Driving into Summer | Lot 127
1953 Jaguar XK 120 SE Drophead Coupe
$90,000 - $110,000 USD | Not Sold
| Lompoc, California
21 - 29 May 2020
- Desirable, factory-built 'SE' model restored in its original colors
- Shipped new to Max Hoffman’s New York distributorship, a US car from new
According to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, this particular XK 120 was fitted from new with the desirable Special Equipment package. Referred to as the SE or M (for “Modified”) package on US-delivery XKs, this was introduced in 1951 to keep the XK 120 competitive against its European rivals. The package consisted of outfitting the engine with high-lift camshafts, stiffer rear springs, dual exhausts, and a lightened flywheel. This helped to give the engine an additional 20 horsepower, bringing total output to 180 horsepower.
Originally finished in black with a red leather interior and a black top, this XK 120 was completed by Jaguar on 8 May 1953 and was dispatched to Max Hoffman’s iconic New York City distributorship one week later. While its early life is largely unknown, it is believed that the car resided in the Midwest during the 1970s, as it was shown at the Jaguar Association of Greater Chicago Concours d’Elegance in 1976 and 1977. Later, it was purchased by Fredrick Bainbridge III, an architect residing in Ivy, Virginia in 1992 and was immediately shipped to Grand Touring Classics of Charlottesville, Virginia, where it was fully restored in its original colors.
Upon acquisition by its current owner in California in 2013, the car was sent for a cosmetic and mechanical refreshing at Automotive Technical Service of Bakersfield, California. This included new paint, upholstery, a new burl walnut dashboard and windowsills, rechromed front and rear bumpers, and new chrome wire wheels with whitewall tires. Importantly, the car retains its original cylinder head, gearbox, and bodywork, though the engine block is an unstamped replacement unit. It is accompanied today by an owner's and technical manuals, tool kit, jack, grease gun, tire pump, wheel knock-off hammer, and bumpers. Also, the car is fitted with a windshield washer system, and a very efficient heater/demister system, and roll-up windows.
Since its most recent refreshening, the Jaguar has appeared at a handful of shows in California, including the 2017 Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance and the 2017 Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally, where it won Best Jaguar. Ready for more shows or to be enjoyed on the open road, this beautiful XK 120 will surely receive plenty of attention wherever it goes.