|Vehicle:||1955 Jaguar XK 140 MC Roadster|
|Original List Price:||$4,090|
|Tune Up Cost:||$450|
|Chassis Number Location:||Data plate on firewall|
|Engine Number Location:||Right side of block|
|Club Info:||Jaguar Club of North America|
|Alternatives:||1955–56 Austin-Healey 100M, 1954–63 Mercedes-Benz 190SL, 1950–55 Porsche 356|
This car, Lot 143, sold at Bonhams’ Amelia Island Auction for $91,840, including buyer’s commission, on March 8, 2018.
At first glance, this XK 140 seems to be in fantastic shape, with almost no mileage on the obviously reset odometer. It’s almost too nice to be real, with a bright, shiny engine, good panel fit and glistening chrome.
In terms of equipment, capabilities and relative driving comfort, there is no better choice in the Jaguar XK lineup than an XK 140 MC.
The distinctive post-war styling is almost unchanged from the first XK 120, but the XK 140’s improvements — especially the extra three inches in the cockpit, the improved steering wheel and pedal positions, and the additional power of the bigger engine with C-type head — make it the apex of the model series for touring enjoyment.
The MC in the title of our subject car means that it got the C-type head, along with wire wheels, crankshaft damper, dual exhaust, fog lights and windshield washers.
Where has it been and what has it done?
However, notably lacking in this description is any discussion of the specific provenance of this car. There’s not even any mention of the identity of the owner who authorized the restoration.
This omission suggests that this car was found in poor-but-restorable condition by a shop that specializes in restoring XKs as efficiently but inexpensively as possible. The car would then immediately go to auction for a sufficient amount to make a reasonable profit in return for the parts and labor costs invested.
Small clues can be seen throughout, such as the modern Sport Coil rather than an original version, and whitewalls to catch the eye of bidders when blackwalls would have been more typical in its day. This car should be fun to drive, but it is not likely to attract much attention among the Jaguar-show crowd.
Still, a good buy for a great tourer
That having been said, if the new owner knows what he or she is getting into, has another $15,000 or so at the ready to correct the surprises that might show up, and has a knowledgeable Jaguar mechanic who understands the breed, the decision to be the last bidder with a paddle up may be a rational one.
With that awareness and the funds to back it up, the new owner can have the mechanic thoroughly check every single system in the car to make sure that it works properly and there aren’t any hidden flaws in panels, or structural members that might break down on the road.
The smart thing to do will be to treat the car as if it was just freshly restored, taking it out for a series of longer and longer drives — with the mechanic along and within a short distance from the shop — before ever throwing the luggage in the boot to undertake one of the weeklong tours for which this car is obviously being purchased.
If that’s done, the car was well bought at this price and should return a lot of enjoyment until the owner is ready to move on to their next bucket-list car. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)