1956 Jaguar XK 140
Year of manufacture1956
Number of seats2
Offered from the estate of the late Peter Phillips
1956 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupé
Registration no. WSJ 522
Chassis no. 807358
"For 1955, Jaguar present a range of models incorporating not only added refinements, but mechanical advances directly derived from their many outstanding successes in international competitive events. All the wealth of experience gained on the race-tracks of the world and in record-breaking speed and endurance tests is built into every Jaguar to provide for discriminating motorists the highest degree of efficient performance allied to comfort and safety." - Jaguar Cars Ltd.
Launched in 1954, the Jaguar XK140 was broadly similar to, though more refined than, its sensational XK120 predecessor, major engineering changes being confined to the repositioning of the engine 3" further forward and the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering as used on the racing C-Type. The suspension and brakes remained much as before, though with stiffer torsion bars at the front and telescopic shock absorbers replacing the previous lever type at the rear. Like its forbear, the XK140 was built in three model types: roadster, coupé and drophead coupé, the latter two offering usefully increased cabin space and occasional rear seats. Outwardly the newcomer was distinguishable by its revised radiator grille, rear lights incorporating flashing indicators, and larger bumpers - the latter adopted to withstand the cut and thrust of urban parking.
The power unit remained Jaguar's well-tried, 3.4-litre, twin-cam six, which now produced 190bhp in standard trim thanks to higher-lift camshafts and revised porting. To ensure reliability, steel bearing caps replaced the previous cast-iron type. A close-ratio gearbox enabled better use to be made of the increased performance while Laycock-de Normanville overdrive became an option for the first time. Special Equipment (SE) XK140s came with wire wheels and Lucas fog lamps, and could be ordered with an engine developing 210bhp courtesy of the 'C'-type cylinder head. XK140 performance was well up to the standards set by its exemplary predecessor, contemporary magazine road-tests regularly recording top speed figures in excess of 120mph.
Writing in Autosport, John Bolster had this to say: 'The Jaguar XK140 is a very high class machine that has more delightful qualities than almost any other car on the market. I have long ago given up wondering how they make them for the money; for sheer value there is nothing to compare with them in the high-performance field.'
One of only 479 right-hand drive XK140 drophead coupés made, this example was built in January 1956 and despatched to Geneva, Switzerland the following month. The accompanying JDHT Certificate shows that '807358' was originally finished in maroon with red trim and sand soft-top.
Peter Phillips purchased the XK from Mr & Mrs G Whitehouse of Worcestershire in February 2011, at which time it had covered only 17,000 miles since being restored in 2001 by marque specialists Twyford Moors Classic Cars. Extensively upgraded, the car incorporates the following modifications/additions:
Rebuilt engine and gas-flowed cylinder head by Sigma
2" SU carburettors
Front disc brakes with 4-pot callipers
Adjustable power steering
Adjustable Spax shock absorbers
Aluminium radiator and header tank
High efficiency Kenlowe fan
Dual-circuit hydraulic brakes and competition pedal box
Hydraulically operated diaphragm clutch
Lightened and balanced flywheel
High torque starter motor
High output alternator
123 electronic ignition
Up rated anti-roll bar
Stainless steel exhaust system
Brantz International 2S Pro Trip Meter
Upgraded heater and de-mister
Since its acquisition by Peter Phillips, the XK has been maintained by independent Jaguar specialists Thomas Barclay Ltd, as evidenced by numerous bills on file. A fast road/touring car capable of embarrassing many a more modern conveyance, 'WSJ 522' also comes with a V5C Registration Certificate and its service history for the period 2001 to 2011. Although not used for the last 18 months, it has nevertheless been started regularly and stored in a modern purpose-built car storage barn commissioned by Peter Phillips.