1951 Jaguar XK 120
- Year of manufacture1951
- Car typeOther
- Lot number630
- Exterior colourOther
The XK-120 got its "120" title from a factory test before its launch of sale because of its ease to propel to 120mph. At the time the XK-120 was the fastest road going production model on sale in the world. Over 12,000 XK-120s were produced from 1948-54 and were offered in three different body styles including roadsters, fixed head and drop head versions.
This magnificent drop-head coupe styled by William Lyons owner of Jaguar was revolutionary and bold. His chief engineer, William Heynes, was tasked with designing the mechanical components. Its voluptuous curves and sleek interior made the XK-120 a huge hit for its grand unveiling at Earls Court in 1948. Popular amongst film stars, Clark Gable famously took ownership of the first XK-120 customer car to enter America - one of the early aluminium-bodied versions - after proclaiming he "wanted it like a child wants candy". Initially Lyons planned to make between 100 and 200 models. The first XK-120 models were clad in an aluminium body with an ash frame underneath. Huge demand determined the body to be mass produced using steel except the bonnet, boot and doors which remained aluminium.
Lyons straight- six engine drew the eye of those curious to its fully polished cam covers and beautiful layout. Lyons said "It doesn't cost more to make an engine look pretty". This high revving engine was used in production cars astonishingly until 1986, which shows the steadfast characteristics of the XK engine.
One of only 411 RHD cars made in 1951 this car comes equipped with the renowned 3.4 litre, inline-six cylinder engine, which produces 160bhp horsepower. Underneath the sculpture like cylinder head, lies a hemispherical combustion chambers, with domed cast-aluminium pistons and a compression ratio of 7.0:1. The air is feed to a pair of beautifully crafted side-draft SU carburettors. In this guise Jaguar promised 120-mph from the showroom.
This particular chassis was completed on 28 June 1951 and dispatched 11 July 1951 to Brookings, Perth. Sold to Mr. B. Wallace of Boyup Brook on 28 September 1951, this was an agricultural and farming area around 270 kms south of Perth. He had a letter published in the venerable English motoring magazine, 'The Motor', in December 1951 under the pseudonym "Woolgatherer" of Boyup Brook, WA. He described the car as, "All and more than I had hoped for". Having been an owner of several Bentleys previously and found the 7:1 compression as perfect for the low grade "pool" petrol (no pinking) and the 3.27 rear axle great for country touring. He also had a further letter published in the English Magazine, Autocar on 2 July 1954, in which he continued to extol the virtues of the car which by then had covered some 25,000 miles.
Acquired by our distinguished Australian car collector vendor, Mr Jim Byrnes, from a deceased estate in 2014 the car has all matching numbers and left the factory in a very desirable colour combination with a very rare optional white steering wheel. This Jaguar XK-120 has been lovingly kept in dry storage since 1978 after some use by the previous and second owner Jim E Byrne (no relation to our vendor).
This original matching numbers right hand drive Open Two Seater (as shown on the accompanying Heritage Certificate) is now in need of restoration and we are informed by the vendor that due to its long term dry storage there is no evidence of rot and is a sound throughout and complete. Jim Byrnes owner of 'Byrnes Motor Trust Restorations' owns probably the largest Jaguar restoration company in the world. Mr Byrnes states that from the 40 odd XK Jaguars they have in stock for restoration, that this car is so preserved and original it should be acquired by someone who will restore the car to its former glory and retain it for an extended period as a unique example of the breed.
Currently registered in Australia, it is offered with UK Customs and Duties paid. Overseas buyers are invited to satisfy themselves regarding import taxes according to the final destination of the vehicle.