Introduced in May 1957, the highly refined XK150 built on Jaguar’s rich heritage, including the ground-breaking XK120 and evolutionary XK140 before it, marking the third and final evolution of the brilliant original XK-series sports cars from Jaguar. While bearing a strong familial resemblance to its predecessors, the XK150 was slightly wider and featured cleaner styling with a higher and more subtle beltline replacing the trendy cut-down doors characteristic of the XK120 and XK140. A wider grille element improved engine cooling and a modern, one-piece curved windscreen provided improved forward visibility. At launch, the XK150 was available in both Fixed Head (FHC) and Drophead Coupe (DHC) body styles, with the Open Two-Seater (Roadster) following them to market by March 1958.
From the start, Jaguar consistently applied the valuable lessons acquired from competition to its sporting road cars, which steadily grew in their performance and sophistication. In a clear case of racing improving the breed, the XK150 was Jaguar’s first road model to be equipped with Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes, which were crucial to the company’s second Le Mans victory with the XK-derived C-Type sports racer in 1953. Servo-assisted brakes were standard for the road-going XK150, providing heightened driving ease.
Until late 1959, Jaguar’s already-legendary XK DOHC inline ‘six’ powered the XK150 in 3.4-liter form with a stout 190-bhp rating in standard tune or 210-bhp in “SE” spec with dual exhaust. Performance was significantly heightened with the legendary ‘S’ specification, discreetly announced by stylized chrome emblems to the doors just below the windshield frame. Jaguar rated the XK150 S 3.4 at an impressive 250-horsepower, thanks to significant improvements in breathing, achieved through triple S.U. carburetors, a revised intake manifold, and a high-flow cylinder head. It also featured revised engine bearings and an uprated clutch and flywheel for added durability, which was necessary for reaching its top speed of 130 mph
While the XK150 was designed strictly as a fast, GT-oriented road car without racing pretentions, its competition heritage was peerless, including Jaguar’s victories at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951, 1953, and 1955-57 with the XK120, C-Type, and D-Type. A few committed privateers campaigned the XK150 to good effect, including the GT-class win at the 1960 Tulip Rally and fast-rising American driver Walt Hansgen’s creditable third-place podium finish at Bridgehampton in June 1960.
This beautiful example of Jaguar’s high-performance XK150S features the sportiest Roadster body style, or the Open Two Seater (OTS) configuration in Jaguar parlance. This car was delivered new to Jaguar Cars of New York in very late 1958 or early 1959. Fully loaded with overdrive, it was delivered in the colors it wears today, British Racing Green over Tan leather and a Fawn top. Although the early history of the car beyond its delivery is not recorded, we do know that by 1986, the car was in the possession of Pong Arkon of Vienna, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, it was acquired by the noted collector Joel Finn. The following year it was sent to Bassett's Jaguar in Wyoming, Rhode Island for a comprehensive restoration, for which bills are on file totaling more than $24,000— a substantial sum for a restoration of an XK at that time. Further service records include a thorough mechanical overhaul in September 1998 for $13,582. After a quarter of a century with its past keeper it was purchased by the most recent owner, who has serviced the car and driven it sparingly, covering only 300 kilometers (the speedometer having been converted to a metric unit) in the last seven years.
At some point in its life its original engine was uprated with a 3.8 block. It appears to retain its original cylinder head, which carries the numerical suffix the car originally had '1636-9', but has been modified to include a 3.8S 'VAS' prefix. With the added boost of a larger capacity 3.8 engine, and the benefit of its as-equipped overdrive, it offers a great package for fast road touring.
Accompanying items include an operating/service handbook, spare wheel/tire, roadside jack and factory grease gun – all housed within the correctly finished boot. Documents on file include a corresponding Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust certificate, restoration photos, and a binder of restoration and service receipts.
Jaguar produced approximately 800 XK150 S OTS roadsters, and this car is one of just 72 left-drive US market examples built in 1959. This sporting icon represents one of the ultimate expressions of the classic Jaguar ‘XK’ sports car line which set the stage for the E-Type to follow. As such, it stands as a superb pick for classic rallies, touring events, and open-air, fast-road enjoyment.
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Stock number 7617
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