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Lot 361: Jaguar XK150 3.8-Litre Drophead Coupé

Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia, Bonhams (2 July 2010)

What would turn out to be the final glorious incarnation of Jaguar's fabulous 'XK' series of sports cars arrived in 1957. As its nomenclature suggests, the XK150 was a progressive development of the XK120 and XK140, retaining the same basic chassis, 3.4-litre engine and four-speed Moss transmission of its predecessors while benefiting from a new, wider body that provided increased interior space and improved visibility courtesy of a single-piece wrap-around windscreen, replacing the XK140's divided screen. Cleverly, the new body used many XK120/140 pressings, the increased width being achieved by means of a 4"-wide central fillet. A higher front wing line and broader radiator grille were other obvious differences, but the new model's main talking point was its Dunlop disc brakes. Fade following repeated stops from high speed had been a problem of the earlier, drum-braked cars, but now the XK had stopping power to match its prodigious straight-line speed. Introduced in the spring of 1957, the XK150 was available at first only in fixed and drophead coupé forms, the open roadster version not appearing until the following year. At 190bhp, the engine's maximum power output was identical to that of the XK140, so performance was little changed. 'Special Equipment' and 'S' versions came with 210 and 250bhp respectively, the latter delivering an astonishing 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. This was achieved by the introduction of the Weslake-developed 'straight-port' cylinder head, high-compression pistons, triple 2" SU carburettors and twin electric fuel pumps. Overdrive and a Borg-Warner automatic gearbox were the transmission options, the latter becoming an increasingly popular choice, while a Thornton Powr-Lok limited-slip differential was available for the XK150S. Steel wheels remained the standard fitting, though XK150s so equipped are a great rarity, as most were sold in SE (Special Equipment) specification with centre-lock wire wheels. The much-admired chromed Jaguar mascot was made available as an optional extra on an XK for the first time. In the autumn of 1959 the XK150 became available with the 3.8-litre engine first seen in the Mark IX saloon. 'Standard' (220bhp) or 'S' (265bhp) states of tune were offered (the latter featuring overdrive as standard) and in either form the XK150's increased weight was more than offset by the power of the larger engine, the car regularly recording in excess of 130mph in magazine road tests. The car we offer is one of only 662 right-hand drive XK150 drophead coupés made between May 1957 and October 1960. Originally a 3.4-litre, automatic transmission model, it has  we are advised  been fitted with a 3.8-litre, triple-carburettor XK150S engine and a modern automatic gearbox. The car was sold new via Charles Follett Ltd to Radiovisor Parent Ltd, of London SW19, passing in 1960 to Thomas Dawkins, of Rington, Bristol, who kept it for the next 37 years. Its next owner was a Mr Leal-Green, of Benenden, Kent, who had the car sympathetically restored and repainted  leaving the interior original  and is said to have commissioned the aforementioned mechanical upgrades. During Mr Leal-Green's ownership the Jaguar was maintained by Maidstone Sports Cars. In 2007 'VAH 334' was purchased by the current (fourth) owner and despatched to Jaguar XK specialists, Twyford Moors, who had already done some work on it for Mr Leal-Green, for updating with inertia-reel seatbelts and halogen headlights, the tonneau cover being replaced and the shut lines adjusted at the same time. The car is described by the enthusiast vendor as in generally very good condition, with excellent engine, and is reputedly capable of relaxed 100mph cruising at 3,500 revs. Finished in silver with original red leather upholstery, 'VAH 334' is offered with old-style logbook, lubrication poster, owner's manual, sundry maintenance/restoration invoices, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chichester, Sussex
Lot Number361
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£47000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£53200
Condition rating2
Registration numberVAH 334
Chassis numberS827130BW
Engine numberV4483-8
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2