The Jaguar XK120 is a sports car produced by Jaguar between 1948-1954. It was Jaguar's first sports car since the SS 100, which ceased production in 1940. The XK120 was available as an open 2-seater and roadster at the 1948 London Motor Show, as a show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display model was the first prototype, which was almost identical to the production cars. The roadster was a success, so William Lyons (Jaguar founder and design boss) decided to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars had wood-framed open two-seater frames with aluminum panels. In the early 1950's production switched to the 1cwt or 51kg heavier all-steel. The "120" got its name from the aluminum cars' 120mph top speed, making it the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch. In 1949 the first production roadster was delivered to Clark Gable. Ultimately, the XK120 was available in two open versions, first as an open two-seater (known in the US as the roadster), then as a Drophead Coupe (DHC) in 1953; and in 1951 also as a closed (or fixed head) coupé (FHC). On May 30, 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke highway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 achieved an average of 132.6mph in opposite directions. In 1950 and 1951, on a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100mph for 24 hours and over 130mph for an hour. In 1952, an FHC set numerous world records for speed and distance averaging 100 miles per hour over a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying.
The first roadsters were built between late 1948 and early 1950. Beginning with model year 1950, all subsequent XK120s were mass-produced with steel-pressed frames. The DHC and FHC versions, more luxuriously furnished than the roadsters, had wind-up windows and also wood veneer on the dashboard and interior door caps. With aluminum cylinder heads and twin side-draft SU carburettors, the twin overhead camshaft 3.4L straight-6 XK engine was relatively advanced for a mass-produced vehicle of the time. With a standard 8:1 compression ratio it developed 160bhp, with 80 octane fuel. Most of the early cars were exported; the 7:1 lower compression version with reduced performance, were destined for the UK market. The Jaguar factory supplied the media with higher compression ratio roadsters. Journalists were able to test the model's optimal performance in Belgium, on a long, straight stretch of road between Jabbeke and Ostend. The XK engine base design (later changed to 3.8 and 4.2 liter versions) existed until the late 1980s. All XK120s had independent torsion bar front suspension, semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear, recirculating ball steering, telescopic steering column, and all-round 12'' drum brakes that were prone to wear. Some cars were equipped with aluminum finned drum brakes to prevent wear. The roadsters' lightweight canvas top and removable sidescreens stowed out of sight behind the seats, and the barchetta-style doors had no external grab handles; instead, there was an internal pull cord, accessed through a flap in the sidescreen. The windshield can be removed to replace it with aeroscreens. The Drophead Coupe (DHC) had a padded, lined canvas top, which folded onto the aft deck behind the seats when retracted, and roll-up windows with opening quarter lights. The flat glass 2-piece windshield is housed in a steel frame that was integrated with the body and painted in the same color. Dashboards and door-caps in both the DHC and the FHC were wood veneered, while the more spartan roadsters were upholstered in leather. All models had removable spats over the rear wheel arches, which enhanced the streamlined look. On cars with optional center-lock wire wheels, the spats were omitted. From 1953, chrome wire wheels were optional. In addition to the wire wheels, the Special Equipment version (called M version in the United States) had more power, stiffer suspension and a dual exhaust.
In November 1949, The Motor magazine tested an XK120 roadster. This pre-production car registered as HKV 455, was the first prototype built. It was also the 1948 London Motor Show show model. In testing, the car had an 8:1 compression ratio, fitted with a floorpan, hood and sidescreens installed. The magazine reported a top speed of 124.6mph, acceleration from 0 to 60mph in 10.0 seconds and fuel consumption of 19.8 miles per imperial gallon.
Buy the classic Jaguar XK120
Finding a Jaguar XK120 that's right for you is the number one priority. The search for your dream car often starts online. ERClassics has done everything it can to give you an idea of the cars, so every car on our own site is provided with a photo report, 360 degrees images, a video and background information about the car can be found. Would you rather view the car physically? Then you can visit our showroom in Waalwijk, the Netherlands. Check our website for opening times.
High quality Jaguar XK120 classic car at E&R Classics
All classic cars offered by us, including the Jaguar XK120, are checked against a list with 125 points. This assessment is performed by one of our own technicians. Delivering classic cars that are in perfect condition is of great importance to ERClassics. The classic cars offered by us are therefore of high quality. If you would like more information about maintenance on a classic car or if you are wondering what mechanics in classic car workshops do, click here.
Trade in or sell your Jaguar XK120 classic car
At ER Classics you can buy a Jaguar, but we also offer the option to sell your current classic car or to trade it in. If you would like more information about selling or trading in your classic car, please contact one of our classic car experts. You can of course also visit our showroom to discuss the possibilities
Maintenance on a classic car
Of course every car needs maintenance, and it can sometimes happen that something needs to be repaired. It is no different for a classic car. Because you like to keep your classic car in top condition, a good garage is important. Any garage can provide you with maintenance, but sometimes you just need that extra bit of specialism, then you can choose to take your classic car to a classic car workshop where they focus on 1 brand or type of classic car. The mechanics often work with the same classic cars and have thus specialized in maintenance or repairs on that specific vehicle.
ER Classics has the right classic Jaguar XK120 for you!
What are the advantages of buying a Jaguar XK120 classic at ER Classics?
- Wide range of Jaguar classics for sale
- All classic cars have been thoroughly checked by our own workshop
- Own workshop with 20 mechanics
- Registration and inspections
- Worldwide transport to the door
- High quality and service
- Trade-in options
- Customers rate us with a 8.9
Europe's number 1 online classic car dealer
If you are looking for a beautiful new Jaguar XK120, you will be assisted by one of our own classic car experts. ERclassics has specialized in the purchase and sale of classic cars since 2008 and can rightly call itself Europe's number 1 online classic car dealer.