1950 Jaguar XK 120


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1950 Jaguar XK120 Coupé
Registration no. to be advised
Chassis no. S680236

"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.

When Jaguar resumed car production in 1945, it dropped its pre-war sports car line to concentrate on saloon manufacture. But at the 1948 Motor Show the firm astonished the public by announcing a new two-seater roadster, its 'XK120' name reflecting the top speed. The XK120 marked the arrival of Jaguar's famous 3.4-litre twin-overhead-camshaft XK engine, intended for the Mark VII saloon, then two years away. Its chassis was essentially a shortened version of the simultaneously announced Mark V saloon, with torsion bar independent front suspension.

The XK120's comfort and roadholding set new standards for British sports cars and, of all the XK series cars, its name alone reflected its top speed. 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 no less than 132mph with the hood and windscreen detached and an under-tray fitted.

The car was instantly in demand, taking Jaguar by surprise. The first 240 examples retained coachbuilt aluminium bodies before Pressed Steel hulls took over. The open two-seater model was joined by a fixed-head coupé version in 1951 and a drophead coupé followed in 1953. The XK120 lasted until 1954 before making way for its XK140 successor. It was to prove the most popular of the series, with 12,078 examples built, and of these 2484 were left-hand drive fixed-head coupés like that offered here.

Formerly in long-term ownership in the USA, this XK120 fixed-head coupé was imported from Wisconsin in 2018. Recent works have included fitting a new floor and sills, a repaint, and fitting a new battery and tyres. Described by the vendor as running well, the car is expected to possess a V5C Registration Certificate by time of sale.