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Lot 364: Jaguar XK150SE 3.4-Litre Drophead Coupé

Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 December 2012)

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. 'The Jaguar XK150 is undeniably one of the world's fastest and safest cars. It is quiet and exceptionally refined mechanically, docile and comfortable... we do not know of any more outstanding example of value for money,' declared The Autocar. A sought after 'Special Equipment' model fitted with the manual gearbox, this XK150SE drophead coupé was supplied new to a Miss M A Gretton. There is an engineer's report on file dating from 1977 when the car was MoT'd stating that the next service is due at 20,693 miles while four subsequent MoTs for the period 1980-1984 show the mileage increasing from 18,476 to 20,097. In 1981 the XK was sold to Mr Alan H Lambert (having previously belonged to a Mr J Gorst) and five years later was taken off the road and placed in storage at the premises of reputable engineer Adam Pointer (Adams Engineering). Mr Pointer was later asked to bring the car up to 'A1' standard, and in 1995 some £15,000 was spent renewing the brakes and exhaust system, and attending to the bodywork. It was next MoT'd in 1998 (at 20,755 miles) and again in 2000 (at 24,217). The car passed to the keeper currently recorded on the accompanying Swansea V5C registration document (Mark A Lambert) in 2005. Finished in grey with red leather interior, this exceptionally low mileage XK150SE is offered with the aforementioned V5C, sundry invoices and correspondence, current road fund licence and MoT to July 2013.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Weybridge, Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands
Lot Number364
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£20000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£23000
Condition rating
Registration numberWXU 689
Chassis numberS827232DN
Engine numberV5824
Engine capacity (cc)24217
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2