'The Jaguar XK150 is undeniably one of the world's fastest and safest cars. It is quiet and exceptionally refined mechanically, docile and comfortable... we do not know of any more outstanding example of value for money.' - The Autocar.
What would turn out to be the final glorious incarnation of Jaguar's fabulous 'XK' series of sports cars arrived in 1957. As its nomenclature suggests, the XK150 was a progressive development of the XK120 and XK140, retaining the same basic chassis, 3.4-litre engine and four-speed Moss transmission of its predecessors while benefiting from a new, wider body that provided increased interior space and improved visibility courtesy of a single-piece wrap-around windscreen, replacing the XK140's divided screen. Cleverly, the new body used many XK120/140 pressings, the increased width being achieved by means of a 4"-wide central fillet. A higher front wing line and broader radiator grille were other obvious differences, but the new model's main talking point was its Dunlop disc brakes. Fade following repeated stops from high speed had been a problem of the earlier, drum-braked cars, but now the XK had stopping power to match its prodigious straight-line speed.
Introduced in the spring of 1957, the XK150 was available at first only in fixed and drophead coupé forms, the open roadster version not appearing until the following year. At 190bhp, the engine's maximum power output was identical to that of the XK140 so performance was little changed. 'Special Equipment' and 'S' versions came with 210 and 250bhp respectively, the latter delivering an astonishing 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. This was achieved by the introduction of the Weslake-developed 'straight-port' cylinder head, high-compression pistons, triple 2" SU carburettors and twin electric fuel pumps.
Overdrive and a Borg-Warner automatic gearbox were the transmission options, the latter becoming an increasingly popular choice, while a Thornton Powr-Lok limited-slip differential was available for the XK150S. Steel wheels remained the standard fitting, though XK150s so equipped are a great rarity, as most were sold in SE (Special Equipment) specification with centre-lock wire wheels. The much-admired chromed Jaguar mascot was made available as an optional extra on an XK for the first time.
An original right-hand drive model retaining matching chassis and engine numbers, this XK150 coupé was delivered new to the Henley dealership and had three owners to prior to the current vendor: one for 21 years and the immediately preceding for 32 years. The previous owner bought the XK as a sound but slightly tired example and treated it to a comprehensive restoration in 1980/1981, after which the car was carefully maintained by marque specialists Swallow Engineering. In 2011, by which time it had covered some 8,000 miles post restoration, the car was offered for sale at a UK auction where it was purchased by the current vendor. Noteworthy features include an up-rated radiator, Kenlowe electric cooling fan and a stainless steel exhaust system. The substantial history file contains numerous recently issued (2010 onwards) receipts from SNG Barratt and other specialists together with older receipts and expired MoT certificates dating back to the late 1970s/early 1980s. The car also comes with a full tool kit, Heritage Certificate, current MoT and a V5C registration document.