Skip to main content

A Piece of Hollywood and Jaguar History
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Company press release.

A Piece of Hollywood and Jaguar History  Clark Gable's 'Best in Class' 1949 XK120

This weekend, a very special XK120 graced the judging field at the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance. This particular XK120 is significant, not only because it was named 'Best in Class,' but because its first owner was none other than Hollywood icon Clark Gable, a devoted Jaguar enthusiast.

Gable's XK120, chassis No. 670003, was judged 'Best in Class' in the 'Postwar Sports Open' category. The car is owned by Mr. Jeff Lotman, of Los Angeles and was restored and prepared for the Pebble Beach Concours by Derek Hood of JD Classics in Maldon, Essex in the U.K.

Gable was a self-admitted 'car nut,' who was already the proud owner of a Jaguar Mark IV Drop Head Coupe. When the XK120 was announced, Gable said that 'he wanted it like a child wants candy!' A friend of West Coast Jaguar distributor Charles Hornburg, Gable went to International Motors on Wilshire Boulevard in Hollywood and insisted that he be sold the very first XK120 to arrive on the West Coast.

A Piece of Hollywood and Jaguar History  

Gable was initially disappointed as the very first XK120 delivered to International Motors was for display purposes only and could not be driven or sold. In fact, the 3.4 liter XK engine in the car did not even have a crankshaft.

The cars were at a premium after their unveiling at the Earl's Court Motor Show in 1948. In fact, as would later happen again with the Jaguar E-Type a decade later, Jaguar thought they could probably sell 250 of the new cars. But demand was so high, 240 hand-beaten aluminum bodied cars were made to fill some of the outstanding orders until the actual production tooling for steel bodied cars could be installed.

While most of the early aluminum-bodied XK120s were intended for racing, this XK120 was the first customer car to leave the Holbrook Lane production line in June 1949. Built as a left-hand drive car, Gable's XK120 was exported to California in September 1949 to Charles Hornburg's Los Angeles distributorship before finally reaching International Motors, the Hollywood dealership of Roger Barlow.

Originally painted Suede Green, the car was re-sprayed to Gable's specifications. Its unique color is known as 'Gable Grey' and it was actually mixed by Roger Barlow and Clark Gable. During the restoration process, UK classic car specialist JD Classics then recreated the color as part of its painstaking 17-month restoration of the vehicle.

While researching this car, JD Classics discovered a feature article written by Clark Gable himself in the March 1950 issue of Road & Track magazine. In it, he mentions his attempt on one of Southern California's dry lakes to reach the XK120's official 132 mph top speed, which was a world record at the time for standard production vehicles. He managed to 124 mph in his completely stock and unmodified car.

Derek Hood, the driving force behind JD Classics, found Gable's XK120 outside of Dallas, Texas, where its then owner had disassembled the car and had parts in baskets, scattered between three sheds. At that point, chassis No. 670003 had been 'lost' for many years. It is the only one of the three XK120s Clark Gable owned to be found and verified as one he had owned.

Jaguar Cars and the Jaguar Heritage Trust are delighted that this car has now been restored and has taken its rightful place among some of the most exquisite cars in the world as a winner at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

   Recent Articles
ATLANTA TO HOLD FIRST-EVER METROPOLITAN AREA CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE

• Velocity Channel 'What's My Car Worth' co-host, Keith Martin, named honorary head judge

• Twelve luxury Ride-and-Drive Experiences will be available to attendees


ATLANTA - AUGUST 25, 2016
- For the first time, a Concours competition and celebration of some of the world's most beautiful automobiles will be held in a major metropolitan area that boasts more than 7 million in population. The Atlanta Concours d'Elegance, scheduled for October 8-9, 2016 at Château Élan Win....
The Pebble Beach Auctions Presented By Gooding & Company Generates Over $129 Million – Sets New Two-Day Sale Record For The Auction House

Four cars sell above $10 million, 26 cars above $1 million
New auction records for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Porsche, Packard, and Maserati
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (August 22, 2016) – Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, realized more than $129.8 million at the annual Pebble Beach Auctions this weekend, resulting in a two-day sales company record. During the two-day auction event, the company sold 115 of 138 lots, an 83%....
Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Auctions Achieves Highest One-Day Sale With More Than $76 Million

The Auction House Celebrates Highest Single-Day Sale and Most Expensive Lot in Company History - 13 Cars Sold Above the $1 Million Mark
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (August 21, 2016) – Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, realized more than $76.7 million during the first of its two-evening Pebble Beach auction event. The auction house acclaimed for its world-class consignments and record-breaking prices delivered an 88% sales rate as 70 ....
JD CLASSICS WINS MAJOR AWARDS AT PEBBLE BEACH FOR THE SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR

◾JD Classics entries awarded second in class and third in class at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
◾Wins for the Ford GT40 Mark III Prototype and Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' Alloy mark the seventh consecutive year JD Classics has won a major award at the event
◾Contested by more than 200 vehicles, and featuring a team of more than 100 experienced judges, the Concours d'Elegance is one of the world's finest classic car events

Maldon, Essex, Tuesday 23rd August: JD ....
COKER DOMINATES THE FIELD AT PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS

Coker Tire-equipped classics took home Best of Show and 15 Best in Class wins out of 26 classes, with 77 out of the 110 cars in pre-war classes riding on Coker Tires, at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Chattanooga, Tenn. (August, 2016) – The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is one of the most prestigious car shows in the world – so much so, attendees fly across the globe just to attend the event. The Concours is the perfect event to cap off a spectacular and e....
2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio  2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio  2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio  2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio  2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio  
2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante
2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante  2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante  2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante  2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante  2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante  
2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Monster by Mulliner
2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Monster by Mulliner  2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Monster by Mulliner  2016 Bentley Continental GT V8 S Monster by Mulliner  
2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept
2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept  2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept  2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept  2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept  2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Pebble Beach Concept  
2016 Cadillac Escala Concept
2016 Cadillac Escala Concept  2016 Cadillac Escala Concept  2016 Cadillac Escala Concept  2016 Cadillac Escala Concept  2016 Cadillac Escala Concept  
2016 Ferrari LaFerrari
2016 Ferrari LaFerrari  2016 Ferrari LaFerrari  2016 Ferrari LaFerrari  2016 Ferrari LaFerrari  2016 Ferrari LaFerrari  
2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium
2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium  2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium  2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium  2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium  
2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition
2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition  2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition  2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition  2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition  2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition  
2016 Lexus GS 200t
2016 Lexus GS 200t  2016 Lexus GS 200t  2016 Lexus GS 200t  2016 Lexus GS 200t  2016 Lexus GS 200t  
2016 Lexus LX 570
2016 Lexus LX 570  2016 Lexus LX 570  2016 Lexus LX 570  2016 Lexus LX 570  2016 Lexus LX 570