Classic, Exotic, and Performance Vehicles

1954 Jaguar XK120 OTS


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This 1954 Jaguar XK120 represents one of the world’s all-time great sports cars.  When introduced in 1949, the XK120 shook the world with its stunning lines and tremendous performance.  With a top speed of 120 mph (thus the name) it was the fastest production car of its day and propelled Jaguar to top of the motorsports food chain.  Today, nearly 70 years later, this timeless design remains a thing of beauty and delivers a splendid driving experience.

This OTS roadster was purchased by its last owner in 1981 (as shown on the title).  It was in rough shape and in need of a total restoration.  A comprehensive, multi-year effort commenced involving several specialty shops and countless hours of the owner’s labor.  Every part was removed, reconditioned, or replaced.  A donor car was purchased as well.  All mechanical systems were rebuilt, hides were cut for the interior, new wiring was installed, and so much more.  Note the car is titled by its engine number which can be seen on both the block and the head.  This also matches the information plate, though the chassis and body numbers do not.

The finished product was well worth the effort.  The car received a first-in-class at its inaugural concours event in 1987.  It followed this up with many other awards and accolades, and was reportedly a favorite of designer Brooks Stevens at his shows.  It was also used for the XK120 entry in the Great Book Of Sports Cars (included).  Many judging sheets come with the car including those from its last formal showing in 2017.

Today the car remains a real gem.  The design absolutely flows from that gorgeous front grille to the distinct taillights.  The paint retains a great shine though there are some fine scratches and a few very small chips.  All the brightwork looks terrific including the bumpers and wheel trim rings.  The folding / removeable soft top frame and material are also excellent.  Between the top and the wheel spats, this XK120 can have several dramatically different looks. 

The engine is Jaguar’s 3.4L I6 rated at 160 hp.  This revolutionary XK platform was also introduced in 1949.  With an aluminum alloy cylinder head and dual overhead camshafts it was decades ahead of the competition; how long did it take for Detroit to adopt such technology?  The basic design remained in Jaguars through 1987 which is a real testament to its engineering.  This car’s dual SU carburetors and exhaust manifolds look great under the hood, but the real pleasure is all that great noise as you accelerate through the 4-speed Moss gearbox.  There is a full dual exhaust system as well.

The black interior received all new leather at restoration.  This was not ordered from some catalog, but rather was cut from hides using an original interior as a pattern.  Everything is in remarkable condition; you would never imagine the restoration was 40 years ago.  All the Smiths gauges work properly though the tachometer needs a little thump to start turning.  The lights, horn, heater, turn signals, and parking brake all work as well, though the windshield wipers do not.  There is a folding convertible top with side curtains along with a brown leather cockpit cover with zipper. Finally, there are a proper tool kit and service manuals as shown.

After having sat idle for a few years, this Jaguar has recently been returned to service.  The brakes received a new master cylinder and several wheel cylinders, and were properly bled.  The rear suspension received new bushings.  The valve cover gaskets, oil gauge line, and unique 6V batteries were all replaced.  The carburetors were also serviced.  Note the car does have a few minor leaks, and the Dunlop 6.00H16 tires and tubes are quite old; we can assist the next owner with replacement using their choice of brand and construction.

The XK120 is from a golden era of automobiles, when sports cars really started to make their mark as society recovered from WW2.  This attractive example has a lot to offer.  The older restoration has held up well, still showing off those sumptuous lines while offering a delightful ride.  It is what old Jaguars are all about.



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