Asking Price: $115,000 USD
Seller: British Sports Cars
Original Selling Price: $3,945
Engine: 3442cc Dual Overhead Cam Straight-6
Max Power: 160hp
PROS: Rust and accident-free example.
CONS: The price point. Classic XKs are becoming increasingly expensive and out of reach for most buyers.
The Jaguar XK120 was one of the most revolutionary British cars ever built. William Lyons first designed and built the XK120 in 1948 to display Jaguar’s all new “XK” engine, which was used from 1948-1988. The car was such a hit that Jaguar decided to put it into production, building right around 12,000 cars between 1948 and 1954. It’s estimated that less than half of those are still in existence today. Jaguar named the car the XK120 because of the XK engine and the 120MPH top speed achieved in 1949, making it the world’s fastest production car. Later in 1949, Jaguar beat its own record by reaching 132.6 MPH. Two years later on an oval track in France, Jaguar averaged over 100MPH for 24 hours and over 130MPH for an hour, breaking world endurance records for a production car. Jaguar ended up producing three different XK120 models: the OTS (open two-seater), the DHC (drophead coupe), and the closed FHC (fixed-head coupe).
This particular car is a 1952 XK120 OTS that is said by the seller to be rust and accident free, which is of utmost importance when looking to buy a classic British car. Unfortunately, rust and accident-free cars are rare and hard to find these days, but if you’re lucky enough to locate one, chances are you’ll be buying a very solid car. Once a car has been repaired for rust or accident damage, they never seem to be as good as the undamaged original.
The seller also claims this car to be one of the nicest-driving XK120s you will ever experience, which to us is a really good sign that it’s been well taken care of. As usual, we would want to find out as much of the vehicle’s past history as possible, especially any service history that would support the seller’s claim. There’s no mention whether or not this is a matching numbers car. Matching numbers would mean this car is equipped with the same engine and transmission with which it left the factory in 1952. Matching numbers cars are rare and bring a little more money than those with non-matching-numbers.
The decision to buy a car of this quality is not one to be taken lightly or without performing a fair amount of due diligence. We would encourage anyone considering buying this car to have it inspected by a marque specialist to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying. There’s nothing worse than laying out tens of thousands of dollars only to discover significant problems down the road.
Jaguar XK120s are one of our favorite British Sports Cars, both for their styling and pure driving pleasure. For being designed in 1948, they are one of very few cars from that era that can be driven well at freeways speeds and still give you the feel and thrill of what driving a real sports car was all about in 1948.
If you’re in the market for an XK120 we suggest you also look into the XK140. There are very similar in terms of styling and performance, but the XK140 is a little bit longer and better suited for taller drivers or those looking for a little more room. They were also equipped with rack-and-pinion steering as opposed to the XK120’s worm-and nut-steering, which makes the XK140 a little easier to steer and drive.
Happy motoring and hope to see you on the road! Remember to visit us at British Car Classifieds – the global online marketplace dedicated exclusively to buying and selling British automobiles.