Lot 328

Cliveden House

1955 Jaguar XK 140 SE Coupé by Michelotti


£300,000 - £350,000 GBP | Not Sold

United Kingdom | Taplow, Berkshire, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
S 814286
Engine No.
G 6245-8S
Cylinder Head No.
  • One-of-a-kind Jaguar XK 140 SE Coupé with unique coachwork by Giovanni Michelotti, one of the most prolific automotive designers of his time
  • Supplied new through Charles Delecroix of Paris; later damaged in an accident and rebodied in its current style
  • A rare example of a Jaguar chassis wearing Italian coachwork; aluminium body is recognisable with its fastback coupé shape with other details such as bonnet scoop and dual headlights
  • Formerly owned by Roland Urban, President of the French Jaguar Drivers’ Club
  • Now fitted with a correct-type XK 140 engine block
  • Accompanied by a certificate issued by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT)
  • A fascinating opportunity to revive a significant car

Over a career marked by contributions to some of the most recognisable automotive designs of all time, Giovanni Michelotti deserves legendary status as one of the most celebrated car creators ever. Growing up in Turin during Italy’s inter-war years, Michelotti came to prominence as a designer while the country scaled up its industrial effort and transitioned to post-war prosperity, set against a backdrop of an explosion in popularity for the motor car. His trade was in demand as Michelotti found work with legendary design houses including Allemano, Bertone, Ghia, Vignale, and more—all the while sculpting iconic creations for marques including Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, and Maserati.

Aside from Michelotti’s work with Italy’s most famous brands, the designer had a hand in many important cars made on English shores. The Italian was responsible for many of Triumph’s best-known cars further to undertaking many varied projects for British Leyland. Michelotti’s involvement with one particular British car will forever be remembered as a special undertaking, though. It is thought that the designer crafted bodies for only three Jaguar XK 140s—with the car offered here noted as the only example of its style.

Curiously, the Jaguar began life in standard XK 140 form; marked as completed on 25 May 1955 and leaving the factory one month later. Its original configuration was as a left-hand-drive Fixed Head Coupé in SE (Special Equipment) trim for the French market, finished in Cream over a Duo-Blue interior. The Jaguar was taken to Paris by Charles Delecroix’s import business and delivered to its first owner, a lady named Mademoiselle Jeanne Gaymard. The car had been enjoyed for two years before it was involved in an accident in 1957, at which point it is thought that the body and original engine were destroyed.

At this point, chassis S 814286 was presented to Michelotti. The designer capitalised on an opportunity to deploy his ideas for the XK 140 and sculpted the car into the unique form it shows today. Introducing an aluminium body finished in a fastback coupé style, Michelotti’s car was a marked departure from Jaguar’s original plans—bearing a slight resemblance to the designer’s other interpretation of the XK 140, fulfilled by Ghia—while representing a relatively forward-thinking shape for its time.

The front of the car is distinguishable with its bonnet scoop, double-headlight set-up, and oval grille, while its svelte fastback shape is complemented by a high waistline with chrome-lined side vents and the side-profile is completed by a pop-out rear window adjoining the driver’s door. Michelotti’s custom design extended inside the Jaguar, with the interior and dashboard instruments also changed—with much of the switchgear taken from Lancia designs.

While the earliest part of this car’s life with its new Michelotti-styled body is unknown, it is understood that the XK 140 SE was rediscovered in 1979 when it was acquired by Roland Urban, President of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club in France and collector of unique Jaguar models. At this point, the car is noted to have been fitted with a C-Type engine block, though this has since been removed. The Jaguar is currently equipped with a correct-type block (installed by CKL Developments between October 2023 and April 2024—invoices available to view on file).

Chassis S 814286 was later taken to Belgium, and in 1999 the XK 140 was acquired by one Mr Schepens of Ghent. A coachbuilder and Jaguar enthusiast, its Belgian owner is said to have treasured the car and used it regularly. After electing to restore the car, Mr Schepens sadly passed away in 2016 with the Jaguar in an unfinished state. After remaining in its late owner’s garage for two years with his other cars, the Jaguar was sold at auction as a project in 2018. The car was purchased by Jaguar Classic, the marque’s own heritage department, who reassembled the XK 140 with many period-correct parts but without beginning any restoration work, while the consigning owner has gone to great lengths to ensure that many period fittings and instruments are with the car, if not fitted. Also in 2018, the car appeared as part of the Cartier Style et Luxe display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Jaguar presents today in a still-unfinished state and would be an ideal opportunity for a dedicated marque enthusiast to return the car to its former glory. It is accompanied by a certificate issued by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. A significant Jaguar, this one-of-one XK 140 SE deserves to be restored to concours condition and will hopefully be seen again in its former glory at prestigious events such as Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach.