1955 Jaguar XK 140 MC Roadster

Courtesy of Bonhams

Launched in 1954, the Jaguar XK 140 was broadly similar to — although more refined than — its sensational XK 120 predecessor. The major engineering changes were confined to the repositioning of the engine three inches farther forward and the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering as used on the racing C-type. The suspension and brakes remained much as before, though with stiffer torsion bars at the front and telescopic shock absorbers replacing the previous lever type at the rear.

Like its forebear, the XK 140 was built in three model types: roadster, coupe and drophead coupe, the latter two offering usefully increased cabin space and occasional rear seats. Outwardly, the newcomer was distinguishable by its revised radiator grille, rear lights incorporating flashing indicators, and larger bumpers — the latter adopted to withstand the cut and thrust of urban parking.

XK 140 performance was well up to the standards set by its exemplary predecessor, contemporary magazine road-tests regularly recording top-speed figures in excess of 120 mph. Tested by Road & Trackmagazine, a USA-specification XK 140 MC (as the C-type head-equipped SE version was known there) recorded a 0–60 mph time of 8.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 121.1 mph.

This stunning Jaguar XK 140 roadster was built at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory quite early on in the production run. The new Jaguar was configured with a left-hand-drive steering arrangement, and most likely was delivered new to the booming North American sports-car market.

A comprehensive restoration has been performed, and the roadster presents in lovely condition inside and out. The exterior is finished in striking red, over a correct Biscuit and red two-tone interior. Appropriate Lucas driving lights are fitted up front, and beautiful chrome wire wheels wrapped with whitewall tires are present. This fine Jaguar is ready to use on rallies and driving events such as the Copperstate 1000 or California Mille, or be shown at local concours d’elegance events, where it would be sure to attract much attention.

Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson - SCM Contributor

Gary is also Editor in Chief of The Star, the magazine for the Mercedes-Benz Club of America. He has been active for many years in the Austin-Healey Club USA and is co-author of MBI’s best-selling Austin-Healey Restoration Guide, as well as editor of the Austin-Healey Magazine. An avid vintage race driver, he ran his 1960 MGA in three Monterey Historics, four Wine Country Classics, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. He is the author of Motoring: Getting the Maximum from Your New Mini, a comprehensive guide to the new MINI Cooper, available through Amazon.com.

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