for more details.


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