Jaguar XK120 | Unique Cars and Parts

19 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Jaguar XK120 | Unique Cars and Parts
Jaguar XK

Jaguar XK120

Designed to be a low-volume dream car rather than a high production motor car, the Jaguar XK120 became an overnight sensation and highly profitable. While most were exported to the USA, there are still examples to be found in Australia and the celebrated classic can be purchased at a price.

The Jaguar XK120 Roadster was launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show and was an immediate success. This very stylish car had a top speed over 120 mph (hence the 120 name), and was tremendously good value for money being considerably cheaper and more advanced than any rival. It was a combination of beautiful looks combined with an impressive engine that was to ensure its success.

It was the fist car to feature the all-new double overhead camshaft engine, which in one cubic capacity or another went on to power all Jaguar cars – both saloon and sports, for about forty years. The new 3.4 litre straight six was a silky smooth engine, using twin cams and twin SU carburettors to develop 160 bhp.

The XK 120 was hugely popular and orders were much higher than Jaguar had anticipated. The first cars featured alloy body panels over an ash frame, but after production of about 200 models jaguar switched to a mass-produced mainly steel body to keep up with demand.

The 120 in XK120 was in fact true of the cars performance, the first model rated at a top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h). Later SE (Special Equipment) models came with higher lift cams and twin exhausts that were able to lift the power to 180 bhp.

In 1951 a Fixed Head Coupe version was introduced, with a Drophead Coupe joining the range in 1953. Both of these cars featured wind-up windows, external door handles, and a walnut dashboard. A Special Equipment model was available from 1951 with a 180 bhp engine.

Production of all models ended in 1954 when the XK140 was introduced.

Jaguar Today and Tomorrow – The XK120 Story

by John Wheelock Freeman (pub. 1954 )

TWO spectators at a motor show watched the crowd form around a sleek new prototype roadster. Cheap publicity stunt, observed one. That complicated engine would have to cost twice as much if it was going to run right. The other nodded in glum agreement; the Jaguar XK-120, he said, was a farce to any serious-minded auto enthusiast and would doubtless fall apart during its first tryout.

The two spectators walked away from the crowd to search for a more genuine car on exhibition.

This suspicious attitude, and the jolt of surprise soon to follow it, are nothing new in the life of Bill Lyons. Jaguar founder and director. His life has been devoted to surprising people with unbelievable cars.

Starting in business as a motorcycle sidecar manufacturer in 1922, he early developed an interest in coach-building, producing special bodies for the little Austin Seven chassis. Nine years after his Swallow Coachworks first opened, Lyons engineered and carried out a deal with the Standard Motor Company that today remains a classic for talented audacity. Using Standard chassis and engines, he introduced his first SS cars – expensive looking, dashingly sporty, and so low to the ground that they created a scandal.

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