1953 Jaguar XK120 Open Two Seater OOF 748

This is a very late example of the XK120, built in November 1953 and only 36 cars from the end of production of the right-hand drive two-seater.  It was first registered to a dealer in Birmingham, and then sold to a private owner in Leamington Spa who kept the car until 1970 when it was acquired by Jaguar, so this car has in effect only ever had two owners from new.

The XK120 was introduced at the 1948 London Motor Show in open two-seater form, and was produced from 1949 to 1954.  The sleekly styled body was originally built in aluminium, but as demand for the car turned out to be much higher than anticipated, it was re-tooled in steel in 1950.  Around 200 cars were built with the aluminium body.  Fixed head and drophead coupé models became available in 1952 and 1953 respectively.  The XK120 used a shortened version of the chassis from the Jaguar Mark V saloon, with independent front suspension by torsion bars.

The XK120 was intended as a limited production model which would be a showcase for the new XK engine, before this engine went into full-scale production for the Mark VII saloon model which followed in 1950.  This was the world’s first mass production engine with twin overhead camshafts and hemispherical combustion chambers.  The enamelled manifolds and polished camshaft covers presented a handsome view when the bonnet was opened.  The 3.4 litre engine produced 160bhp, which meant that the car could reach 125 mph (200 km/h), and went from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds.

All this was available at the very reasonable price of £1,263 at launch, which by 1953 had become £1,602 – if you were lucky enough to be able to buy one of these cars in the home market.  Although a total of 12,061 XK120s were built, most were sold in the American market where the model helped to establish Jaguar as one of the leading imported brands.

The XK120 was replaced in September 1954 by the XK140.

Registration Mark: OOF 748

Chassis Number: 661140

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 45/J.12