1958 Jaguar XK 150
Year of manufacture1958
Number of seats2
1958 Jaguar XK150SE 3.4-Litre Coupé
Registration no. YTA 789
Chassis no. 824314
Engine no. V30938
What would turn out to be the final glorious incarnation of Jaguar's fabulous 'XK' series of sports cars arrived in 1957. As its nomenclature suggests, the XK150 was a progressive development of the XK120 and XK140, retaining the same basic chassis, 3.4-litre engine and four-speed Moss transmission of its predecessors while benefiting from a new, wider body that provided increased interior space and improved visibility courtesy of a single-piece wrap-around windscreen, replacing the XK140's divided screen. Cleverly, the new body used many XK120/140 pressings, the increased width being achieved by means of a 4"-wide central fillet. A higher front wing line and broader radiator grille were other obvious differences, but the new model's main talking point was its Dunlop disc brakes. Fade following repeated stops from high speed had been a problem of the earlier, drum-braked cars, but now the XK had stopping power to match its prodigious straight-line speed.
Introduced in the spring of 1957, the XK150 was available at first only in fixed and drophead coupé forms, the open roadster version not appearing until the following year. At 190bhp, the engine's maximum power output was identical to that of the XK140 so performance was little changed. 'Special Equipment' and 'S' versions came with 210 and 250bhp respectively. Overdrive and a Borg-Warner automatic gearbox were the transmission options, the latter becoming an increasingly popular choice, while a Thornton Powr-Lok limited-slip differential was available for the XK150S. Steel wheels remained the standard fitting, though XK150s so equipped are a great rarity, as most were sold in SE (Special Equipment) specification with centre-lock wire wheels. The much-admired chromed Jaguar mascot was made available as an optional extra on an XK for the first time.
'The Jaguar XK150 is undeniably one of the world's fastest and safest cars. It is quiet and exceptionally refined mechanically, docile and comfortable... we do not know of any more outstanding example of value for money,' declared The Autocar.
A sought after 'Special Equipment' model, this XK150 fixed-head coupé is one of only 1,205 right-hand drive models produced for the UK market. First owner Mr W E Daniel took delivery of the Jaguar in April 1958 and gifted it to his wife. By 1962 (at 13,291 miles) the Daniels' children had become too big to fit in the back so Mr Daniel bought his wife a somewhat roomier Ferrari 250 GTE. A copy picture showing the cars on his drive is in the history file. A personal friend of Mr Daniel, Stewart Blacker Morgan, then purchased the XK and kept the car until 1983, adding a further 21,000 miles to the total covered during his 21 years of ownership. Mr Morgan kept the Jaguar at his holiday home in the Lakes District, explaining in one of his logs that the poor visibility conferred by narrow lanes and stone walls, coupled with salted winter roads and 'clottish' motorists in the summer, had conspired to keep the mileage low.
Mr Morgan was obviously well connected, being acquainted with both noted racing driver Duncan Hamilton and Jaguar works team manager 'Lofty' England. Indeed when he retired in 1967, 'Lofty' kindly had the XK overhauled, including a re-bore and the installation of bigger E-Type brakes. The recorded mileage at that time was 31,118 and had risen to circa 34,000 when Mr Morgan sold the Jaguar to Nigel Whitehead in 1984. There is some interesting correspondence between owners two and three on file. They obviously got on well, as evidenced by their annual meetings with 'Lil' as the car was known by both on account of its colour (Lily White).
The XK was taken on several Continental tours by Mr Whitehead, who maintained it to the highest standard. During his ownership the car was stripped to bare metal and found to be in excellent condition under the original paint according to the restorers. It was repainted and the original interior reconditioned by Connolly Brothers, while the gearbox and brakes were overhauled at the same time. So well were these works undertaken that marque experts Straight Six stated in 1989: 'The condition of the car now is of the very highest order. Possibly because the car was such a good example prior to restoration, the car does not appear as a restored item. Rather as an original car in superb condition.'
Mr Whitehead's enjoyable ownership continued until 1995 when he sold the car to its next owner, who would keep it for the following 17 years. Its new custodian was a well known member of the Jaguar Drivers Club and lived in Kent. During his ownership all maintenance was carried out by marque specialists and the local main dealership.
Chris Evans purchased the XK circa 2012, since when it has been looked after by his in-house mechanic and is 'on the button' like all his cars. This very special XK150 comes with an extensive and fascinating history file.