The beautiful, curvy, and almost feline-looking bodywork of the XK’s was fresh and exciting for the public in the 1940’s. Equally exciting was what was under the hood. In fact, the XK120 was originally meant as just an attention-grabbing show car to draw attention to the new XK engine, and it was only after the sensational demand for the car that Jaguar put the car into production.
The 3.4-liter XK straight-six that debuted in the XK120 and the Jaguar Mark V featured double overhead camshafts driven by chains, hemispherical combustion chambers, a cast iron crankcase, and an aluminum cylinder head. In its initial form, the XK made 160 horsepower and propelled Jaguar’s two-seater to a top speed of over 120 miles per hour, hence the name. It doesn’t sound like much today, but that was a blistering pace for the late 1940s. The XK120 was the world’s fastest production car when it was launched.
In various forms, the XK engine went on to win Le Mans five times and powered everything from big saloons to E-types and was used in passenger cars all the way up until 1992. There aren’t many engines this side of the small-block Chevy with that kind of resume.
The XK120 wasn’t just a turning point for Jaguar but a turning point in the sports car world in general. It was among the first truly new sports cars to hit Europe, and established Jaguar as one of the key players in international sports car racing. In America, where about 60 percent of XK120s wound up, both the Jag introduced many people to sports cars and road racing for the very first time. As a result the Corvette and Thunderbird were created to addressed this new demand for a 2 seat “sports car”.
This XK120 is in very good condition and drives great. The owner has followed a very diligent maintenance program and as a result this is a very much turn key sports car that you can show or just drive and enjoy the beautiful timeless lines.
From the Seller:
“I bought this 1952 XK120, in 1999 at an auction. The car is completely restored, rust free, and with a clean California title and registration. The restoration work was done sometime in the mid-90s and while it was done some time ago the car still shows immaculately. The car is in top shape with repair bills going back to the date I purchased it. The Old English White paint is in pristine condition with excellent shine to it and is paired with a lovely red interior that is showing only very slight wear from use over time. All the chrome has also been refinished, and the windshield glass is nice and clear. The car also comes with a Stayfast cloth top as well as side curtains. The exterior and interior of this car is what you want when looking for a great driver quality car.
Mechanically this XK 120 is very sound. Since its purchase the car has been checked over, tuned, and completely serviced and expertly maintained by British European Auto in San Pedro and the folks there can vouch for the excellent mechanical condition of the car. I have all the service records. From cold the Jag starts right up and settles into a smooth idle once the automatic chokes kick off. The engine sounds strong, with a throaty purr 🙂 The 4-speed manual gearbox is nice and tight without any unwanted vibrations, grinding, or rattling. The suspension feels great- tight-and the drum brakes are in good working order. Electrically, the headlights, tail lights, indicators, and windshield wipers all function. All gauges are operational and read accurately. I also have the original white wall tires, steering wheel and period specific manual for the car.
To sum up, you are getting a mechanically sound, and very attractive Jaguar XK 120. It is roadworthy and road ready! All this car really needs is someone to drive it. It has 93092 miles as of today, but I have only driven it approximately 3,000 miles since 1999.”