1953 Jaguar XK 120Roadster
Year of manufacture1953
Designed and constructed in but a few months, the Jaguar XK 120 debuted at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show where the stunning roadster caused a sensation. The resulting demand for what was then the world’s fastest production car took Jaguar by surprise. It was immediately obvious that the slow-to-produce alloy bodywork would have to go, and the car was swiftly re-engineered in steel. The work of Jaguar chief William Lyons himself, the XK 120 is widely considered one of the most beautiful shapes ever to grace an automobile. Amazingly, the body was originally conceived as a coach-built aluminum structure for the simple reason that Jaguar expected to sell no more than 200 examples in the first year!
At the center of the XK 120 was, of course, the fabulous XK engine, the 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder embodying the best of modern design. The engine boasted twin overhead camshafts running in an aluminum-alloy cylinder head, seven main bearings, and a maximum output of 160 bhp. The XK 120 was a genuine 120-mph car capable of sustained high-speed cruising. The XK 120 set new standards for comfort, road-holding, and performance for British sports cars. In keeping with the Jaguar tradition, there was simply nothing that could touch it for the price.
This XK 120 roadster was completed on 17 June 1953 and delivered to North America through the legendary Max Hoffman Jaguar distributors in New York City. The car remains today in highly original condition having never been fully restored, including the two-tone red and cream leather interior. It is powered by its numbers-matching engine backed by a four-speed manual transmission. A black convertible top is included along with removable side curtains, spare wheel and tire, and an original jack and spanner. Well-presented and full of old-world character and charm, this XK 120 is a delight to admire and an absolute pleasure to drive.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am19.