1952 Jaguar XK 120


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  • This 1952 Roadster was imported from Southern California just two years ago. Since been through a complete restoration, fully documented with photographs
  • Converted to right-hand drive, brand new steering-box components and original right-hand drive controls
  • Upgrades include disc brakes, front and rear, a new servo and a bespoke Aluminium radiator
  • More powerful 3.4-litre XK150 engine fitted, now fully rebuilt
  • Bias towards the racing heritage with the addition of a Le Mans fuel filler, leather bonnet strap, period spotlights and the deletion of the front bumper blades
  • Completely new interior, in red with leather-trimmed bucket seats
  • "The engine pulls strongly, is silky smooth with no flat-spots, and starts on the button every time whether hot or cold."
  • Fabulous restoration of a Jaguar Classic that bears a striking resemblance to NUB 120, the world's most famous XK Jaguar

A car-starved Britain, still trundling around in perpendicular pre-war hangover vehicles, glimpsed the future in October 1948 with the launch of the Jaguar XK120 at the Earls Court Motor Show. Production commenced in 1949 in Coventry, and the XK's swoopy shape and stylish occupants would become a common sight on British roads over the next 15 years. It heralded the arrival of Jaguar's famous 3.4-litre twin overhead camshaft XK engine, (the basis of all their engines for the next 25 years) with an alloy cylinder head and twin side-draught SU carburettors producing nearly 160bhp. Conceived during the war, the new six-cylinder was created by Jaguar’s chief engineer Bill Heynes and engine wizard Harry Weslake. As the firm tested various designs (labelled X for experimental and tagged G, H or J), it was a compact twin-cam four labelled ‘K’ that stood out. With two more cylinders added taking it to 3.4 litres, it became the engine that would power generations of sporting Jaguars for several decades starting with the XK120

The “120” referred to the car's top speed which, at the time, made it the fastest production car in the world. Jaguar seems to have always had a flair for marketing and to illustrate that the car's top speed was not a figment of a publicist's imagination, in May 1949, on the Jabbeke to Aeltre autoroute, an XK120 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 undertray fitted.

However, the most famous XK120 is undoubtedly Ian Appleyard's legendary 'NUB 120'. He was a director of the family car dealership, Appleyards of Leeds, and a talented rally driver. Using his alloy-bodied, privately-entered 120 and accompanied by his wife, Pat Lyons, daughter of Jaguar founder William Lyons, they enjoyed great results at International level in the Tulip Rally, RAC and Monte Carlo, however, it was their success in the Alpine Rally, finishing unpenalised three times in a row from 1950 to 1952, and becoming the first driver to win the coveted Coupe d’Or (Gold Cup), that’s most feted. Jaguar, of course, missed no opportunity to market the XK120’s success everywhere, Pathé newsreels, Sunday papers, billboards, the sides of London buses “The fastest Production Sports Car in the World”, motoring magazines, simply everywhere