1954 Jaguar XK 120SE period racer
Year of manufacture1954
Mileage120 km / 75 mi
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Number of doors2
Number of seats2
Performance210 BHP / 213 PS / 157 kW
1954 Freshly resotred concours condition, fully matching Jaguar XK 120 OTS, chassis no. S675158 a Special Equipment (M version for US) and a dealer option. The “standard” XK 120 Open Two Seater was a fast car for its time, and the 3.4 SE was already the sports option of the XK 120. A further option was the XK 120 3.4 SE modified by agent/dealer with C-Type Head and larger SU H8 carbs. This way, the car presented 210 hp at 5750 rpm instead of standard 160 hp at 5000 rpm.
The car was first delivered to US distributor Hornburg, LA, USA and on 7 April 1954 sold to Dennis L Sullivan. The car was found in the USA with an old California plate and an original vintage SCCA sticker. It is a matching numbers Car with engine number F2380-8S and body no. F7433 and was stored in Northern California for over 30 years, complete with all its parts but in need of complete restoration that took almost three years. The car was imported to EU for renovation in 2017 and completely disassembled and taken to the bare metal then carefully rebuilt, piece by piece, to perfection in a factory cream with red leather interiors. The car is painted and restored in the same original colour-interiors combination. The car with the racing C-Type head bearing the number G1827-8 fitted with the 2″ SU H8 carbs and original roll bar. The 16″ wire wheels feature knock-off hubs and are wrapped in brand new Vredestein Sprint Classic tires. A spare rim is mounted beneath the trunk floor. A car that is the best of both worlds, as a refined tourer and a long-distance sports car, ready for the main re-enactment races, like the Mille Miglia, or the main Concourse d’Elegance. State of the art complete and documented restoration of body, interiors and mechanical parts with a detailed photobook. Matching numbers car supplied with Jaguar Heritage Trust production record trace certificate number 49290 and is present on the 1000Miglia Registo.
The car’s racing history
The first owner was Dennis LeRoy Sullivan and the LA distributor confirmed that the car came into California in 1954. Dennis Sullivan was a member of SCCA and raced an XK-120 at Cotati (3 times), Laguna Seca and Arcata in 1957 and Tracy in 1958. He raced under the name of Dennis L. Sullivan.
The race at Laguna Seca in 1957, it was the very first race at that track. Interestingly enough, the race was officially called the “8th Annual Pebble Beach at Laguna Seca National Championship” as The Pebble Beach National Championship Races underwent a change fans and car lovers pulled together the resources to hold and fund the annual Pebble Beach racing just in time for this 8th annual race. The original period program documenting the race is included. Interesting to note Sullivan raced at the opening weekend of Laguna Seca Raceway on 9th of November 1957. These were the very first races at this brand new racetrack where the Monterey Historic and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has been held since 1974.
Following a San Francisco Region magazine, The Wheel and the National SCCA magazine below is a list of races Mr Saulivan participated in with this XK 120 M-Type.
Venue Date Number/ car Result
Stockton March 1957 7th Race #114 XK-120 10th C production
Cotati Raceway May1957 5th Race #3 XK-120 Not in top three
Cotati Raceway Aug 1957 4th Race #145 XK-120M 2nd overall, 1st in class C
Arcata Airport Aug 31 1957 4th Race #19 XK-120M 1st overall, 1st class C
Sep 1 1957 6th Race #19 XK-120M 10th overall, 1st class C
Laguna Seca Nov 1957 2nd Race #19 XK-120 3rd C production
Stockton March 1958 5th Race #19 XK-120 Not Available
Tracey Airport May 1958 5th Race #19 XK-120 3rd C Production
Laguna Seca June 14, 1958 3rd Race #19 XK-120 NA
June 15, 1958 7th Race #19 XK-120 NA
Between 1948 and 1954, Jaguar manufactured the XK 120. It was Jaguar's first postwar sports car, launched in open two-seater form at the 1948 London Motor Show, as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The car caused a sensation, persuading Jaguar founder and chairman William Lyons to put it into production. The first cars had open 2-seater bodies entirely built with aluminium panels supported by a steel frame (doors and rear bonnet had internal wooden frames, also used on following versions with steel bodywork, which kept the aluminium doors and rear bonnet). Production switched to heavier all-steel in early 1950. The "120" in the name referred to the aluminium car's 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed, which made it the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch. For serious racers, the factory also offered brookland racing windshields (as fitted in this example), a rear view cowling, and fog lights. XK120Ms soon lined up on racetracks through Europe including the most legendary races such as LeMans and the Mille Miglia.
In 1952, the Jaguar Factory took 56 examples off the production line and built models modified for racing, designating them “M” for the US. The factory “Modified,” cars included a competition engine with an original racing high lift camshaft, short crankshaft damper, factory lightened flywheel, competition springs, spoke wheels with splined hub and central nuts, stiffer anti roll bars, stiffer springs and rally fogs lights. Later in 1952 to this M package was designated SE or “Special Equipment” in Europe and was fitted to approximately 10-15% of cars produced according to Service Bulletin #95 dated June 1951. The XK 120 3.4 SE had more racing parts available through agents/dealers beginning in 1953 according to Service Bulletin #95A dated April 1953, like the C-type head that is fitted on this example.
The XK 120s were highly successful in racing. The first victory came in August 1949 at Silverstone. In 1950, three XK 120s entered the Le Mans 24 Hours race. One car was also registered at the Targa Florio, with Biondetti. At the Mille, Miglia Johnson ranked 5th with John Lea, while Biondetti and Bronzoni finished 8th. A fifth place was an outstanding achievement for a production car. The Jaguar was beaten only by official Alfa Romeo cars of Fangio, the Ferraris of Serafini, Bracco and winner Marzotto. It was Jaguar's best-ever finish in the Mille Miglia and the best by a British car and British driver combination. The racing career of XK 120 continued, after that, all over the world. In America, an XK 120 FHC was the first imported car to achieve a victory in NASCAR in 1954. Foreign-made cars were banned from this series after this race. Proving the versatility and toughness of the new Jaguar; XK120s finished 1, 2 and 3 at the first ever sport car race held at Pikes Peak in 1953.
12.045 specimens of XK 120 have been built. Of them, only 2477 were OTS/LHD and considerably less circa 250 the M SE (M) version cars.
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