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 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, aluminium panelled 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 panelled 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, a 3.4-litre 'six' embodying the best of modern design, boasting twin overhead camshafts running in an aluminium-alloy cylinder head, seven main bearings and a maximum output of 160bhp. 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 first steel-bodied, right-hand drive XK120 chassis number '66059' was completed on 6th April 1950 finished in bronze with biscuit/tan interior and fawn hood. Registered 'JVC 66' in Coventry on 19th April 1950, it was despatched the following day. In Australia the car was delivered via Melbourne Jaguar distributor, Bryson to first owner Nicholas Hilton, a member of the family that had developed the 'Aspro' analgesic, and registered in Melbourne on 6th October 1950. The car was owned by John King, of Tasmania from 1967 to December 1978 when it was purchased by Sandy Frith-Brown, a resident of Hobart, Tasmania's capital. Sold by him in 1980 to Peter McNamara of 'Bimbimbi, Vermont, Victoria, it was in generally good original condition at that time. By the mid-1990s the XK was in the hands of Cliff Rattray-Wood, who by 1995 had restored it, refinishing it in the Jaguar XJ40 colour, 'Oyster'. While in his hands, the Jaguar participated in the 1996 Darwin to Alice Springs Run.
The car was the subject of a sympathetic restoration by renowned marque specialists J.D Classics in 2005; it was in rust-free condition when consigned and thus its basic structure did not require any serious attention. Restoration was to original specification and included a full overhaul of the engine and gearbox, and a bare-metal repaint to the original factory colour of Opalescent Bronze. Noteworthy features include body coloured seat belts and full spats.
Bought from its Australian owner in 2007, the Jaguar was offered for sale at Bonhams' 'XK 60' auction at Goodwood in August 2008 (Lot 218) where it was purchased by the current owner to compliment his collection of sports and competition cars. Little used since and a worthy concours contender, this historic and landmark Jaguar sports car is offered with Jaguar/Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate (confirming matching chassis/engine numbers) and a UK V5C registration document.