Jaguar’s legendary XK sports cars established the Coventry firm’s reputation in North America as a premier builder of luxurious sporting cars that were equally at home on the race track as on the boulevard. These sumptuously styled sports cars and saloons with race-bred pedigree were special enough to be highly desirable by wealthy enthusiasts, yet were built on a scale that allowed them to dramatically undercut their competition on price. Built over three generations, the XK 120, XK 140 and XK 150 evolved with each subsequent model gaining improvements in comfort and refinement over the last. The XK 150 marked the most significant changes of all over its predecessors. In mechanical terms, it was nearly identical to the XK 140 it replaced, but it wore an all new body that still reflected the spirit of earlier cars, but was modernized and reshaped to improve cockpit comfort and changing tastes among buyers. In addition, the XK 150 featured an adaptation of the legendary C-Type’s four-wheel Dunlop disc brake system, proven at Le Mans and on other race tracks around the world. Jaguar was rightfully proud of their Le Mans successes which they proudly displayed on a boot lid badge. Along with the 120 and 140 before it, the XK 150 was offered in three body styles: Fixed-Head Coupe, Open-Two-Seater (roadster) and Drophead Coupe. The drophead differed from the OTS as it had a larger, fully lined convertible top and the more luxurious trim adapted from the fixed-head coupe. The drophead is the second rarest of the body styles, with only 2,672 built, versus 4,445 coupes.
This 1960 Jaguar XK 150 3.8 S.E. Drophead Coupe is an attractive example that has been very nicely restored and is ready for the road. As a drophead, it is more luxuriously trimmed than the sparse roadster, yet still allows for top down, wind-in-the-hair motoring enjoyment with the benefit of a fully lined soft top and roomy cockpit. This is a very well-optioned car from new, featuring the highly desirable 3.8 liter engine and Special Equipment package. The S.E. package includes the special B-Type cylinder head, twin S.U. HD6 carburetors, dual exhaust, windscreen washers and knock-off wire wheels. This car is also equipped with the very rare Borg Warner automatic transmission, one of fewer than 100 XK 150 dropheads so equipped; transforming this car into a relaxed, high-speed grand tourer.
The presentation of this XK is quite sharp, with excellent bright red paint on very straight panels. Body alignment is also very good, with consistent gaps as well as doors and deck lids that shut with satisfying solidity, even the notoriously tricky to adjust bootlid closes with the lightest touch; a good indicator of a sound, properly fettled XK. Like the XK 140 before it, the XK 150 features full width bumpers and simple chrome trim, such as a thin strip on the bonnet that repeats on the bootlid, and of course that badge proudly boasting of Jaguar’s 5 victories at Le Mans. The brightwork on this car presents in very good condition, with nice straight bumpers and trim pieces, with just a bit of minor pitting visible on the headlight rings. Overall, this is a very pretty example that is ready for regular enjoyment yet entirely suitable for casual show.
The interior is trimmed in good quality tan leather, accented with medium brown carpeting. Upholstery condition is very good, showing little wear and only light creasing from use. The XK 150 Drophead features a pair of vestigial rear seats which are perhaps best reserved for kids, or a single willing adult on a very short trip. Though additional luggage stowage is probably the best use, given this XK 150 would make a wonderful touring car for weekend getaways. The original steering wheel remains in place, and the dash is in excellent condition, which, in a departure for Jaguar’s Dropheads, eschews wood trim in favor of textured vinyl. All materials used on the dash, door panels and in the boot is correct and as original. Borg-Warner equipped cars such as this feature a unique horizontal gear selector, with a Perspex indicator that remains in good order on this car.
Under the bonnet, the 220 horsepower, 3.8 liter XK twin-cam inline six presents in lovely condition. The signature alloy cam covers and manifolds have recently been polished and the exhaust manifolds are in excellent condition with correct porcelain coating as original. An electric fan is a welcome and useful upgrade, particularly for a car that is so well suited to regular use. The engine retains the original, numbers matching cylinder head while a replacement, correct-type 3.8 liter block has been fitted. The engine runs strong, and the car is an enjoyable, relaxed driver with excellent road manners. The undercarriage is clean and tidy, showing signs of regular enjoyment but remaining very sound and in good order.
A Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate accompanies the sale, which confirms this car’s desirable 3.8 liter specification. Also included is the original tool kit, jack, Thor hammer and a knock-off removal tool. This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of just a handful of XK 150s similarly equipped. It is a lovely and very well-presented car that would make a fine choice for weekend touring and regular enjoyment out on the road.
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