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Lot 221: Jaguar XK 140 roadster

The Monaco Sale, Bonhams (11 May 2012)

The Jaguar XK 120 roadster created a sensation at the 1948 London Motor Show. Low and lithe, with a curvaceous envelope body, it had a newly-designed dual overhead cam six of 3,442cc. The model took its name from a May 1949 speed run by a production roadster on Belgium's Jabbeke Highway, where it was clocked at about 120mph. The first XK120s arrived in the United States in August 1949, West Coast deliveries beginning the following month. Priced at $3,945, it cost as much as a Lincoln Cosmopolitan and almost twice the sticker on an MG TC. But there was nothing else like it on the market. Of the 12,000 XK 120s built over the model's lifetime, most were left-hand drive, nearly all of them destined for North America. A handsome fixed-head coupé was added to the line in 1951, and a convertible, "drophead coupé" in the British parlance, with a more substantial top and roll-up side windows in 1953. For 1955, the chassis was redesigned, with larger torsion bars, better brakes and rack-and-pinion steering. The engine was given higher-lift camshafts, which had the effect of raising horsepower to 190. There were also subtle appearance changes, the grille with fewer, more widely spaced bars, and full-width bumpers front and rear. Flashing directional signals were located in the front wings, just above the bumper. Moving the engine three inches forward allowed a roomier cockpit, but required relocating the battery compartment into the front fender. The car was re-designated XK 140. The three body styles continued in production through mid-1957, each available in any of the three variants. The Laycock de Normanville electric overdrive available on some XK 120s was continued as an option, and during 1956 an automatic transmission, the first in a Jaguar sports car, became available on coupés and dropheads. The penultimate owners purchased this example in 2006, when it was fresh from restoration. Taking a good original example that had resided in a collection of Jaguars, the car had been subjected to a comprehensive rebuild of its cosmetics, with fine detail to the bodywork, re-painting the car to what was believed to be its original black livery. All of the chrome was re-done and a new interior was fitted and dyed to a deep red as a good contrast to the paint. New top bows and a new top were fitted. The drive-train was gone through at this point also, and overhauled where it was necessary. Presented with its original steel wheels, rear spats and attractive paint and trim scheme, this is an archetypal example of the rare XK 140 roadster in fine and usable order and Bonhams recommend close inspection of this fine example.

Lot Details
Auction The Monaco Sale
Bonhams, Monaco
Lot Number221
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number812743
Engine numberG8701-8
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2