In 1948, at the Earls Court Motor Show in London, Jaguar presented the world’s fastest production car. The Jaguar XK 120, introduced as an open two seater, reached, as its name suggests, an unprecedented speed of 120 miles (193 kilometers) per hour.
The body of the car was designed by director and founder of Jaguar, Sir William Lyons himself. The shapes of the beautiful sports car body were praised and adored in the competition. The original shapes of the prototype car, frame number 660001, were largely preserved until production cars, but the body material soon changed from aluminum to steel. The first production car, the XK 120 with chassis number 670003, was delivered to Hollywood actor Clark Gable.
It wasn’t just a new car model, but the role of the XK 120 was much bigger. It served as a test bed for new XK engine, designed by Jaguar’s chief engineer William Heynes. The revolutionary inline six engine was equipped with two overhead camshafts, aluminium-alloy cylinder head and seven main bearings, producing a maximum output of 160 horsepower. The XK engine became one of the most prestigious six-cylinder engines of all time, which Jaguar used with various versions until the 1990s.
Already before the end of the Second World War, Jaguar knew how to design and make sports cars. Before the XK the latest sports car in production was the SS100. It was name came by Swallow Sidecar, the company that preceded Jaguar. 100 was named after the car’s power. SS100 was also successful in motor sports, both on gravel and on the track. The new XK 120 was no exception to Jaguar’s motorsport success and it not only broke speed records, but was also successful in Le Mans, Targa Florio, Mille Miglia and also in Monte Carlo rallies. Leslie Johnson, Clemente Biondetti, Ian Appleyard, Tommy Wisdom and Sir Stirling Moss, just to name a few motorsport legends who have raced with XK 120 Jaguars. In Finland SPJ Keinänen won Eläintarhan ajot – race with XK120 in 1951.
The motorsport success of the XK 120 signaled Jaguar’s direction far into the future and encouraged Lyons and Heynes to invest not only for the development of sports cars, but also in motorsport. The XK series was continued and in 1954 the larger XK 140 was introduced followed XK 150 in 1957, that was also available as a four-seater.
This exact XK 120 Fixed Head Coupe was manufactured in Coventry on 22.05.1952 and was delivered as new to New York. The car’s ownership history is known since 1967, when Franklyn E. Cadmus, who lived in New Jersey, bought the car. He owned the car for more than 20 years until November 1989, when Finnish R. Hartto bought the car and brought it to Finland. The original title and bill of sale are kept, as are all documents related to customs clearance of the car. R. Harto’s idea was to restore the Jaguar, but it remained standing as a project in the garage. In 2010, the car was bought by L. Hagelstam.
During L. Hagelstam’s ownership, the car has been restored by workshops specializing in the restoration and repair of British classics, Triangle Motors and Grips Garage. The complete 100 % restoration has been done to Concours standard and is thoroughly documented.
The restoration of the car is unequivocally 100 % complete and has included, among other things, a thorough restoration of the body and frame, a complete restoration and rebuild of the original Matching Numbers engine and gearbox, electrical renewal, exhaust and brake renewal. The interior has been restored with every detail, including the steering wheel, sound insulation and wooden parts.
The body is finished in 1952’s Jaguar Pastel Green Metallic color over Suede Green leather upholstery. In the restoration of the body, the details, such as seeter straps and chrome parts, have also been renewed.
Nothing has been compromised in the restoration of the car and the documents show that it cost significantly more than the asking price is. The final result is not less than probably one of the best restored XK 120s in the world.
The car is registered as a historic vehicle, Mot/Tüv inspected until 05/2025 and ready to enjoy.
Located in Vantaa, Finland – 30 minutes from Helsinki–Vantaa Airport.
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