1960 Jaguar XK 150
Year of manufacture1960
1960 Jaguar XK150S 3.8-Litre Coupé
Registration no. 5546 PX
Chassis no. T825215DN
"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." - The Autocar.
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, the latter delivering an astonishing 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. This was achieved by the introduction of the Weslake-developed 'straight-port' cylinder head, high-compression pistons, triple 2" SU carburettors and twin electric fuel pumps.
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 XK150 'S'. 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.
In the autumn of 1959 the XK150 became available with the 3.8-litre engine first seen in the Mark IX saloon. 'Standard' (220bhp) or 'S' (265bhp) states of tune were offered (the latter featuring overdrive as standard) and in either form the XK150's increased weight was more than offset by the power of the larger engine, the car regularly recording in excess of 130mph in magazine road tests. The 3.8-litre 'S' is one of the rarest of the family with only 282 built out of a total XK150 production of 9,396 cars, of which 115 were right-hand drive fixed-head coupés like this example.
Representing the XK150 in its ultimate configuration, with the 3.8-litre engine and overdrive gearbox, this rare 'S' fixed-head coupé was manufactured on 13th April 1960 finished in Carmen Red with matching interior trim, the same combination it has today. Most importantly the vendor confirms the numbers on the car match the heritage certificate in the cars file.
The earliest record on file is an old-style continuation logbook (issued 1964) listing five owners, the last of whom, George Harold Day, acquired the Jaguar in March 1967 and appears to have kept it until 1981. The next owner was Peter Robert Thorpe (Mr Day's son-in-law) who sold it to John Vernon circa 1982. There are bills on file from marque specialists Automotive Engineering Developments and University Motors for various works carried out during Mr Vernon's ownership.
Its next owner, Michael Sargent, bought the XK from John Vernon in October 1985 and carried out an in-depth restoration over an eight-year period (photographs on file). Mr Sargent kept the car from some 27 years before selling it to the current vendor in February 2012 (receipt on file). Bills on file detail extensive restoration works carried out by marque specialists Twyford Moors in 2013. Works carried out include a re-spray; re-chroming of brightwork; fitting new chrome wheels and tyres; re-coating all front suspension; installing up-rated rear springs; overhauling the carburettors; replacing the front wheel bearings and stub-axles; and reworking the cylinder head and valves, the latter being done by Sigma Engineering. Noteworthy upgrades include an alternator, twin ignition coils, and a 123 electronic distributor (the original dynamo and coil will be supplied with the caravailable).
A much loved Motor Car, '5546 PX' has taken part in a variety of rallies and motor sport events, including Prescott, as well as track days at Goodwood. A new motor sport project is the only reason it is offered for sale. Described by the private vendor as in very good condition throughout, '5546 PX' represents a wonderful opportunity for the serious Jaguar collector to own a rare example of one of the most powerful limited-production XKs manufactured by Jaguar Cars.