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.
In 1954, Jaguar’s XK series got a successor when the bigger XK 140 was introduced and offered to the market for the following year. Again named by the top speed, 140 miles per hour. More space for the passengers had been obtained by moving the engine forward and changing the position of the battery from behind the passenger to under the front wing. XK 140 got more powerful brakes and now rack and pinion steering. The XK140 had modern front shock absorbers.
This 1956 Jaguar XK 140 Roadster is manufactured 21.09.1956 and has been sold as new by RM Overseas dealer in Dusseldorf, Delaware, USA. The first owner was called J.H Haught JR. The car was sold from the USA to Sweden in 1995 and further to Finland in 2003. The current owner J. Nietosvuori bought the car in 2018.
The car was restored in the USA in the 1980s and thoroughly renovated at Grips Garage in 2018: The car’s carburetors were refurbished and the fuel lines, fuel pump and fuel tank were renewed. The brakes were renewed and some wearing parts of the steering and suspension were renewed. New wheel hubs and wire wheels, painted to match to the interior, installed with new period correct tires. The floor pans and door sills were renewed and rear wheel arches refurbished.
The Jaguar is thoroughly serviced in October 2023. The fuel pumps and fuel lines were cleaned and the spark plugs were renewed. The engine oil and filter were changed and the transmission oil was checked. The Jaguar was Mot/Tüv inspected and the inspection of the historic vehicle is valid until October 2027.
The Jaguar runs great and is really good to drive. The engine works perfectly and the transmission is working precise without any additional noices.
The car is registered as a historic vehicle, it is Mot/Tüv inspected & valid until 2027, ready to enjoy.
Located in Vantaa, Finland – 25 minutes from Helsinki–Vantaa Airport. Views by appointment only.
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