1954 JAGUAR XK140 ROADSTER
Chassis No. 810376
Engine No. G 1574-8
Black with red leather interior
Engine: six cylinder, in-line, twin overhead camshafts, 3,442cc, 190bhp at 5,500rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual synchromesh; Suspension: independent front with double wishbones, longitudinal torsion bars, anti-roll bar, semi-elliptic leaf springs to live rear axle; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Left hand drive.
After building the successful XK120 for six years, Jaguar introduced the XK140 in October 1954. The new model still sported the classic XK shape, but incorporated some restyle changes such as stronger bumpers and turn signal indicators set into the front fenders. The real change however was the repositioning of the engine three inches forward on the chassis that allowed more room in the cockpit, something that today Jaguar enthusiasts can appreciate even more so over its predecessor. It also helped to improve the handling of the XK. Jaguar took the performance of the Special Equipment 120 unit and made this standard on the new car. Steel rather than cast iron main bearings ensured that the engine could cope with this power increase, and to bring that benefit to the driver closer gearbox ratios were adopted. Other improvements included a larger radiator and eight blade fan to aid cooling.
Cosmetically there was more chrome, particularly a strip that ran down the length of the hood, and another on the rear trunk lid drew attention to the medallion in the middle proclaiming the Le Mans wins of the marque. Offered as before in Roadster, Coupe and Drophead Coupe variants, the XK140 represented remarkable value for money, yet still impressing journalists on early tests, Road and Track found the maximum speed to be 121mph, a performance matched by few other production models.
This left hand drive roadster was delivered new to California, to Walter Jones of Pacific Palisades, having been sold through local agents Hornburg of Los Angeles. Its original date of dispatch is recorded with the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust as being 14th December 1954, and their official certificate which comes with the car records the engine to match this chassis number as well as noting its original color as being Pastel Green with a trim of tan piped in biscuit, its top corresponded in sand color. This original scheme has at some stage been refurbished and changed, its equally attractive current livery of sporting black and red interior sets the car off well.
The car presently wears 'C' Type cylinder head rocker covers, but this specification is not denoted on the JDHT record, so these may have been a later addition or purely for aesthetic purposes.
The subsequent life of the Jaguar is not known at present, but it is thought to have come into the present European collection ownership in the late 1980s and is most likely to have been acquired from America at that time.
Museum stored for a number of years, the car would benefit from some freshening as we noted a few minor scrapes to the paintwork as well as details such the fact that rear view mirrors have been removed, yet the holes remain unfilled or attended to. Also, there are no tools present, nor side curtains for when the top is up and the rear plate light is currently loose. None of these are major aspects and we imagine that the enthusiasm which new ownership brings could quickly see such faults remedied. It does however have a top, jack and spare tire.
As with other cars in this group, it is anticipated that the roadster will be running at the time of sale, but the sensible precaution of a thorough re-commissioning prior to proper use is advised.