Following hot on the heels of Jaguar’s sensational XK120, the XK140 debuted in 1955 featuring a number of improvements designed to address customer complaints with the 120. Thankfully, Jaguar was able to retain the arresting good looks of the original design, while allowing for more room and better-balanced handling. The XK140’s larger full-width bumpers and thin chrome strips on the bonnet and boot lids were the first giveaways, however, the most significant changes came under the skin, with major improvements made to the handling and braking. A more precise rack and pinion steering system replaced the 120’s worm-and-sector steering box, and the old-style lever-action dampers were ditched in favor of modern telescopic dampers. The four-wheel drum brakes were improved with new lining materials and an upgraded master cylinder. As with the XK120, customers could choose between a fixed-head coupe (now with a pair of tiny back seats), a luxurious drophead coupe, or the sporty and sparse open two-seat roadster. The standard XK140 now featured the 190 horsepower engine from the XK120 SE, with the option of upwards of 210 horsepower available with the SE package and “C-Type” high-flow cylinder head. The XK140 was only in production for a short period before the heavily revised XK150 replaced it. As a result, fewer than 9,000 were built between October 1954 and January 1957, making it the rarest of all three variants of the XK. Today’s collectors appreciate the XK140 since it retains the pure beauty of the XK120 while offering superior on-road ability and comfort.
The 1957 XK140 “OTS” roadster offered here is a lovely, fully restored, numbers-matching car that is desirably equipped from new with the Special Equipment package (also known as the “M” in the US market) and optional C-Type cylinder head. The included Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate shows this to be an original US-spec car, first shipped on April 16, 1956. With dual exhaust, knock-off wire wheels, heavier sway bars, and the high-flow cylinder head, the XK140 MC was the preferred choice for the sporting buyer looking to get the most out of their Jaguar. This car was subject to a two-year, body-off restoration beginning in 2005 and it presents in beautiful condition today. Red paintwork, tan leather upholstery, and chrome wheels come together with striking effect. Having seen light use since the restoration, this XK is in outstanding condition today, with excellent quality finishing and detailing.
The two-seat cockpit is restored using high-quality tan leather, with matching carpets and boot lining. The quality of the restoration is very good, and the seats appear taut, showing only light use. The same leather is repeated on the dash, door cards, and cockpit rails while a black canvas hood stows behind the seats, along with a set of matching side curtains. The original four-spoke steering wheel is retained, along with correct Smiths instrumentation in the central panel. The boot is fully detailed to correct specs with tan Hardura vinyl mats and gloss black painted panels. The restored jack, grease gun and ratcheting jack handle are properly stowed to the underside of the boot floor. A factory tool roll is also included, and topping off the presentation is a beautiful set of custom-fitted, color-keyed luggage made by Taris Charysyn of West Kill, New York.
Lifting the bonnet reveals the original, numbers matching engine; beautifully detailed to a high standard. The original C-type cylinder head remains in place, and the engine features correct hardware and fitting, including the “pancake” air cleaners and glass washer bottle. Cam covers and carburetor bodies are highly polished, and porcelain exhaust manifolds are excellent, with correct brass and chrome hardware used throughout the engine bay.
On the road, this XK140 MC delivers exemplary performance. It runs strong and feels well-sorted thanks to what appears to be moderate use since the high-quality restoration was completed. The undercarriage is tidy and well detailed, generally looking very clean and representative of a properly restored and well-sorted car. The iconic XK-series led the way in the American sports car revolution of the 1950s, and it remains one of the most adored and iconic of all British sports cars. This excellent example is a usable, enjoyable car that is a fine choice for rallies and driving events, with a crisp presentation worthy of casual show.