When Jaguar first showed its XK 120 OTS (open two seater) at the 1948 London Motor Show, the automotive world was stunned. The William Lyons-influenced coachwork was so swoopy it was positively indecent. The startling new sports car was powered by a thoroughly modern 3.4-liter double-overhead camshaft straight-six rated at 160 horsepower and had been clocked at 120 miles per hour—hence the XK 120 designation. The Jaguar’s looks and performance more than offset its 3,000 pound weight and the fact that the rear suspension was by an old-fashioned live rear axle and leaf springs.
Replacing the XK-120 in late 1954, the XK-140 retained the basic formula of mating the DOHC 3.4 liter straight-six with a conventional chassis, torsion bar front suspension, and solid rear axle, although rack-and-pinion steering was a welcome addition. With the XK-140, Jaguar made it clear that it was listening to its customers, by addressing the issues of cockpit space, steering feel, and overall refinement.
Thankfully, the newest XK retained the swoopy good looks of its predecessor but used more robust front and rear bumpers and a revised cast grille, which made a lot of sense for a car destined to do battle with huge chrome-laden cars on the streets of America. Although the 140 was heavier than the 120, an extra 30 extra horsepower boosted horsepower to 190bhp and ensured that performance didn’t suffer.
Like the XK-120 before it, the 140 was available in three body styles: Open Two Seater, Drophead Coupe, and Fixed Head Coupe. Standard specifications for the new Jaguar sports car called for steel wheels with chrome hubcaps accented with the body color. Steel wheel cars featured striking rear fender skirts, although they weren’t used if the optional painted or chrome wire wheels were fitted. A high performance Special Equipment version—also known as the XK-140MC—was also available. The most important difference was a 210bhp version of the 3.4-liter engine using the straight-port cylinder head from the C-Type sports racing car, two-inch SU carburetors, and dual exhaust. The special equipment package also included heavier torsion bars and wire wheels.
This beautifully restored early Jaguar XK-140MC is finished in its original factory color of Pastel Blue and is trimmed in dark blue piped in gray, with blue carpets and top, all matching factory records provided by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. This car was delivered new to California, and spent most of its life in the West. It left the works equipped with the desirable Special Equipment (MC) package, including the high-performance C-Type cylinder head and Laycock de Normanville overdrive.
After spending much of its life on the west coast, the XK-140 was treated to a ground up, nut-and-bolt restoration, completed in the 1990s. Photos on file show the level of detail given to every aspect of the car. Both the blue side curtains and the correct tool kit were restored, and the car was detailed to JCNA Concours standards. Fitted with chrome wire wheels and auxiliary Lucas lamps, this pale blue Jaguar is a truly beautiful car in a rarely-seen color. The cabin features beautiful dark blue leather, with correct switchgear and instrumentation on the dash. Under bonnet detailing is excellent, and the car features a period-correct 3.4-litre engine and C-Type head. The efforts of the previous owner and restorer were rewarded with a first prize at the Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance, followed by top prizes and a 99.7 point score at the JCNA Concours in Sacramento, and a National Concours Class Championship award.
As it now sits, this XK-140 is ready to be shown or driven, with a handsome character to the gently mellowed restoration. It runs and drives extremely well, feeling exceptionally well-sorted and dialed-in thanks to years of meticulous care and maintenance. Beautifully presented in a gorgeous livery, this highly desirable Jaguar is certain to be a go-to in your collection.
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Stock number 7534
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