Competition is not bad. It is how one handles competition that makes all the difference. If understood correctly, competition can be a great part of one's life as it can motivate to do something better than had been done before, or, increase one's own level of performance to a whole different standard.
In the late 1950s, Jaguar faced tremendous competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. BMW had introduced its 507 Roadster with a 3.2 liter V-8 engine and Mercedes-Benz unveiled its 300SL in 1955 with a 3.0 liter six-cylinder engine. These were favorites in its day, as they still are even now. This was tremendous and fierce competition to have to face off against. The question for Britain's sports car production company was, 'How would they respond?' Would the company see the challenge as an opportunity, or, would it bow to the German auto makers? Jaguar did not bow and, in fact, responded with a true classic of its own.
The car company already had been producing its familiar and well-loved XK-series, but, in 1957, it introduced what was, perhaps, its best evolution of the chassis, the XK150.
The XK150 bore a striking resemblance to its 120 and 140 predecessors, but its similarities ended with the aesthetics. In almost all respects the car was a revolutionary step-up from the 120 and 140.
The engine bonnet was widened, as was the grille. The two-piece windscreen that had been seen on the 120 and 140 had been replaced with a single curved windscreen. The profile lines of the car didn't drop and fall away toward the rear of the car as had been designed in the 140. Instead, the XK150 had a higher profile around the doors.
Underneath the engine bonnet lie another of the improvements. The XK150 had been given a 3.4 liter dual overhead cam straight-six engine. While the 150 was slower than its predecessors initially, that aspect too would be changed. Both the 120 and 140 had been utilizing C-Type cylinder heads. Jaguar introduced another 150 variant in 1958 called the 'S' and this used a Harry Weslake-modified straight-port 'S' head. This increased the horsepower of the XK150S from 190 bhp to 250 bhp. To help control this increase in power, Jaguar had introduced on the XK150 race-bred, four-wheel disc brakes. For the first time ever on a series production car disc brakes were offered for all four wheels. Three SU carburetors were employed on the 150 S, whereas the 150 just had dual carburetors. This helped control fuel-flow much more efficiently. To deliver the power to the wheels, Jaguar employed a four-speed manual transmission, which had overdrive.
The interior of the XK150 was also revised. The 120 and 140 models had wood trimmed dashboards, specifically walnut. Up until 1958, the center dash had an aluminum panel with X-pattern engraving. All of this was dropped. Instead, Jaguar went with leather trimmed dashboards.
Jaguar was done boosting their 150. And, in 1960, Jaguar dropped their 3.4 liter engine in favor of a 265 bhp 3.8 liter engine. This allowed the car to be able to reach speeds in excess of 130 mph. The Motor magazine road tested the car and, at that time, it was the fastest closed-cabin car they had tested.
Only 89 examples of the XK150 S were built out of the 2,862 XK150s built through 1961. An XK150 S example in the United States was even more-rare, and, that is what rolled across the auction block at the RM Auction in Arizona.
Complete with its 265 bhp, 3.8 liter inline six-cylinder engine, chassis number T838705DN represented Jaguar's ultimate XK-series car. Originally purchased in Ontario in 1960, this Jaguar Drophead Coupe's interior was trimmed in red leather and featured a black finish. The car underwent a complete 'body-off' restoration back in 2003. The gearbox and the engine have gone through an entire rebuild and the paintwork has been redone to concours quality.
This example of the XK150 S comes with other little surprises as well. One of those added bonuses included a matching set of Connolly leather luggage and a set of chrome wire wheels. Presented at the auction in 2011 was Jaguar's ultimate version of the XK-series and surely caused fond memories of Britain's counterattack in the sports car market. Surely, Jaguar faced its challenges and delivered a classic winner.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Jaguar XK150', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 October 2010, 03:22 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jaguar_XK150&oldid=390998337 accessed 4 January 2011Also photographed at :