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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 14th – 18th, 2015 at Russo and Steele’s 15th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.
With a reputation for being the fastest production car in the world for its time, this 1953 Jaguar XK 120 has been completely restored. It was the XK 120 Jaguar, along with the MG TC at the lower end, which brought sports car motoring to the United States after the war. This particular XK, a Special Equipment model sometimes known colloquially in the US as the XK 120M, was built in 1952. The speed plaque on the XK 120 SE certified 132mph, from a naturally aspirated 3.4 engine in a 3,100lb car. Several decades later, it would still be faster than most production cars.
Modifications from the standard model included stiffer front torsion bars, larger inlet valves, higher lift camshafts, dual exhaust and wire wheels. This particular car also includes certain vintage modifications which were legitimate for early fifties completion- ¾ race cam and 9-1 compression pistons (standard was 8-1, and you could order 7-1 or 9-1 from the factory), lightened flywheel, high-rev crankshaft damper, special carbs, metal tonneau cover and an unusual but period head rest/fairing, something like the well-known headrest of the “D” type Jaguar.
The restoration began with the purchase of an incredibly rare set of dual-throat SU carbs and manifold manufactured in the 1950’s and appearing only on a few race cars such as some of the Lemans Triumphs and the Hughes Kircher Jaguar Special XK 120 engine and chassis with new race body. These dual-throat carb set-ups are essentially three pairs of constant velocity SU carbs, each pair sharing a common float chamber. The former owner purchased the carbs and began searching for a competition XK 120 as a home for them. This XK 120 competition car was discovered at a San Jose, CA junkyard with no title and no known history.
With aspirations to restore the vehicle exactly as it had left the factory and then add the modifications, work began with metalwork done by Tom Boutis of Superior Metalcraft who went to work with his huge English wheeling machine, bending aluminum to re-skin the doors and hood, and getting the hood to fit perfectly. Later he built the metal tonneau cover and headrest to the old specs, and sent the blasted body and chassis to Lees Vintage Vehicles for preliminary bodywork on the main surfaces. After that, he separated the body from the frame he sent them back to Lee Norine for perfect bodywork in every inch, hidden or not. All parts were painted with black Deltron Acrylic Urethane. Dale at Sacramento A-1 Plating polished or plated every bright metal surface to a mirror finish. Even the nuts and bolts got special treatment with gun bluing, heat treatment, or sometimes black oxide with clear satin on top. Replacement bolts, of a type no longer being made, came from Beas Bolts. This car was featured in the Robb Report and the English magazine “Jaguar Quarterly.” An issue of each is included in the sale.