1954 Jaguar XK 120
- Year of manufacture1954
- Mileage33 992 mi / 54 705 km
- Car typeOther
- Engine numberF4016-8S
- Interior colourOther
- Exterior colourWhite
Genuinely Undisturbed Example with Just 34,000 Miles Indicated, and Retaining Largely Original Interior. Structurally Impeccable and Beautifully Presented. Believed to Have Been a Pebble Beach Award Winner.
1954 Jaguar XK 120
Chassis No. S676289 Engine No. F4016-8S
White with Grey Leather Interior
It’s hard to imagine the enthusiasm that greeted Jaguar when, in 1948, they revealed the XK 120 to the British public and eventually the world. Even for demure Brits, emerging from economic austerity following World War II, the XK120 caused quite a stir. The shockingly beautiful and newly conceived XK 120 was nothing short of an earth-shattering revelation. The elegant and avant-garde XK 120 not only boosted morale among the weary UK population, it demonstrated to the world that Britain had both the technical capacity and design excellence to deliver a sensual and emotionally engaging car.
Although originally intended to be a concept car showcasing Jaguars’ remarkable new twin-cam inline-6 cylinder engine, the breathtaking styling and genuine 120 mph performance, coupled with an affordable price, captured the imagination of the world. In short order, the largely hand-built aluminum-bodied car was rushed into limited production as orders came flooding in. With time and delivery pressures growing, Jaguar immediately realized they needed to reengineer the car for mass production and quickly develop steel body tooling capable of producing thousands of cars. This effort not only improved output, it allowed Jaguar to expand their market share exporting to North America and other parts of the world.
The car’s heart was, of course, the fabulous XK engine. Conceived in wartime, the 3.4 litre “six” embodied the best of modern design, boasting twin overhead camshafts in an aluminum-alloy cylinder head, and seven main bearings, all of which produced a maximum output of 160bhp. When installed in the lightweight XK120, the result was a car with a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio and blistering performance. Any doubts about the “120”, name inspired by the car’s top speed, were swiftly banished when a standard XK120 achieved a top speed of 126.4 mph with hood and side screens erected and 132.6 mph minus its weather protection and equipped with an under tray and solid roof. The XK120 set new standards of comfort, road holding and performance for British sports cars. Without exception, there was simply nothing that could exceed the performance or compete against the remarkably affordable price.
This particular XK120 is a truly undisturbed matching numbers example, presented in white with subtle grey leather interior and tan convertible top. The car is reportedly credited with having won its class at the illustrious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the late 70s or early 80s. This is very likely as the car presents today as a remarkably unrestored example with largely original interior, and what appears to have been a single repaint and only thoughtful freshening as needed. With a delightfully honest presence and welcome patina in select areas, this Jaguar presents with confidence and grace, and has the road feel of a very low mileage example.
Today, this elegant and sporting XK120 roadster displays clean lines, authentic construction, cosmetic fidelity, and honest finishes throughout. The subtle white and grey color combination is contrasted by matching white wire wheels, conveying a sporting look. The paint is glossy throughout with only minor areas of road use and some minor finish aging evident under close examination. The body is in exceptionally good condition showing excellent panel gaps, excellent door fit, and controlled reflection lines draping over the fender line. Having passed from the long-term owner (grandfather) to the current owner (grandson), supporting documentation has yet to emerge confirming the 34,000 miles shown on the odometer. However, visual inspection, particularly that of the original interior and the excellent hinges, does support the mileage indicated. The hood, doors, and trunk open and shut smoothly and latch properly. Lifting the hood, the cowl reveals the ivory color, very likely being the original paint. The chrome is in good condition overall with good luster, but with some aging present on the bumpers. The headlight trim, and period correct headlamps are in overall good condition. Emblems, and minor trim including the windscreen and delicate wind-wings are all in good condition, but have settled over time as one might expect from what appear to be unrestored factory finishes. The tan convertible top fits properly, holding the factory correct position and folding easily into the storage area behind the seats. Materials are very good overall, appearing to have been recently replaced. Correctly sized black wall tires are mounted on wire wheels painted to match the body, accented by chrome plated dual-eared knockoffs.
The grey leather interior is reflective of what appears to be original, unrestored materials with the exception of the carpets. Time and pleasurable use have settled these materials into a comforting patina while still offering great visual appeal. There is a great deal of joy driving the car as originally intended, nestled into the inviting cockpit. The leather seats have gently succumbed to use, favoring the driver’s side with just a bit more contour dipped into the seat bottom cushion. The carpeting has faded and some materials are no longer perfectly matching in color, but the material itself still remains remarkably sound and reflective of original construction. The dash and instrumentation are in very good condition showing good numeric indication, correct needles, and only lightly faded dial faces. The steering wheel, switches, gearshift lever, and emergency brake handle are all in very good condition. The trunk is very much in keeping with the interior condition displaying a very tidy spare tire storage compartment, tools, hammer, jack, and what appears to be the original ivory paint inside the trunk area.
Under the hood, the matching numbers dual-overhead camshaft engine still shows properly maintained finishes and correct components. The engine retains both the original head and the factory block. The finishes have mellowed in the engine compartment, but the components are consistent with some details having been tended to or freshened as needed. Overall the polished aluminum castings are nicely hued, while the engine components and compartment area is properly detailed using correct factory hardware, wires, and fasteners. The undercarriage remains tidy and clean with no evidence of structural damage or compromise to the floors, structural elements, or suspension components. Once again the underside is reflective of the integrity and confidence this low mile example conveys as a properly composed original.
The car starts easily and settles into a smooth idle. There is minor oil smoke upon first start, but once warmed to operating temperature, the driving experience is quite relaxed with the engine functioning smoothly and the gearbox quietly agreeing with each up-shift. The clutch takes up properly, oil pressure is good, the system charges as expected. Driving manners are pleasant with good acceleration, easy handling, and typical braking. The open coachwork, low seating position, and original interior truly contribute to a wonderful driving experience in this XK 120 roadster. Much of the pleasure of owning a car like this is the ease and joy of using it as intended just as thoughtful previous owners have done over the past seven decades.
The car comes with a pair of Marchal driving lamps with mounting posts, a set of side curtains, an older (possibly original) full cockpit tonneau cover, a newer full cockpit tonneau cover, a car cover, a correct, complete tool kit (also possibly original), factory jack, and a few miscellaneous spare parts.
This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a very handsome and properly preserved Jaguar XK120 roadster that has spent the last 48 years in California. As one of the most beautifully designed cars of the 20th century, this roadster offers both exquisite design and engaging motoring. Finished in attractive colors, this remarkably maintained low mileage car offers the next owner a rare engagement with history, vintage charm, and the pleasure of owning and driving one of the most iconic sports cars ever built.