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Lot 343: Jaguar XK140SE Drophead Coup�

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

For 1955, Jaguar present a range of models incorporating not only added refinements, but mechanical advances directly derived from their many outstanding successes in international competitive events. All the wealth of experience gained on the race-tracks of the world and in record-breaking speed and endurance tests is built into every Jaguar to provide for discriminating motorists the highest degree of efficient performance allied to comfort and safety.' - Jaguar Cars Ltd.

Launched in 1954, the Jaguar XK140 was broadly similar to, though more refined than, its sensational XK120 predecessor, major engineering changes being confined to the repositioning of the engine 3" further forward and the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering as used on the racing C-Type. The suspension and brakes remained much as before, though with stiffer torsion bars at the front and telescopic shock absorbers replacing the previous lever type at the rear. Like its forbear, the XK140 was built in three model types: roadster, coup� and drophead coup�, the latter two offering usefully increased cabin space and occasional rear seats. Outwardly the newcomer was distinguishable by its revised radiator grille, rear lights incorporating flashing indicators, and larger bumpers - the latter adopted to withstand the cut and thrust of urban parking.

The power unit remained Jaguar's well-tried, 3.4-litre, twin-cam six, which now produced 190bhp in standard trim thanks to higher-lift camshafts and revised porting. To ensure reliability, steel bearing caps replaced the previous cast-iron type. A close-ratio gearbox enabled better use to be made of the increased performance while Laycock-de Normanville overdrive became an option for the first time. Special Equipment (SE) XK140s came with wire wheels and Lucas fog lamps, and could be ordered with an engine developing 210bhp courtesy of the 'C'-type cylinder head. XK140 performance was well up to the standards set by its exemplary predecessor, contemporary magazine road-tests regularly recording top speed figures in excess of 120mph. Tested by Road & Track magazine, a USA-specification XK140MC (as the 'C'-type head-equipped SE version was known there) recorded a 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 121.1mph.

One of only 479 XK140 drophead coup�s made in right-hand drive configuration, and thus one of the rarest Jaguar models, this 'SE' version has the C-type cylinder head, dual exhaust system and overdrive transmission, and thus represents the model in its ultimate and most desirable form. Jaguar records confirm that chassis number 'S807451DN' was despatched from the factory via main dealers Henlys Limited in London to Bristowes Motor Works and the car was first owned by Major A Hickman of Dorset Clay Products, Poole, and registered JTK 826. The accompanying Jaguar Heritage Certificate records the original colour scheme as Pastel Blue with matching interior and French Grey hood (the present livery dates from circa 1990). Chassis engine and body numbers on this car all conform exactly with Jaguar Heritage records. This car has a known continuous history from October 1966 and earned a special place in Jaguar folklore when it was acquired by Paul Skilleter, author and publisher specialising in Jaguar cars. He writes:-

"JTK 826 is a very special car to me as it was my first Jaguar. I bought it for �250 in October 1966 and owned it for around two years, and saw an indicated 138mph on the spedo! During that time it became the 'founder car' of the XK Register".

The car passed in 1968 to specialist car dealer Cecil Bendall of Hitchin who sold JTK 826 to G R Hazel of Weston, near Hitchin, a somewhat reclusive character who used the car very little. Jaguar enthusiast Vic Beckwith subsequently bought the car from Hazel and carried out a high quality refurbishment of interior and exterior. Beckwith sold the car to respected Irish enthusiast, the late Derek Ryan of Dublin, who registered the car in Ireland 726 YZA. While in Ryan's ownership this car was fire damaged, passing then through the hands of two 'establishment' figures in the Irish old car world before acquisition by the present owner some twenty or more years ago. A careful restoration was embarked upon circa 1990, since when this car has seen little use while in the owner's collection. Recently gently re-commissioned, it is finished in Old English White with red leather interior. The car is described by the vendor as in generally very good condition. It is offered with the aforementioned Jaguar Heritage Certificate and is currently licenced in Ireland. Paul Skilleter featured this car in an article in Jaguar World in November/December 1996. The XK 140 Drophead Coup� model is well suited to snug, all-season, Continental touring or the more sporting motorist may prefer to fully exploit its 210bhp in more competitive events.

All proceeds of the sale will be donated to the registered charity, '3Ts � Turn The Tide Of Suicide'.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
Lot Number343
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£50000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£57500
Condition rating2
Registration number726 YZA
Chassis numberS807451DN
Engine numberG8699-8S
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2