Jaguar turned the motoring world upside-down and inside-out when it introduced the XK 120 in 1948. It combined a powerful 160-bhp twin-cam straight-six with the most sensuous body ever seen on a production automobile. The combination of the 120-mph top speed, beauty and value had the celebrities lining up for their copies. Basic specifications called for mating the gorgeous 3.4-liter twin-cam engine to a four-speed Moss gearbox. Front suspension was independent by torsion bars, while the driven solid rear axle was suspended—and located—by longitudinal leaf springs.

A fixed-head coupe and a drophead coupe soon joined the original OTS (open two-seater). In 1954, the XK 120 was superceded by the more luxurious XK 140, which adopted the 190-bhp engine as its base power plant and offered much more comprehensive bumper protection. Using the cylinder head from the Le Mans-winning C-type, the Special Equipment XK 140—often referred to as the MC—was propelled by a 210-bhp version of the lusty 3.4-liter engine.

The final iteration of the classic Jaguar XK came along in 1957 with the XK 150. The 3.4-liter engine remained essentially unchanged, as did the 102-inch wheelbase. However, the extensive alterations to the body made this look almost like an entirely new car, although the Jaguar family resemblance was still striking. The big news, though, was that every XK 150 came standard with four-wheel disc brakes, the innovation that had helped the famed Coventry marque conquer Le Mans repeatedly. Like the XK 140 it replaced, the 150 was offered from the onset in open two-seater, fixed-head coupe, and drophead coupe forms. Arguably the most elegant of the XK 150 line, the drophead offered greater comfort and superior weather protection than the OTS model.

This spectacular XK 150 was delivered new to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1960. Although it has always been a Canadian car, it is absolutely rust-free. In the mid-’90s, the car was stripped to the base metal and refinished in gleaming British Racing Green. The owner proudly states that the body was prepared by “an English panel beater” who used only lead solder in those instances where filler was required. Inside, the interior is trimmed in tan leather and the top is of black mohair cloth. To set off the gleaming rich green paint and contrasting tan upholstery, the car rolls on correct 16-inch chrome wire wheels.

Although this genuine, three-owner, 83,000-mile car has never required any major mechanical work or restoration, it has had a complete overhaul of the braking system, a new fuel tank and stainless steel exhaust. The original 3.4-liter engine runs beautifully and the overdrive Moss gearbox is in fine fettle.

In every respect, this is an excellent example of a most sought-after British classic, in a most appealing color scheme. This car is perfect to tour, show, or simply covet.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1960 Jaguar XK 150
Years Produced:1957-60
Number Produced:Approx. 2,600
Original List Price:$4,763
SCM Valuation:$32,000-$47,500
Tune Up Cost:$500
Distributor Caps:$45
Chassis Number Location:Plate riveted to engine compartment firewall on right side of car
Engine Number Location:Stamped on engine block above oil filter
Club Info:Jaguar Clubs of North America, 888/258-2524
Alternatives:Jaguar XK 140 DHC, Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8, AC Ace Bristol, Porsche 356B Cabriolet, Aston Martin DB2/4 DHC

This car sold at no reserve for $29,900, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams & Brooks Quail Lodge sale, held August 17, 2001.

The most striking feature of the XK 150 drophead coupe is that there really isn’t any collectible car that is directly comparable. With more than 200 horses on tap, an all-day cruising capability at speeds over 100 mph, four-wheel disc brakes more than able to rein those horses in and a spacious, leather-trimmed interior fitted with luxurious wood and a lined convertible top, it was really the first true convertible touring car. It certainly wasn’t a sporting automobile; leave that to its XK 120 and XK 140 predecessors. This was, in fact, the convertible version of the executive-express sports sedan, the Mark 1, that Jaguar created during the same period.

The XK 150 was fatter, heavier and less responsive—one of the period road tests called it “podgy”—than other two-seat sports cars of the day. But it was also more reliable and more comfortable while giving up nothing in top speed. If you’re thinking of taking a thousand-mile tour among New England’s forests or the mountains of Colorado, this is the car for you. Just don’t expect to make fastest time of day in the Jaguar Club autocross.

Buying an XK 150 should be done very carefully. Philip Porter, one of the world’s experts on all things Jaguar, says, “buying an XK is a high-risk sport… The cars are without doubt among the most difficult to restore.”

If any rust is encountered, bodywork can be complicated and expensive, and it takes a Jaguar specialist to do a decent job of rebuilding mechanical systems. Even with everything intact, at 83,000 miles this car is going to need a full mechanical overhaul soon, though the buyer can probably expect two years or so of decent use. At least the paint and bodywork have already been refreshed.

On the other hand, when bidding stalls at $29,000, it’s time to get the paddle up. For the price of an average Austin-Healey, this buyer got a marvelous car to drive and enjoy until he decides to restore it or sell it.—Gary Anderson

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