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1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster
Registration no. XKV 186
Chassis no. 660066
Engine no. W1352-8

"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 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 coach built, 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 coach built 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 aluminium-alloy 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, road holding 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 XK120 was produced until 1954 and would prove to be the most popular of the XK series, with 12,078 examples built, of which only 1,175 were right-hand drive roadsters like that offered here. This XK was completed on 18 April 1950, finished in black with biscuit/red interior and French Grey hood. Chassis number '660066', the 66th RHD roadster built, was dispatched by the works to Swedish racing driver Oscar Swahn, who competed in this car in three rounds of the World Sports Car Series between 1951 – 1953, as evidenced by copies of results sheets on file. This XK is described as a "famous car" in Andrew Whyte's book, Jaguar – The Definitive History of a Great British Car. The car features sandcast SU H8 carburettors and C type cylinder head which it is understood were fitted in period.

After display in a Swedish motor museum, during which time the colour scheme was changed from black to Old English White with red interior, '660066' returned to the UK in 2010 and was registered as 'XKV 186'. In 2011 the engine was overhauled by Phoenix Engineering, including re-boring and re-facing the cylinder block; regrinding and balancing the crankshaft; fitting new pistons, bearings, timing chains, adjusted tappets etc. Between 2010 - 2015 various competition modifications were carried out by Phoenix Engineering, Guy Broad Jaguar and Nick Finburgh Limited. These works included installing a Guy Broad (MT75) five-speed gearbox and replacement clutch; replacing the front drum brakes with discs, new wishbones, ball joints and front shock absorbers; fitting electronic ignition, electric cooling fan; installation of an aluminium radiator and expansion tank. (The original gearbox, brakes and hubs are available if required). All invoices for these and additional work carried out on the car are on file for inspection. Over the past twelve years the XK has taken part in numerous rallies in the UK and Europe and is pictured in the book "The XK 120 in Competition" by Dr James Fraser. It also features regularly in Jaguar Drivers Club literature.

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