The sensational XK120 first appeared at the 1948 London Motor Show, intended strictly as a show car and styling exercise to highlight Jaguar’s fabulous new XK twin cam engine. But response to the car was so positive that it took little persuasion to convince Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons to put the car into production. Thankfully, the production car lost none of the impact of the original show car when it hit the market. The earliest production cars were built with alloy bodies, later changing to more cost effective and durable steel construction. With its luscious curves and incredible performance from the 3.4 liter inline six, it quickly garnered world-wide praise. The very first customer-delivered XK120 went to none other than Clark Gable, a man known for his impeccable taste in beautiful cars.
Mechanically, the XK120 featured independent front suspension sprung by torsion bars, with a Salisbury limited-slip live rear axle riding on leaf springs out back. Large four wheel drum brakes were adequate, though prone to fading when pushed too hard. But the star of the show was the engine. The iron block, alloy head “XK” twin cam six was good for 160 horsepower in standard form, and upwards of 210hp in later models and certainly more on the race track. The “120” part of the XK120 name came courtesy of the top speed it reached on a pre-production test, making it the fastest production road car of its day. The XK120 earned its legendary status thanks to incredible performance and sexy good looks, creating one of the most iconic sports cars of all time.
This 1954 XK120 OTS roadster is a beautiful example of Coventry’s ground breaking sports car. Beautiful red paint is accented by a very pretty black leather interior. It has been comprehensively restored to a high standard, with just a fewtasteful upgrades made along the way. The paint work is very attractive with deep gloss and good panel gaps. Chrome trim and body fittings are in excellent order. A set of 16” chrome wire wheels and blackwall radial tires add a further touch of flash to the exterior, complementing the gorgeous red paint. Inside, black leather and black carpets are in very nice order all around. During the restoration, the original vinyl covered dash was updated to a beautifully finished wood panel, in the style of the XK120 fixed head coupe. Capping off the dash is with a matching wood rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel. Besides the classic good looks, the Moto-Lita wheel has a slightly smaller diameter than the original, which allows for a bit more leg room and driver comfort as well as a sharpened steering feel at speed.
Under the hood, the XK engine is very well detailed, with all-important matching numbers on the head and block, and it has been upgraded to an aluminum radiator. The clean and tidy theme continues on the undercarriage, with everything looking great and well detailed. While it may not be concours correct throughout, it is still a car that would show very well at an all-British event, Jaguar Club event or local show. This is a car that has been restored to drive, and would make a fantastic choice for rallies and events. Thanks to that glorious inline-six up front and its well sorted nature, it will surely deliver plenty of pleasurable miles in the future.
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