During the Second World War, Sir William Lyons and his colleagues envisioned a new car that would feature the world’s first high-volume twin-cam engine. Called the XK series, it would be a short-wheelbase chassis mated to a two-seat sports roadster body. When combined with the new engine, the result would be nothing less than sensational-a sleek, beautiful, and strikingly modern automobile.
At the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1948, this XK made its first public appearance, and what an introduction it was. Spectators marveled at the new Jaguar. One journalist commented at the time that “all preconceived notions as to what was a series-production sports car disappeared overnight.” It was a show stopper.
The XK Jaguar was given the body-type number 120 to represent its top speed. This proved to be an understatement of the car’s capabilities when factory test driver Ron Sutton was clocked in a prototype at over 132 mph. Race versions of the XK 120 were potent in the hands of drivers like Stirling Moss and Phil Hill, both of whom scored important victories in 1949. With its 160 hp, inline six engine with twin overhead cams in original tune, the production XK 120 not only looked and sounded magnificent, but had the performance to match.
Finished in red with tan Connolly leather, the example pictured here has benefited from a professional frame-off restoration to concours standards. It’s fully equipped, including a factory tool set and side curtains.