1950 Jaguar XK-120

Vehicle Profiles

Alloy Roadster

Chassis Num: 670119
Engine Num: W1192-8

The Jaguar XK120 was meant to be a low production model, but it was considerably more desirable and popular than expected, resulting in higher-than-expected production numbers. It was to have ash-framed alloy coachwork, but this was later replaced b....[continue reading]

Alloy Roadster

The Jaguar XK120 was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show as a test bed and show vehicle to highlight the new Jaguar XK engine. The car caused a sensation, which persuaded William Lyons to put it into production as a standard model. The first 57 ri....[continue reading]

Steel bodied Roadster

Jaguar has long enjoyed a storied history of dashing styling, high performance and memorable racing victories. The venerable British brand was founded by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley, two-wheel enthusiasts actually, as the Swallow Sidecar C....[continue reading]

Steel bodied Roadster

This is a very early 'steel' car with aluminum bonnet, boot lid and doors which has chrome side lights, short convertible top with fixed windows, tall dash pot carburetors, flat top distributor, boat propeller fan and many other features. The car ha....[continue reading]

Steel bodied Roadster

Chassis Num: W18608
Engine Num: W1860-8

This 1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook where it was estimated to sell between $70,000 - $90,000. This car is powered by a 3442 cc twin overhead cam six-cylinder engine that is capable of pro....[continue reading]

Alloy Roadster

Chassis Num: 670054

It is believed that the original owner of this Alloy Roadster was Hollywood icon Clark Gable. It was originally painted Suede Green from the factory, and took on a particular shade of silver gray after arriving in California. This color was the Gable....[continue reading]

Steel bodied Roadster

Chassis Num: 670288

This Jaguar XK120 is the 288th example built and is therefore one of the early steel-bodied examples produced after the end of alloy-body production. The car was restored to the original color combination of Pastel Blue with two-tone French Blue and ....[continue reading]

Alloy Roadster

Chassis Num: 660040

This Jaguar XK120 is one of six works-prepared lightweight aluminum-bodied XK120s readied for the 1950 competition season. It was allocated to Jaguar team driver Leslie Johnson, who was joined by Jon Lea for the car's first outing at the Mille Miglia....[continue reading]

Steel bodied Roadster

Chassis Num: 670405

This Jaguar XK120 was built in the summer of 1950 as a left hand drive Roadster. It was finished in silver over red upholstery with a gunmetal top. The original distributor was Thomas Plimley of Vancouver, Canada. The first owner was the founder and ....[continue reading]

Alloy Roadster

Chassis Num: 670132
Engine Num: W 1270-8

The history of the Jaguar XK 120 dates back to an experimental '100' coupe which was built in 1938 for the Earls Court Motor Show in London. It has many design styles that would later be found on the post-War XK120. The first Jaguar XK 120 was built ....[continue reading]

Alloy Roadster
Chassis #: 670119 
Alloy Roadster
Steel bodied Roadster
Steel bodied Roadster
Steel bodied Roadster
Chassis #: W18608 
Alloy Roadster
Chassis #: 670054 
Steel bodied Roadster
Chassis #: 670288 
Alloy Roadster
Chassis #: 660040 
Steel bodied Roadster
Chassis #: 670405 
Alloy Roadster
Chassis #: 670132 


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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