1954 Jaguar XK 120SE Roadster
- Year of manufacture1954
- Car typeOther
- Lot number120
- Exterior colourOther
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' Arizona event, 22 January 2021.
$160,000 - $200,000
- Highly desirable “SE” specification
- Pastel Blue with blue hood over red interior
- Comprehensively restored with a close attention to accuracy
- Accompanied by tools, tire pump, restoration documentation, and JDHT certificate
Given the Jaguar XK 120’s status as a true automotive icon, it is surprising to many that the model was originally conceived and born as a limited-edition stopgap model. William Lyons assumed that the post-WWII fortune of his company, the recently re-named Jaguar Cars Ltd., would be made on saloon cars that would sell in export markets, especially the United States. To that end, the new dual-overhead-cam, six-cylinder, 160-horsepower XK engine was developed to power a new line of sports luxury four-door sedans. As the new car was not yet ready for the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, it was decided that the engine would be launched in a limited-run roadster before becoming a regular offering. That roadster, of course, was to be known as the XK 120—so named for its top speed of 120 mph.
After proving itself on race and endurance courses around the world, the XK engine would become the mainstay of all future Jaguar products over the next six decades. The 160 horsepower 3.4 liter, inline-six-cylinder engine was standard for the XK 120; also available was the 180-horsepower XK 120 SE (“Special Equipment”) specification. In addition to a C-Type cylinder head, the SE was fitted with wire wheels, upgraded suspension, and dual exhaust. Offered here for sale is one of these highly desirable Special Equipment roadsters.
Completed on 9 December 1953, this example has since been fully restored, to excellent standards, with a special focus on originality and attention to detail. Work started with an acid bath to take the car to bare metal before refinishing in a lustrous Pastel Blue with matching blue hood and tonneau cover. The same attention has been paid to rebuilding the original engine, four-speed gearbox, differential and suspension components. Proper date-coded electrical equipment, including the optional Lucas fog lamps and fender mirrors augments the exterior, while the body color painted Dayton wires are wrapped in blackwall tires. An original, restored Dunlop wire wheel is included as a spare.
In the cockpit, the red Connolly leather interior and Wilton carpets are complemented by Smiths instruments to complete this Jaguar’s classic look. It is also equipped with a beautiful four-spoke wood wheel and wood instrument panel for a great personal touch. The car features the correct and proper Smiths heater, the Trico washer bottle and bracket, and cloth-covered wire loom. It has upgraded torsion bars, leather gaiters, and brass-lined brake cylinders. Inside and out, no expense was spared during the restoration to preserve originality, down to the original fasteners being re-plated and reused wherever possible.
It is accompanied by a restoration photo book, restoration invoices, tools, tire pump, a Jaguar Operating & Service Handbook, and its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate.
Please note that upon further inspection it has been determined that this car is not a numbers-matching example. It has been fitted with replacement engine block that has been stamped to match the original number and the cylinder head is likewise not the original and has been re-stamped to match.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az21.