1949 JAGUAR XK 120 ROADSTER
European Registered in the Netherlands
Chassis No. F 1648
Engine No. NA 2662-8
Red with black interior
Engine: six cylinder in line, 3,422cc, c190bhp at 5,250rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front, independent with double wishbones and longitudinal torsion bars, rear, live rear axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes; four wheel disc. Left hand drive.
The fine reputation of the XK 120 far exceeds the small numbers in which it was built. Its original conception was little more than a test bed for the new twin cam engine devised by Bill Heynes whilst on Coventry fire-watching duties on the roof of the SS Jaguar car plant in the later stages of World War II. However, its appearance at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show was met with hundreds of people clamouring to own one of the most seductive and rapid cars of the era. Instead of the few hand-built cars intended, Jaguar had to tool up for serious production.
Competition successes and the 126.45mph (133.5mph without windscreen) achieved by “Soapy” Sutton on the Belgian Autoroute at Jabbeke all served to increase the demand for the car which did not become widely available until the 1950s. Even then the world export demand was so great that the first home market sales, in any quantity, did not materialise until 1951.
This early example of Jaguar’s renowned XK 120 model was originally sold to America and returned to Europe in 1978. It was then that it was restored to the present rally configuration and subsequently actively campaigned on a number of events including the Coppa D’Italia, Mille Miglia and the most recent being the 1992 Grand Prix de Paris.
In the present five years of Dutch ownership the car has seen only limited use, hence its being offered for sale. A now mellowed restoration, it bears a patina created by years of competitive work, enhanced by the various rally plaques and badges it has accumulated, while still remaining in good and presentable order throughout. It features aero-screens, bucket seats, wire wheels, additional driving lights, external emergency battery cut out and bonnet strap, and the engine has been race prepared by Forward Engineering.
The Jaguar has not been driven by a member of Christie’s specialist staff, but is reported by its vendor to drive beautifully, and is offered with a file of paperwork including copies of signing on sheets, FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form confirming inspection in 1990, and a reproduction handbook.