St. John's | Lot 123

1954 Jaguar XK120 M Roadster

$80,000 - $120,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

27 July 2013

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Rare “Special Equipment” XK120
  • Purposely modified to reflect Jaguar's racing heritage
  • Stunning black on red combination with matching red wire wheels

180 hp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front independent suspension with double wishbones, rear live axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

Originally designed to maintain public interest in the company, Jaguar envisioned the new XK120 as a hand-built specialty vehicle of just 200 alloy-bodied, ash-framed units. However, the demand for the new post-war Jaguar was so high after its debut at the 1948 London Motor Show that Jaguar Cars, of Coventry, was forced to put the vehicle into production.

Without doubt, Jaguar’s brilliant XK120 forever changed the motoring world as one of the most influential sports car designs of all time, with performance that remains impressive even by today’s standards. The XK Jaguar was given the body type number of 120, to represent its top speed. This actually proved to be an understatement when factory test driver Ron Sutton was clocked in a prototype on a Belgian road at over 132 mph! Race versions of the XK120 proved potent in the hands of drivers like Stirling Moss and Phil Hill, who both recorded important victories in 1949. The superb twin-cam, six-cylinder engine was to become a mainstay of all future Jaguar products, and it provided five Le Mans 24 Hour victories between 1951 and 1957.

Original and beautifully restored XK120s are so prized these days that sometimes the competition history of the model itself—its raison d’etre in the first place, if you will—is obscured. To maintain the XK120’s competitive edge on the racing circuit and the sales floor, a series of improvements punctuated its six-year production run. One of the most desirable upgrades arrived in 1953. Simply named SE, for “Special Equipment” (also known as M in the U.S.), this variant produced 180 horsepower with the addition of high-lift camshafts, stiffer valve springs, SU H8 carburetors, and dual exhaust outlets, while wire-spoke wheels and a host of other desirable features heralded its arrival as the fastest XK120 available from Coventry.

This left-hand drive 1954 Jaguar XK120 M is a wonderful example that is presented in near-concours condition, and it continues to benefit from a meticulous restoration, with every system either new or rebuilt. Well-finished and presented, its body has been modified in the style of a period road-racer, with a sporting louvered hood and front quarter-panels and no bumpers, resulting in a tremendously purposeful appearance. The aggressive black finish is set off by the red leather interior and matching red-finished wire wheels. Undoubtedly, this would be a thrilling Jaguar to enjoy on the road, with the same verve enjoyed by its original owner decades ago. It is “Special,” indeed.

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