1953 Jaguar XK 120SE Roadster
Year of manufacture1953
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' St. Moritz event, 17 September 2021.
CHF170,000 - CHF190,000
- Highly desirable “SE” specification
- Finished in silver with a red interior
- Matching-numbers engine block and chassis
- Participated in the Mille Miglia Storica, Tour Auto, Targa Florio, Le Mans Classic, and Gstaad Classic
- Presented with MSA FIA Historical Technical Passport and JDHT Production Record Trace Certificate
As the planned new saloon body was not ready for the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, contemporary Jaguar management decided that the new XK engine would instead be launched in a roadster, the XK 120. Boasting a 3.4-litre, twin-cam inline-six cylinder engine that made for 160 bhp, the XK 120 could allegedly reach a top speed of 120 mph, making it the fastest production car at the time. In June 1952, the XK 120 could be specified in SE configuration, which produced 180 horsepower when fitted with a C-Type cylinder head. Additionally, it featured wire wheels, upgraded suspension and a dual exhaust.
This XK 120 SE Roadster left the factory finished in Cream with a White and Red interior and Fawn hood on 12 November 1953. It was dispatched to the noted American distributor, Max Hoffman, on 19 November 1953. Mated to the 3.4-litre engine was a four-speed manual gearbox. The engine was numbered F1058-8S, the “8” denotes an 8:1 compression ratio and the “S”, that a C-Type cylinder head was fitted.
Today, this 1953 Jaguar XK 120 SE presents nicely in silver over red, having benefited from a restoration in years past. The current owner had this car set up for classic racing, with invoices totalling over £64,000 from CKL Developments Ltd and M&C Wilkinson. The hood and front bumper were removed, twin Brooklands aero screens were fitted, a driver sideview mirror added, as was a removable roll bar, headlamp stone guards, and leather bonnet strap. Further racing modifications include an alloy radiator, 3.77:1 ratio limited slip differential, Öhlins dampers, battery kill switch and a fire suppression system. Fuel is delivered to the carburettors via a foam-filled alloy fuel tank featuring an “Aston”-style filler cap. The car rides on colour-matched knock-off wire wheels and features blank roundels throughout, awaiting the next owner’s desired racing number to be applied.
The interior was retrimmed, and now features red upholstery and red carpets. The seats are upholstered to match the interior, but are designed for modern racing and are equipped with safety harnesses. It features Smiths instrumentation and a dash-mounted rear-view mirror. This Jaguar’s engine block is numbers matching, however, the car’s original C-Type cylinder head has been replaced. The current gearbox is a Moss model JL, with model JH internals. It was rebuilt by CKL, in October 2012, at a cost of £4,676.
This XK 120 SE is a steel bodied car, with the steel doors and bonnet replaced with alloy equivalents, the engine was rebuilt by CKL in 2013. CKL and M&C Wilkinson prepared this XK 120 SE for racing, hill climbs and FIA approval. This XK 120 SE is presented with its JDHT Certificate, select invoices, MSA FIA Historical Technical Passport. The Jaguar has participated in events such as the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Targa Florio, Gstaad Classic and 2014 Le Mans Classic. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/sm21.