Jaguar engineers were wise to take an evolutionary approach to the replacement for the XK120, due for the 1953 model year. After all, the XK120's formula for success proved itself well, so it was best to stick with what worked. The XK120 established Jaguar's place in the all-important American market, endearing itself to club racers and boulevard cruisers alike with its gorgeous styling, exotic twin-cam engine, and competitive price point. The replacement XK140 set out to maintain the positive aspects, while addressing some of the criticisms of the old model. The outwardly similar XK140 featured larger, full-width chrome bumpers that were more practical and consistent with contemporary style. Other minor styling tweaks included chrome strips on the bonnet and boot lid, and a slightly revised grille design. New badges proudly boasted the C-Type's success at the Le Mans 24 hour race. On the surface, one could mistake the XK140 as just a superficial update on its predecessor, yet it was indeed a vastly improved car.
Addressing customer criticisms about the XK120's relative lack of comfort, the XK140's engine, dash, and firewall were moved forward by three inches. On open cars, a single 12-volt battery in the right front wheel well replaced the rear-mounted twin 6-volt units of before. This freed up space behind the seats, thus allowing for longer seat-sliders. Engineers also ditched the XK120's worm and sector steering box in favor of a quick and precise rack-and-pinion arrangement. In addition, Jaguar replaced the lever-action dampers with modern telescopic-type dampers that gave superior wheel control and suspension travel. Lockheed four-wheel drum brakes were retained, but with a revised master cylinder. Lastly, the superb double-overhead-cam inline-six saw improvements to power and flexibility. The base XK140 used the 190 horsepower 3.4-liter unit previously reserved for the top-spec XK120 M (aka "Special Equipment"). Buyers who chose the optional high-flow C-Type cylinder head got an impressive 210 hp. Of the three generations of XK sports cars, the XK140 had the lowest production, with just under 9,000 vehicles built in all body styles, as rapid development saw the XK150 ushered in for 1957. The XK140 balances the beauty of the XK120 with increased power, better handling, and a more comfortable cockpit, making it an ideal choice for historic rally events and relaxed touring.
Beautifully presented in black over a red cockpit, this 1956 XK140 OTS features desirable options, including the Special Equipment (or "M" for the US market) package and the coveted C-Type cylinder head. It comes out of long-term ownership by a Jaguar collector and enthusiast, and has enjoyed years of continuous care by several noted specialists including JK Restorations. Jaguar historical records show this car left the Coventry works in July of 1956, destined for the USA. It was originally pearl gray over a red interior and black soft top, and documents verify it as an original "MC" model. After passing through Jaguar Cars New York, it made its way to California, delivered to its first owner – Mr. Donald Borad of North Hollywood. The history picks up again in the early 1990s, where it was in St. Louis, MO, and received a complete restoration finished to a high standard. Shortly following the restoration in 1994, the car sold to the most recent owner, a Jaguar collector and enthusiast from Illinois. Once in his care, the XK140 was handed over to JK Restorations for additional sorting, restoration work, and JCNA Concours preparation. Several JCNA judging sheets in the history file show this XK140 was a consistent high-scorer, earning upwards of 99.97 points at multiple events before being enjoyed on tours and road events.
Records show the car received regular care and fettling, keeping it in top cosmetic and mechanical condition. Following its time as a show car, the owner added a JT5 5-speed conversion, regarded as the best kit of its kind. Thanks to consistent care, this beautiful XK140 presents in excellent condition, with the appeal and character of a former show car that's since been driven and enjoyed as intended. The black paintwork remains remarkably crisp, with even finishing and consistent panel gaps on the body. The chrome bumpers and exterior trim pieces are excellent, with beautiful plating overall, and only some light hazing appearing on the bumpers. Wire wheels were standard fitment on all SE models, and this car's excellent chrome knock-offs with black wall tires provide a beautiful complement to the black paint.
The lovely red leather upholstery is pleasantly broken-in and displays a beautiful character. Materials and fittings all appear factory correct, and even the shift knob is an original-style piece, re-engraved with the 5-speed shift pattern. The JT5 gearbox conversion retains the original shifter location and is otherwise undetectable from the top side of the car. The black canvas top was renewed in 2003, and matching side-curtains were made and fitted by Fran Roxas in the early 2000s. A full tonneau cover will also accompany the car. Light fading of the carpet on the transmission tunnel is about the only notable blemish on the otherwise marvelously-finished cockpit.
Like the rest of this superb XK, the engine bay is well-detailed, properly presented, and shows signs of consistent care and maintenance. It has the original numbers-matching block and cylinder head, the latter finished in the correct shade of red and topped with original "Jaguar Type C" polished alloy cam covers. Excellent porcelain exhaust manifolds feed a full-length stainless steel dual exhaust system. The car is a superb performer, with the well-dialed XK engine feeling particularly sweet thanks to that high-flow cylinder head. The slick-shifting 5-speed gearbox is specifically developed for the XK and not adapted from another car. The gearbox is a wonderful match to the engine and the extra ratio makes long-distance motoring an absolute joy.
With its high-performance options and iconic open two-seat body configuration, this gorgeous Jaguar is arguably the most desirable model of the XK140 range. This car's high-quality restoration and subsequent meticulous care ensure it remains in outstanding condition, ready to provide many miles of entertainment to its next long-term caretaker.
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