Jaguar people may argue, but I believe the 150's appeal lies in the "creature comforts" our traveling companions often demand
Jaguar's series of XK sports cars established the company's reputation as a manufacturer of good-looking, fast automobiles sold at a reasonable price. The 1949 launch of the XK 120 caused a sensation and, at the time, its 120 mph top speed established it as the fastest standard production car available. The introduction of the XK 140 in 1955 saw performance increased to a top speed of 140 mph, while rack-and-pinion steering and a host of other minor modifications produced a more modern-looking and -handling car. The XK 150, launched in the spring of 1957, was the last of the traditional 1950s Jaguar sports car before the sensational XKE came along in 1961. Although similar in appearance to its predecessors, the XK 150 was substantially different in many details. While retaining the same basic chassis, 3.4-liter engine, and 4-speed Moss transmission of the earlier cars, the XK 150 was clothed in a new, wider body. Visibility was improved by using a one-piece wraparound windscreen, while a revised fender line and altered radiator grille were among the exterior revisions. Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels rectified a deficiency that was present on the earlier models and provided all-around performance for the XK 150. A year after the XK 150 was launched, the S model was introduced. This included three two-inch SU HD8 carburetors, a revised Weslake cylinder head, and high-compression pistons. Power was now increased to 250 hp and 0-60 could be achieved in a little over 7 seconds. Out of a total production of 2,265 XK 150 roadsters, only 926 were to S specifications and today they are highly prized. This XK 150S Roadster has recently undergone a complete restoration to a high standard and is complete with factory tool roll and fitted leather luggage. A superb example of an attractive car with the most desirable specification, this Jaguar is certain to provide entertaining motoring for its next owner.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1959 Jaguar XK 150 S roadster
Number Produced:926 150S OTS (catalog stated 880)
Original List Price:$5,120
Tune Up Cost:$750
Distributor Caps:$65
Chassis Number Location:Frame, adjacent to rear engine mount & on firewall plate
Engine Number Location:Right side engine block above oil filter & on firewall plate
Club Info:JCNA, 234 Buckland Trace Louisville, KY 40245
Investment Grade:A

This 1959 Jaguar XK 150S Roadster sold at RM’s Amelia Island auction, held March 8, 2008, for $154,000, including buyer’s premium. It had been estimated by RM to sell between $140,000 and $180,000, so the final figure was at the low end of their expectations.

Venturing into the world of Jaguar XKs first requires a review of “Jag-speak.” Jaguar folks are quite particular about how you discuss their favored XKs. In Jag-speak there is no such thing as a “roadster,” as mentioned in the catalog description. The correct terminology is “OTS,” or open two-seater, as the top folds neatly behind the seats. The coupe is an “FHC,” or fixed head coupe, and the convertible is a “DHC,” or drop head coupe, with the top protruding above the body when folded, looking like a black-canvas-covered mattress.

Disc brakes but no walnut dash

This stunning XK 150S Roadster was finished in Carmen Red with black leather interior and chrome wire wheels. It had a 4-speed manual transmission with Laycock deNormanville overdrive. It was fitted with four-wheel disc brakes, which were a first for the XK, although it was possible to order an XK 150 with drums. The luxurious walnut dashboard, which had been fitted in the XK 120 and 140, was replaced with leather, and the bulkhead on the roadster was moved back to make it about four inches longer. Exterior changes included widening the hood, using a one-piece windshield, and incorporating a fender line that no longer dropped down over the doors. In a concession to the American market, the XK 150 was also fitted with wind-up windows.

The “S” option was introduced in 1958 and was available on all XK 150 models. With the three large SU carbs and Harry Weslake “straight port head,” it produced 250 hp. In 1959, a 3.8-liter “S” version, which provided 265 hp, was introduced; fewer than 100 are thought to have been produced. To put this sale in perspective, a 3.8 XK 150 sold at Gooding’s Pebble Beach sale in August 2006 for $269,500, which was thought to be an over-the-top number, while another is currently offered in the Netherlands for ?145,000 ($223,000).

With each public sale of an XK, the price guides are being revised upward. Jaguar people will argue well into the evening which of the three XKs are most desirable, but the appeal of the 150 is the “creature comforts” our traveling companions often demand; roll-up windows, added length to stretch your legs, and a bit more width make the journey more enjoyable.

At first glance, and if you haven’t been paying attention to the market the past couple years, the price paid here for this 1959 XK 150S Roadster could lead you to conclude that two determined bidders might have spent a bit too much time in the Florida sun. Further review of recent transactions, however, brings me to the conclusion that the buyer here, while aggressive, bought into an appreciation curve that looks to continue into the immediate future.

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