Jaguar unveiled the XK150 in 1957 as a heavily reworked and updated replacement for the XK140. By that time, the XK chassis was starting to show its age in the face of competition, but Jaguar was at least listening to their customer feedback and made a number of improvements to the handling, comfort and refinement of the XK. Most notably, the svelte and curvaceous body was redesigned with more slab sides, a wider, longer hood and a larger cockpit. The split windscreen gave way to a new one-piece curved ‘screen and all models, including the roadster offered proper roll-up windows. Of the three evolutions of the XK-series, the XK150 is far and away the roomies and most comfortable thanks to those thinner doors and longer cockpit. Initially, the 150 was a bit slower than the 140 thanks to the additional bulk from the new body. As with previous XK models, the 150 was available in three body styles: An Open Two Seat roadster, more luxurious open Drop Head Coupe (with a larger, lined roof) and the hardtop Fixed Head Coupe, which offered a pair of vestigial rear seats; an arrangement best suited for overnight bags rather than passengers.
In spite of the early criticisms, the XK150 was still a formidable performance car, and Jaguar quickly rectified the initial speed deficit with the addition of the 210 horsepower 3.4 liter Special Equipment option. Four wheel disc brakes which had been proven in competition on the C-Type and D-Type racers were also fitted and the XK140’s rack-and-pinion steering was tuned for even better feel. For buyers who wanted even more power than the SE had to offer, the ultimate “S” package included a trio of 2” bore S.U. HD8 carburetors and a straight-port cylinder head derived from the C-Type. Output was a full 250 horsepower, a number that proved highly effective at silencing the critics. The Motor tested one such 3.4-liter XK150S wearing fixed-head coupe bodywork, going on to declare it the fastest closed car they had ever subjected to a full road test.
The engineers and designers at Brown’s Lane continued to refine the XK breed through 1960 when focus was then shifted to the XK’s ground-breaking successor, the E-Type. The seductive lines of the XK120 and stonking performance of the ground-breaking E-Type can sometimes overshadow the XK150, but many enthusiasts know it to be one of the finest driving and best built of the breed.
This excellent 1960 XK150 S Fixed Head Coupe is a wonderful example of the final iteration of the legendary XK-series. This is a genuine, S-specification car with a numbers-matching drivetrain that was the subject of a comprehensive, highly-detailed, nut-and-bolt restoration approximately 10 years ago. It remains in beautiful condition today, having aged nicely with light use and regular maintenance. It is finished in the classic combination British Racing Green over tan leather. Green painted wire wheels shod with blackwall radial tires give a distinctive and decidedly sporting appearance. A former 99 point JCNA show car, paint quality is excellent and the panels are exceptionally straight with excellent fit and gaps. Like the paintwork, the chrome exterior trim remains in very good order since the restoration was completed. Correct original badges proudly proclaim Jaguar’s success at LeMans.
The interior is trimmed in correct materials and in factory correct colors, and it presents in attractive condition, remaining inviting and warm, showing just a the slightest bit of mellowing since the restoration. Tan Wilton carpets are in excellent order, properly fitted to original specification. For the XK150 coupe, Jaguar took a more sporting approach and eschewed the heavy walnut trim for the dash and door caps in favor of a simple leather trimmed fascia and door cards. Excellent restored Smiths instruments adorn the central panel and the original, factory correct switchgear all remain in excellent order.
The 3.4 liter version of the legendary XK twin-cam inline-six cylinder is a particularly sweet unit when matched with the trio of 2-inch S.U. carburetors and the high-flow head that makes up the “S” specification. Revvy and eager, it emits a glorious noise through the twin-exhausts. As with the rest of the car, the engine presents very well with proper fittings and hardware. The signature polished alloy cam covers and intake manifold are in beautiful order, and the cylinder head, ancillaries and underhood panels are all finished to correct factory standards. The engine is mated to a four-speed manual gearbox with optional electric overdrive, as original. Thanks to that four-speed overdrive unit, 250 horsepower output, and a roomy, comfortable cabin, this XK150 S is a staggeringly good grand touring car.
When this particular example was restored, it was done so with a careful eye toward JCNA judging sheets, and it proved its mettle with a 99-point score. Since its days as a hardcore show car, it has since been thoroughly enjoyed yet exceptionally well maintained. It remains a beautiful looker and completely showable, yet is ideally suited for enjoyment on the road. The XK150 S is the ultimate evolution of the XK-series and with its classic lines, refined quality and outstanding performance; is the preferred choice among driving enthusiasts.
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