1956 Jaguar XK 140 MC Drophead Coupe
Amelia Island - A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith
- Rare and highly developed XK 140 MC chassis with C-Type cylinder head
- A high-quality older restoration in attractive overall condition
- Inviting as presented to drive and enjoy
The XK 140 was launched at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1954. It was essentially a re-engineered XK 120 intended specifically for the North American market—a market becoming increasingly more important to Jaguar. Nearly 90 percent of all models were sold with left-hand drive and exported stateside during the model run from 1954–1957. All three body styles of the 120 were retained with dynamic styling in the mold of its forerunner, with its most important distinction, a roomier cockpit.
Jaguar moved the bulkhead three inches forward, affording more legroom for tall drivers. The dashboard was raised an inch to give extra room beneath the steering wheel, and roadsters were given an extra three inches of seat travel. These changes combined to make the XK 140 cockpit a more pleasing driving environment for American drivers. Lucas J700 headlamps, different front turn indicators and rear taillights, number plate mountings, and for the first time, a boot lid handle, would subtly change the exterior appearance over the XK 120.
Badging proclaimed Jaguar’s Le Mans wins, and the chrome strip that ran down the bonnet continued on the boot lid, which, like the bonnet and doors, would be skinned in aluminum. An improved cooling system with an eight-blade fan, rack-and-pinion steering, sturdier bumpers, and a single 12-volt battery replaced the twin 6-volt units that lived under the bonnet (rather than behind the seats). In drophead coupe form, the cockpit is finished luxuriously, with the famous Jaguar burled walnut dash, real windup windows, and a fully integrated convertible top. Many enthusiasts consider the XK 140 the pinnacle of the XK series of Jaguars, offering a combination of XK 120 style with the comfort and usability of the later XK 150.
This particular Old English White car, one of Stephanie Smith’s prized possessions, carries the highly desirable MC designation (known as SE elsewhere) used only in North America; “M” denotes modified and “C” refers to the C-type cylinder head as used on the racing C-type. Horsepower is further increased to 210 in the MC version thanks to the performance head option with its bigger valves and improved porting. Only the twin exhaust gives it away from the exterior. On this particular car, both the engine block and head stampings match, and are believed to be original; they also match the numbers on the original serial number plate under the hood.
Reportedly previously with the same Northern California owner over for 30 years, the car was professionally repainted and fitted with a new blue interior and top in 2006, and it is believed to have undergone a full engine rebuild at the same time. The brakes have been upgraded to four-wheel discs, behind 16-inch chrome wire “knock-off” wheels shod in Coker Classic whitewall radial tires. Other desirable features include front and rear bumper overriders, dual fender-mounted wing mirrors, a telescopic steering wheel, and driving lights. The interior shows light wear from driving enjoyment, while the bodywork and finish remain in fine condition, aside from evidence of minor bumps to the nose at an earlier date. The burled walnut dashboard is in lovely condition and holds clear, attractive gauges, with the odometer noting 924 miles, presumably since completion of the restoration. Accompanying the car is a reproduction owner’s handbook, a car cover, and a top boot.
An excellent XK 140, to the highest specification and thrilling to drive, this car would be a joy for a new owner – particularly on winding seaside roads, with a dash of extra comfort for long-distance touring.
Please note that contrary to the catalogue description, this car is equipped with stock four-wheel drum brakes.