1952 Jaguar XK120 FHC
From the Tresham Collection; fully restored in the late 1990s and carefully maintained by one owner since; LHD; veteran of several European tours; matching numbers; superb condition throughout
Three years after the launch of the XK120 Roadster, Jaguar had finally caught up with demand for their sensational sportscar and in 1951 they released a Coupe version more suited to year-round use. Aside from the obvious addition of a roof, the biggest difference was the use of a mostly steel floorpan in place of plywood. The dash was also wood rather than leather.
Power came from the magnificent XK twin-overhead cam 3.4-litre straight-six that had proved its worth in the Le Mans-winning C-Type. With 160bhp on tap, it gave the car a top speed of 120mph making it the fastest production car of its day (hence the XK120 name). Only 2,672 Coupes were produced before it was replaced by the larger XK140 in October 1954, of which all but 195 were LHD for the export market.
As the Heritage Certificate confirms, this XK120 Coupe was built in July 1952 for the export market and was originally Pastel Green with a Suede Green interior. Nothing is known of the early history of the car, but the story picks up again in 1995 when it was imported back to the UK from Pennsylvania by XK specialists, Twyford Moors of Hampshire.
Our vendor acquired the car from them in January 1996 and promptly set about a total nut-and-bolt rebuild that took four years to complete and resulted in the fine specimen you see today. Ably assisted by a retired motor engineer friend, the pair did much of the work themselves, enlisting professional help where required although there are only invoices for some of this work.
The chassis was commendably rust-free and required little more than cleaning and painting. The bodywork was also mainly good but £4,043 was spent on new panels supplied by Classic Parts & Panels of Aylesbury before the car was expertly repainted in silver metallic.
The original engine had done fewer than 50,000 miles and was found to be in excellent condition, needing little more than a thorough service, as was the Moss gearbox. All the running gear was fully rebuilt as required, keeping everything pretty much factory standard.
The interior was retrimmed in the finest Connolly hide by ex-Brown’s Lane trimmer Mick Turley of Suffolk & Turley fame – even the door cards and the rear parcel shelf are leather. The dash instruments were rebuilt by Vintage Restorations of Tunbridge Wells and a new cotton braided wiring loom was fitted. As the car was mainly going to be used for Continental touring, it was kept in LHD.
The vendor estimates that over 4,000 hours were spent on the restoration and the quality of the workmanship still shines through over 20 years since it was completed. Used regularly until 2010, including trips to the Le Mans Classic and tours of Germany and Italy, the car has been very little used in recent years although it has been started and run regularly to keep everything free.
Kept in a heated showroom as part of a collection of fine cars, it was fitted with new batteries shortly before the auction and has been running beautifully as we have moved it around on site with good 60psi oil pressure. Although it no longer needs one, it has an MOT until May 2023 with no advisories recorded.
Currently registered as JLC 140, this number is to be retained by the vendor and the car will revert to its previous number, PSJ 615, prior to the sale.
Only reluctantly for sale due to illness, this magnificent ‘matching numbers’ XK120 is every bit as good as it looks in the photos. All it needs now is an enthusiastic new owner who can continue to cherish it in the manner to which it has become accustomed.
This is one of nine Lots entered from the Tresham Collection.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
* All charges are subject to VAT