Total Production: 7,929
In 1957 Jaguar introduced the XK150, a replacement for the XK140. The XK140 had been a replacement for the XK120 which had started the XK series with its elegant styling and impressive 120 mph capabilities. At the time, the XK120 was the fastest production vehicle in the world. The XK150 had many similarities to its predecessors but it featured modern styling and improved mechanics.
When the XK150 was introduced, it could be purchased in DropHead Coupe or FixedHead Coupe configuration. The Open Two Seater (OTS) Roadster version appeared a year later.
The base engine was a DOHC 3.4 liter straight-six that produced 180 horsepower. Most of the vehicles were outfitted with the SE version which had a modified cylinder head, dual SU HD6 carburetors, and larger exhaust valves bringing the horsepower rating to 210. Performance was further increased in 1958 when Jaguar enlarged the bore bringing the liter capacity to 3.8 and the horsepower rating to 220. The 'S' model featured three SU HD8 carburetors and a modified cylinder head bringing the horsepower rating to 260.
The XK120 suffered from poor steering. This was resolved by the adaptation of a rack-and-pinion unit on the XK140. The XK150 used the similar rack-and-pinion configuration, though still lacking power-assistance. The chassis was also similar to its predecessor. Disc brakes were standard on all four corners of the vehicle. The wheels could be ordered as Wire or as discs wheels.
Improvements continued in the interior of the vehicle. With roll-up door windows and door handles, the XK150 was more civilized. The longer hood meant the XK150 Roadsters were just a two seater unlike its 2+2 predecessors.
During its production lifespan lasting from 1958 through 1961, the Fixed Head Coupes were the most popular with 4445 examples being created. That figure was followed by the Drop Head Coupes with around 2670 examples. There were around 2260 Roadsters produced. The Roadster production figures would have been higher if they had not been introduced ten months after the Fixed and Drophead Coupe versions.
The XK150 continued the elegance and performance established by the XK120 and reinforced by the XK140. The long flowing lines of the hood gracefully curved towards the vertical grille which hid a potent engine that made the car legendary.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
Total Production: 8,884
In 1954, Jaguar introduced the XK140 as a replacement for the highly successful Jaguar XK120 that had first appeared in 1948. The XK Series was conceived by William Lyons as a sleek automobile that sat atop a short wheelbase in two-seat roadster configuration powered by a twin-cam engine. The XK120, named because of its 120 mph top speed, was powered by an engine that produced 160 horsepower. The 'X' represented the 'experimental' engine type while the letter 'K' was the sequence. The XK140 received a larger 190 horsepower engine, rack-and-pinion steering, and more interior space. Interior space was gained by the repositioning of the engine and firewall, thus keeping the dimensions of the chassis identical to the XK120. Minor improvements were done to the aesthetics of the vehicle. A Special Equipment package was available that included Dayton wire wheels and a 210 horsepower engine, the result of C-Type heads, and dual exhaust.
The XK legacy continued with outright victories at LeMans in 1953, 1955, 1956, and 1957. This 24-hour grueling marathon is a true test of speed and endurance. The XK-Series proved to be the best.
Production continued through 1957 when it was replaced by the XK150. The XK140 carried on the success started by the XK120. The OTS version proved again to be the most popular with sales for the DHC and Fixed versions still respectable. In Jaguar lingo, 'OTS' refers to 'open two-seater' or 'roadster' while 'DHC' represents 'drophead coupe'. The roadster versions often featured removable side curtains instead of windows. The top could be folded behind the seats and conveniently hidden by the rear shroud. The DHC body has roll-up windows, wood interior, and an attached top that, when folded, would stick-up above the body.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
Total Production: 12,078
The Jaguar XK120 was designed to be a prestigious vehicle and produced in low numbers. The designation '120' represented the vehicle's top speed of 120 miles-per-hour. At the time, it was the fastest production car in the world.
The British automotive industry was greatly influenced by World War II. Many manufacturers went out of business due to the lack of funds, fuel and supply shortages, or their factories had been destroyed during the war. In order to stay in business, a solid production line was required that could compete with its class of vehicles. William Lyons, the owner of Jaguar, did so by creating a new class - one that was faster, more reliable, stylish, and cheaper than any other vehicle on the market.
To gain industry recognition, Lyons knew that he needed a show car that was revolutionary and bold. Lyons handled the styling while his chief engineer, William Heynes, was tasked with designing the mechanical components. When the vehicle was displayed at Earls Court, the reaction was overwhelming. Originally, Lyons planned to make between 100 and 200 examples. After the public reaction to the car and to keep up with demand, he decided to change the body from hand-formed aluminum to all-steel construction.
The body of the car was reminiscent of the 'French Curves' produced by manufacturers such as Bugatti and Delahaye of the early 1930's and 1940's. They were created in three different body styles, roadster, fixed head, and drop head (convertible).
The vehicle was powered by a 160 horsepower, 3.4 liter, inline-six-cylinder engine. Peak horsepower was achieved at 5000 RPM. The 120-mph was the promised speed, the top speed of the vehicle was around 126-132 mph depending on the trim of the vehicle.
The vehicle was designed as a touring car. However, many of the vehicles were raced. Their main weaknesses were their drum brakes which wore quickly, and their steering which was heavy and less responsive when compared to other purpose-built racing vehicles.
In 1951, Jaguar entered the grueling 24-hour of Le Mans endurance race. Three XK120C, the 'C' representing 'competition', was entered. One of the three entrants won the event.
In 1952, an XK120 was driven continuously for seven days and nights around a track located in Montlhery, France. After more than 16,000 miles in one week, the vehicle once again proved its endurance capabilities.
In 1954 production ceased. Over 12,000 examples were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008