1953 Jaguar XK120

Vehicle Profiles

Sport Convertible

Jaguar created a sensation when the XK120 was launched in October of 148. It was a true 120 MPH sports car with 160 horsepower from a 3.4-liter double-overhead cam engine. A total of 12,055 units of the XK model were produced.....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Chassis Num: 672536

This 1953 Jaguar XK 120 was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida where it was estimated to sell between $80,000 - $100,000. It was offered without reserve. It is powered by a 3442cc twin-overhead am inline six-cyl....[continue reading]

Hardtop Coupe

It was the XK120 that brought Jaguar to prominence as a sports car builder and giant in the world of road racing. This legendary model was produced between 1949 and 1954. In that time, a total of 12,078 units were built, of which only 2,678 were fi....[continue reading]

Hardtop Coupe

Chassis Num: S680992
Engine Num: W7957-8S

The 1953 Jaguar XK120 SE Fixed Head Coupe finished in silver with a black leather interior was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island where it was estimated to fetch between $75,000-$100,000. When first constr....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Comfort, beauty, performance, class - the Jaguar XK120 was a legend in its own time. The original XK 120 was a true roadster, with a fully detachable top stored in the trunk. The hardtop coupe version was introduced in 1951 and a convertible in 1953.....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Chassis Num: S 673526
Engine Num: W 7362-8S

This Jaguar XK120 is an original, left-hand drive example that was completed on the 29th of January in 1953. It was delivered new to R.M. Overseas in Düsseldorf, Germany on 18th February 1953. It came equipped with the 'C-Type' cylinder head, which c....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Chassis Num: 674111
Engine Num: W 9122-8

The Jaguar XK120 was conceived and constructed in but a few months. It made its debut at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show were it caused a sensation. At the heart of the XK120 was the fabulous XK engine; a 3.4-liter 'six' that boasted twin overhead ca....[continue reading]

Hardtop Coupe

Chassis Num: S681124

This Jaguar is finished in its original pastel green paint. This XK120 M was discovered in 2013 having been in single family car for over 58 years. The current owner acquired the car and began, in early 2014, an intensive refurbishment. This special ....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Chassis Num: S677295
Engine Num: 1776-9

This Special Equipment XK120 Drophead Coupe was completed at the Jaguar works in May of 1953 and was delivered new through Hoffman Motor Car Company in New York, New York, to its first owner. It left the factory finished in the classic British Racing....[continue reading]

Sport Convertible

Chassis Num: 677111
Engine Num: W 8373-8
Gearbox Num: JL 15986

The first Jaguar XK120s arrived in the United States in August 1949, delivered to distributors Charles Hornburg in Los Angeles and Max Hoffman in New York. With a 3.4-liter DOHC engine and sensuous flowing lines, they were highly sought after. Betwee....[continue reading]

Sport Roadster

Chassis Num: 673870
Engine Num: W 8109-8

Jaguar produced 12,055 XK 120 roadsters, coupes, and drophead coupes from 1948 to 1954. This production total includes 7,374 steel-bodied roadsters. This particular example is finished in Olde English White over Burgundy and Biscuit leather. This car....[continue reading]

Sport Convertible
Sport Roadster
Chassis #: 672536 
Hardtop Coupe
Hardtop Coupe
Chassis #: S680992 
Sport Roadster
Sport Roadster
Chassis #: S 673526 
Sport Roadster
Chassis #: 674111 
Hardtop Coupe
Chassis #: S681124 
Sport Roadster
Chassis #: S677295 
Sport Convertible
Chassis #: 677111 
Sport Roadster
Chassis #: 673870 


The Jaguar XK120 was designed to be a prestigious vehicle and produced in low numbers. The designation '120' represented the vehicles 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, 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 to 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', were 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
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