1953 Jaguar XK 120 Drop Head Coupe
Transmission:4 Speed Manual
The Jaguar XK120 was manufactured by between 1949 and 1954. It was the first post-war sports car from the marque, succeeding the SS 100 which ended production in 1940 with the start of the war in Britain. The XK120 was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show as a test bed and show vehicle to highlight the new XK engine. The car caused a sensation, which persuaded William Lyons to put it into production as a standard model.
The first cars manufactured in 1948 and 1949 had hand built aluminum bodies on an ash frame. Jaguar built 240 of these alloy bodied cars prior to moving to a more mass production XK120 in order to meet the demand for this popular model. With the 1950 model year a production version had a steel pressed body with alloy doors, bonnet, and trunk skin. Other features included torsion bar front suspension, and a removable windscreen.
Power came from a DOHC.4 L straight six engine, Jaguar's famous XK engine. With an alloy cylinder head and twin side draft SU carbs, the XK engine was very advanced for a mass produced unit, developing 160 bhp with the standard 8:1 compression ratio. This same basic design of the XK engine was used in 3.8L and 4.2L versions into the late 1980s.
The XK120 name referred to the vehicle's impressive 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed - even faster with the windscreen removed - and at the time of its launch it was the world's fastest standard production car. It was available as a coupe (FHC or Fixed Head Coupe, introduced in 1951), convertible (DHC or Drop Head Coupe, 1953), or the original roadster (OTS or Open Two Seater). An XK120 FHC can claim the only import win in NASCAR when it won NASCAR's first road race at Linden Airport, New Jersey, June 13th, 1954 with Al Keller at the wheel.
The Roadster had a very light weight canvas top and removable side curtains screwed to the doors, which had no external handle - to open them you reached through the screen to pull a cord on the inside. The DHC or Drop Head Coupe had a padded top and roll up windows. Both the FHC and DHC had an elegant wood veneer dash, whereas the roadster's was leather. All models were manufactured with spats to cover the back wheel arch which enhanced the streamlined look, but when optional (from 1951) wire wheels were fitted, the spats had to be removed to make room for the hub spinners. There was also an M version (called SE for Special Equipment in England) which included increased power, stiffer suspension, dual exhaust, and wire wheels.
This very nice older restoration has been in the current owner's care for over 10 years. A CA black plate car, the car was restored under a previous owner, but when it arrived some things were found lacking so the current owners embarked on a pretty comprehensive light mechanical rebuild, taking everything apart and reassembling it while making sure it was put back together properly. The car runs very, very well and is ready for long distance touring. Finished in a nice color combination and featuring the proper spats this XK 120 Roadster will provide years of driving and touring enjoyment to the lucky new owner. We have the car here at the showroom and I have had the pleasure of getting to drive it a bit and its really a great driving car. The car shifts better than any early Jag I have driven, it seems fully synchronized even though I know its not. I took the car to our local JCNA Concours and it was very well receved scoring 99.9 points. This car could be a contender for a national level JCNA award with minimal effort.
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