Launched at the London Motorshow of 1948, and immediately a huge success, the Jaguar XK120 Roadster was in fact the testbed for the new XK engine designed by William Heynes: a twin overhead cam 3.4 L straight-6 engine fed by 2 SU carburettors producing 160 BHP which was highly advanced for a mass-produced unit of the time.
120 because this Jaguar sports car could easily reach the for the time phenomenal speed of 120 MPH!
On the 30th of May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, Ron “Soapy” Sutton drove a prototype XK120, timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, achieving 132.6 MPH, making it the fastest production car in the world.
This 1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster is an early production model looking very elegant with disc wheels and rear wheel spats. The matching numbers engine is of the correct stud-less cam cover type.
Initially sold new to the USA, this Jaguar XK120 returned to the “old continent” in 2011 to end-up in the hands of a Belgian classic car specialist who completely restored the Jaguar for his own use.
Luckily he started with a very sound project which practically didn’t need any welding at all. The body-off restoration revealed a super-sound structure and outer body panels which are all still the original ones and absolutely undamaged.The original engine and gearbox were still in the car.
A rebore to +0.40, complete rebuild and an overhaul of the cilinderhead with new valves & valve guides brought this engine back to youth.Bumpers, all chrome parts , windscreen frame, etc… , all original to the car, needed only rechroming. The instruments all original aswell, were cleaned and greased. The tripod headlamps (also the original ones) , were newly nickel plated.
Only concession to “modernity” were an aluminium tank, alloy radiator for better cooling and a stainless steel exhaust.A period correct shade of light metallic grey was chosen as exterior body colour combined with a duo-tone dark- & light-grey upholstery from official Jaguar trim supplier BAS.
Many photographs illustrate this careful restoration and so do the many invoices preserved in the restoration file.
After this detailed restoration, which ended in 2016, this Jaguar was driven only a few hundreds of Kms…The lengthy hard work is over! Now this XK120 Roadster only needs to be enjoyed… By you?
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