1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

Imported from America in 1988 and just two private owners since; current owner 17 years; always kept in a heated garage and never goes out in the rain; a really genuine and usable XK120 in a lovely colour scheme

Unveiled at the 1948 Earls Court Motorshow, the Jaguar XK120 Roadster was a miraculous achievement on many levels. Not only did it look drop-dead gorgeous, it also had one of the finest engines ever made on these shores, the superb XK twin cam straight-six which was to power the C-Type to victory at Le Mans and was to continue to power Jaguars right up until 1992.

The fact that this epic machine emerged from the shattered ruins of Coventry so soon after the war had ended made it all the more heroic. By the time it gave way to the larger XK140 in 1954, some 12,055 XK120s had been sold, the overwhelming majority in left-hand drive for the American market, of which 7,612 were roadsters.

As the Heritage Certificate confirms, this XK120 Roadster is one of those export cars, leaving the Browns Lane factory in June 1950 en route to Hornburg of Los Angeles. Originally finished in Pastel Blue, it had a two-tone Duo Blue interior and a French Grey soft top. A very early car, it has aluminium doors, bonnet and boot and drum brakes all round.

Imported back to the UK in 1988 and converted to RHD, it was then acquired by a John Butts of Newport, Wales, who was to keep it for the next 17 years. There are very few invoices covering this period, although notes on file state that the engine was rebuilt by VSE of Llandindrod Wells in 1996 (the original engine was W1674-8 but the one in the car today is W2373-8).

An invoice shows that all the dash instruments were either renewed or rebuilt by Vintage Restorations of Tunbridge Wells in 1999, the odometer being re-set to zero, according to old MOTs on file. There are also some undated photos which show the car being repainted at some point during Mr Butts’ ownership.

Our vendor acquired the car from Mr Butts in 2005 and has used it very lightly in fine weather only, 15 old MOTs showing that it has covered barely 1,500 miles during his 17-year ownership, the odometer currently showing 2,755 miles. He states that it has never been out in the rain and has always been kept in a heated garage when not in use. The car does have a full set of weather gear (hood; sidescreens; tonneau cover) which still look virtually new because they have never been used.

Various invoices attest to routine upkeep during the current ownership, including a new set of chrome wire wheels in 2005, shod with a set of Vredestein tyres. The brake drums, master cylinder and slave cylinders were also replaced in 2005, along with the front wheel bearings. In 2006 the starter motor was replaced. The fuel pump was rebuilt in 2007 and the carburettors were rebuilt in 2008 when it also got new front wheel cylinders, track rod ends and front suspension bushes. The brake fluid was replaced in 2015 and 2020. The dynamo and regulator were also replaced in 2020. The vendor tells us that the oil and filters have been changed annually.  

The vendor also states that the car drives very well, with good oil pressure and temperature and has no significant mechanical defects that he is aware of. Fitted with two new batteries shortly before the auction, it has been starting promptly and running nicely as we have moved it around on site with good 70psi oil pressure. The doors open and close beautifully and the car looks wonderful in light blue metallic, although the eagle-eyed will spot a few minor defects in the bodywork here and there, principally on the front wings where they meet the bonnet.

A really genuine XK in a lovely colour scheme, it now only needs a caring new custodian who can give it the more regular exercise it deserves.

For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email james.dennison@brightwells.com

Reg No: SSJ814
Chassis Number: 670336
Engine Number: W2373-8
Engine Size: 3442cc
Docs: V5C; old style V5C; 15 old MOTs; invoices; photos; Heritage Certificate; technical literature; parts catalogues

Sale Section & Buyers Premium (ex VAT): Car 12%, Minimum £150

Estimate: £65,000-75,000

Lot 318

Lot ended

Thursday 23/06/2022

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

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