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 Jaguar XK120 Alloy photo

Image credits: © Jaguar.

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy

History

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

1949 Vehicle Profiles

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670056
Engine Num: W1108-8

Jaguar built just 242 alloy-bodied XK120 roadsters, many of which have been converted to competition use. This particular example is a left-hand drive example with rear fender spats and disc wheels - just 184 were built in this configuration. ....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670005

There were 240 hand-built, alloy-bodied roadsters constructed, and this example (chassis number 670005), was the first XK120 imported into the United States. It left the Jaguar factory in the non-standard color of Blue Sheen, and was the only example....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 146

This example, #146, is one of 242 hand-built aluminum body XK-120s of which only approximately 50 survive. The alloy XK-120 was the fastest production car of its time - capable of 120 miles per hour. This car has the original body, engine and gearb....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 679902

This XK120 is only the 25th left-hand-drive example built by Jaguar; early cars like this one were hand-built with aluminum bodies on ash wood frames. And many of them were raced out of the box, as may have been the case for this example. In 1950 Jag....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670003
Engine Num: W1004-8

This Jaguar XK120 roadster, with chassis number 670003, is the first left-hand drive XK120 built by Jaguar. It was dispatched September 5, 1959, to Los Angeles distributor Charles Hornburg and went immediately to the Hollywood dealership of Roger Bar....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670059
Engine Num: W 1112-8

This Jaguar XK120 roadster is an early example of the 184 left-hand drive alloy cars built, chassis number 59. This open two-seater left-hand drive car was completed on December 16th of 1949 and shipped to the Canadian distributor, James L. Cooke Mot....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670061
Engine Num: W 1114-8

The Jaguar XK120 was a sensational and popular vehicle even though it was originally intended as a limited-edition stopgap model. War had just ended and the world was ready to pick-up where it left off. Cars were in short supply and William Lyons ass....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670060
Engine Num: W 1113-8
Gearbox Num: JH 1047

This Jaguar is one of only one hundred eight-four examples built with left-hand drive and the alloy body. The car was completed on December 19th of 1949 and dispatched on January 11, 1950 to Charles Hornburg, the Los Angeles importer. The car was the....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 670111
Engine Num: W 1216-8

The first Jaguar XK120 built for the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show in London, was built in six weeks. The early cars were built with aluminum panels over a wood frame since aluminum was light and easy to work. Originally, William Lyons planned on selli....[continue reading]

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy vehicle information

Roadster

This was the 26th alloy bodied XK120 and one of 240 produced. It was exported to Buenos Aries in 1949 and purchased by race car driver Carlos Lostalo.....[continue reading]

Roadster
Chassis #: 670056 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670005 
Roadster
Chassis #: 146 
Roadster
Chassis #: 679902 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670003 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670059 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670061 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670060 
Roadster
Chassis #: 670111 
Roadster
 


Concepts by Jaguar

Similarly Sized Vehicles
from 1949

Jaguar Monthly Sales Volume

December 2019
3,311
October 2019
2,350
September 2019
2,002
May 2019
2,021
March 2019
3,679
January 2019
3,078
Additional Sales Volume Data


Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$470-$3,945
1949 XK120 Alloy
$3,945-$15,195
1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Base Price : $3,945

$3,750 - $3,850

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Jaguar
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)3,349
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)3,349
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)3,349
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)1,702
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)912
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)158
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)

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