1955 Jaguar XK 140 SE "Heuber Roadster"
Amelia Island - A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith
- Built for longtime Jaguar dealer Christian Heuber as “the ultimate XK”
- Numerous engineered-in modifications by longtime Penske mechanics
- Perhaps the most thrilling XK 140 imaginable, perfect for road rallies or performance events
According to information received with this XK 140, it was built to its current configuration for the late gentleman enthusiast and longtime Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Jaguar dealer, Christian Heuber. Mr. Heuber commissioned the car from two longtime Roger Penske racing mechanics, LeRoy Gane and Harry Tidmarsh, who had worked for Penske on everything from “birdcage” Maseratis to TransAm Camaros. His request was simple: build the best XK 140 in the world. The result, shown here, reportedly took eight years to complete.
The body remains largely stock, though in fitting the car with new Borrani 15×7-inch knock-off wheels, new rear fenders had to be handcrafted of aluminum, to accommodate them, while the front fenders were slightly widened to suit. The trunk lid was reshaped in a lighter-weight aluminum, eliminating the heavy wooden framing beneath. Mr. Tidmarsh hand-shaped the belly pans to fit over the chassis and executed what were described as “impossibly difficult” diminishing louvers on the hood, utilizing three separate hand-tooled, adjustable louver presses! The driver and passenger are seated in custom-fabricated, lightweight aluminum racing seats, facing dual racing windshields.
The engine and transmission were mounted front-to-back, lowering the center of gravity and improving front/rear weight balance, with the engine solid-mounted to the frame, a lesson learned from TransAm experience. The engine itself was built up with a block overbored and stroked, to just over 4½ liters displacement, and fitted with Iskenderian-ground Piper camshafts, exceptionally large valves, Arias pistons with 10.5:1 compression, a complex multi-chambered oil pump, high-output oil pump, a substantial racing oil cooler, custom competition-style exhaust, and a lightweight aluminum bronze flywheel. The transmission is a competition CR Moss-type gearbox built by Alan George and Mr. Gane, with a double roller bearing lower shaft, robust overdrive, and a custom-built shifting tower, and connects to torque tube drive to a very heavy-duty Jaguar solid rear axle assembly. The suspension was outfitted with modern Aston Martin-type adjustable Panhard bars, while the rear suspension was specially designed by Gane and Tidmarsh.
While in previous Florida ownership, the Heuber XK 140 was driven by none other than the legendary Brian Redman, who noted that “all of this work is to the highest standard. The triple-plate competition clutch is slightly heavier than normal, and the “take-up” is sharper than with a regular clutch. However, neither of these things are in any way a nuisance. In spite of being in “competition” trim, the motor is very tractable, pulling easily from low revs without hesitation . . . I drove and cornered the XK 140 up to 70 mph on public roads – was very pleasant . . . .”
Simply put, few XK 140s are as much fun as this car, built for a true enthusiast by the best in the business. As strong a 1000-mile rally candidate as one might imagine, it has a lot of show and all of the go!