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Lot 357: Jaguar XK150 Drophead Coupe

The Spirit Of Motoring, Coys (4 October 2008)

At the 1948 London Motor Show, Jaguar had virtually thrown the sports car world into turmoil with its stunning XK120; the combination of style, speed, an outstanding chassis and remarkably low price was unbeatable and, without doubt, the XK120 was an absolute milestone for both Jaguar and the motor industry as a whole. At the heart of the William Lyons-styled roadster was Jaguar's all-new 3,442cc, twin overhead camshaft, straight six engine producing 160bhp via twin SU carburettors - sufficient for 120mph and 0-60mph in 12 seconds. Fine roadholding was ensured by the independent torsion bar/wishbone front suspension and semi-elliptic leaf-sprung rear axle, together with all-round drum brakes.

Succeeding the XK120 was the XK140 launched at the 1954 London Show. Visually similar but with a reshaped radiator grille with fewer, larger slats and 2+2 seating, thanks to engine and bulkhead being three inches further forward, a change which also realised almost 50/50 weight distribution, it remained mechanically the same but with suspension improved from lessons learnt on the race track. And now with 190bhp on tap, top speed rose to 110mph - or 129mph with optional overdrive and 210bhp special equipment engine - while the 0-60mph sprint dropped to 11 seconds. The final rendition of the XK appeared in May 1957. Easily identifiable by its higher scuttle and door line, and much wider grille, the XK150 retained the mechanical layout of its predecessor; in 210bhp XK150 S form, however, it marked a Jaguar first in having all-round disc brakes, an asset with 0-60mph acceleration of 8.5 seconds and a 125mph maximum. For 1960, the penultimate year of production, the 3,781cc engine was fitted which in S guise produced 265bhp, sufficient for 132mph and 0-60mph in just 7.5 seconds.

With just two owners from new, this fabulous example was first delivered to Wing Commander Reginald Presland, before passing, on his death, to his son Peter in 1981, up to which point it had a full service history and just 68,000 miles recorded. Subsequently, in the late 1990s, it was sold to the vendor as a solid, fully working car in good order. Unfortunately, upon close inspection, there appeared to be evidence of corrosion as well as wear on some of the mechanical elements. It was at then that the vendor decided that he wanted a completely straight car which would hold no surprises in the future, and over the next years it passed through a number of specialists on the road to completing a comprehensive restoration; indeed, it cannot be overemphasised enough just how meticulous this restoration turned out to be.

With no cap on expenditure, if the part in question was not 100% perfect, it was replaced. Initially the body was removed and all non-perfect sections replaced by parts supplied by Contour Autocraft, arguably, the best in the business. The chassis and body were then taken right back to bare metal, with the former etched, primed and prepared for painting in twin-pack paint matching the original Cotswold Blue. The engine was fully rebuilt by Peter Coburn of Macdonald Racing, the work including a rebored cylinder block, new pistons and a reground crankshaft, while all auxiliaries were replaced, balanced and uprated where necessary; the gearbox is a new Getrag five speed unit, transmitting power to new wire wheels sporting new Avon radial tyres. All electrical components have also been replaced, the system uprated to 12 volt specification place and a modern stereo with sympathetically positioned speakers hidden within the body. All glass is new, as are all window-winding mechanisms, and there are new locks and barrels, heater matrix and many other detail parts.

Immaculately trimmed in biscuit leather by the Jaguar Trim Centre in Birmingham, and with a double duck hood and fully restored wood surrounds, it could easily be argued that is the very best example available today. Not only has this elegant sports car been taken into the 21st century, it has been done so that one doesn't notice it and using only the best materials available. The sum of its parts far exceeds the estimate and if only the very best will do, this fabulous Jaguar XK150 must represent the pinnacle of XK ownership.

Lot Details
Auction The Spirit Of Motoring
Coys, London
TypeCar
Lot Number357
Estimate£60000-£75000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£74400
Year1960
Condition rating0
Registration numberUFN 999
Mileage-
Chassis number827480DN
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors