1952 Jaguar XK120 FHC LWK 707 Montlhéry 24/7 100mph Car
The XK120 took the world by storm when it was introduced at the 1948 London Motor Show. The new model paved the way for the marque in the vital export markets such as the USA, and also soon established Jaguar as a force to be reckoned with in competition.
Harking back to the 1938 SS100 Earls Court motor show car the XK120 fixed head coupé was a snug 2-seat saloon with the distinguishing curve of the back window and flowing tail making it the height of sporting car fashion.
Some sports car owners valued quietness and refinement over an open top and a draughty hood and the XK120 sacrificed nothing in the way of comfort and equipment. It had a separate chassis, wood and leather appointments and framed winding windows together with a lockable, usefully-sized boot for luggage.
In August 1952 this specially prepared car was taken to Montlhéry near Paris and was driven for seven days and seven nights at an average speed of 100.32 miles per hour, including all stops. There were four drivers: Stirling Moss, Jack Fairman, Bert Hadley and Leslie Johnson – who had conceived the record attempt following previous 1 hour and 24 record runs.
Montlhéry’s concrete surface was rough, and the Jaguar broke a spring when it was already well into the run. No spare was carried on board. Regulations stipulated that an outside replacement would make the car ineligible for any further records beyond those already achieved before the repair.
Johnson drove for nine hours to save the other drivers from added risk while the speed had to be maintained on the broken spring.
[For more details of the Montlhéry record breaking 24/7 run see the Leslie Johnson page.]
When finally he stopped to have it replaced, the car had taken the following records:
- World and Class C, 72-hour records at 105.55 mph
- World and Class C, four-day records at 101.17 mph
- Class C, 10,000 kilometre record at 107.031 mph
- World and Class C, 15,000 kilometre records at 101.95 mph
- World and Class C, 10,000-mile records at 100.65 mph
After the repair the car went on to complete the full seven days and nights, covering a total of 16,851.73 miles at an average speed of 100.31 mph.
Registration Mark: LWK 707 (7 January 1952)
Chassis Number: 669002
Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust
Inventory Number: 042/J.11
Price when new: Production XK120 FHC £1,616 2s 6d
Price: 224 Weeks Average Wage