1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

At the 1948 London Motor Show, Jaguar unveiled their first postwar sports car to astonished onlookers. The spectacular new XK120 redefined the whole notion of sports cars in the post-war era, combining race car performance in a stunningly beautiful and production-ready package. Initially, the concept was intended merely as a testbed for Jaguar’s newest engine, the 3.4-liter “XK” inline-six, yet the positive reception quickly convinced William Lyons to put it into production. The technically advanced engine featured a sturdy iron block topped with an alloy, twin overhead camshaft cylinder head, making 160 horsepower in standard form. With such exotic specifications, it would have been understandable if Jaguar chose to build the car in limited numbers. However, engineers adopted new techniques allowing them to mass-produce the exotic twin-cam engine, which allowed the XK120 to be considerably cheaper than its performance rivals. Supporting the powertrain was a robust chassis with independent front suspension, based loosely on the MkV saloon but substantially narrowed and tuned for handling. The real sensation was the gorgeous body, penned in-house at Jaguar, and quite unlike anything else on the road at the time. Devoid of fussy chrome trim and unnecessary frills, the XK120 body was curvaceous and beautifully proportioned. The clean lines were uninterrupted, particularly on cars with steel wheels and full spats on the rear fenders.

More than just a pretty face, the XK120 delivered extraordinary performance for the period. The RAC officially timed a mostly standard XK120 (with a small aero screen and tall gear ratio) at 132.6 miles per hour on the Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium. Other speed records followed, as did countless victories on race circuits and in rallies in Europe and the USA. The XK120 paved the way for the Le Mans-winning C-Type and set the foundation for Jaguar’s astounding string of motorsport victories Jaguar enjoyed throughout the 1950s. Today, the Jaguar XK120 is a cornerstone collector car with passionate owners ranging from the grassroots to the seasoned, world-class collector. Over seventy years since it was first shocked the world with its dramatic unveiling, the XK120 continues to thrill with its timeless beauty and electrifying performance.

This charming XK120 is a desirable Open Two-Seat roadster and comes to us fresh from long-term ownership. Finished in British Racing Green with a tan leather interior, it has a black cloth convertible top, rear wheel spats, body color steel wheels with hubcaps and trim rings. The car was comprehensively and correctly restored in the late 1990s to a very high standard, and is a matching numbers car according to the included Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate. In the years since the restoration was completed, this car has benefitted from light and careful use, as well as extensive maintenance to ensure it is in top running order. The body exhibits excellent panel gaps and fit, and the paint work remains in fine order, revealing the quality of the original restoration as well as the care it has received since. The brightwork also presents very well overall, however the front bumpers show a little mellowing from age.

The original, numbers-matching 3.4-liter, 160 horsepower twin-cam “XK” inline six rests under the hood. It is of course clean, tidy, and well detailed, showing signs of regular maintenance. It runs very well, breathing through original twin S.U. carburetors. The four-speed manual gearbox feels tight and precise as it should, and the road manners are quite good.

As one of the most iconic and beautiful British sports cars of all time, the XK120 is a perennial favorite among car collectors and enthusiasts. With its body-color disc wheels, full rear spats, and delicate chrome bumpers, this is the XK in its purest form and is a superb choice for taking advantage of a multitude of historic driving events and road rallies around the world.


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Stock number 7664

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