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 bigger XK 140 was introduced. In 1957 was introduced XK 150 that was also available as a four-seater coupe. The last version of the XK was not only more spacious, but also more modern. Significant external changes included a one-piece windshield and a wider hood. In 1960, the engine displacement increased to 3.8 liters.
This XK 150 Drop Head Coupe in question was manufactured in Coventry on 21/04/1960 and sold as new to USA. The last owner in California was Carolyne Baker. To Finland, Jaguar was imported by Pertti Nieminen, aka Neumann, the frontman of the Finnish rock band Dingo. The car was brought from California to Pori, Finland in 1988. From the bankruptcy estate of Neumann’s company, the car was transferred to Oy Maniklan AB, where the restoration of the Jaguar began. The body was restored and interior was renewed and upholstered with cream beige leather.
The car was registered to Finland and sold on May 23, 1993 at Bukowski’s auction to car collector C.Palmberg. The restoration of the Jaguar continued at Woikoski Oy’s workshop in Palmberg.
In 2006, Palmberg sold the car to the current owner, J. Kuisma, who continued to restore the Jaguar. The original matching numbers engine was thoroughly overhauled in 2007. The following year, the body was repainted in British Racing Green and the fuel tank was renewed. During the years 2010-2012, the Jaguar underwent, among other things, a thorough brake overhaul, where the calipers, brake cylinders and brake pipes were renewed. In 2015, the clutch slave cylinder was renewed and an electric ignition was installed. The tires have been renewed in 2019.
The XK 150 has been driven 500-1000 kilometers annually with regularly serviced.
The car is registered as a historic vehicle, it is Mot/Tüv inspected and ready to enjoy.
Located in Lahti, Finland – 60 minutes from Helsinki–Vantaa Airport. Views by appointment only.
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