I am 45 years old and just purchased an early 1950 XK120 in boxes. Started the restoration, it’s my first! I cannot wait to drive it and just admire its looks in the garage. I honestly don’t care about its value because I bought it to drive it and enjoy it. If I was worried about it’s future value, I would have never purchased it, because I honestly believe my generation is not really interested in these post war pieces of art and engineering!
What a beauty. Sometimes one has to compare a car like this to American sedans of the early 50’s to realize how amazing some of the same era cars from elsewhere were.
Read carefully before responding. I said my E TYPE was 0-60 in 7 seconds, not the XK120. The XK120 is 10 seconds to 60.
The Ferrari 308 gtb was 0-60 in the time quoted according to Road and Track magazine. The 308 GTS when it was introduced, was 2 seconds quicker to 60. The Ferrari hp quoted was just a little over 200. The earlier Dino was quicker to 60 with a time comparable to my E TYPE, at 7 seconds.
Sadly, I think you’re right that the next generation has little appreciation for these cars.
Okay, I know this sounds silly, but those exhaust manifolds look like there enamel porcelain coated. Can anyone tell me about that?
They are porcelain coated, and very hard to keep that way. Very prone to cracking and chipping due to different expansion rates between iron and porcelain. Some concours participants actually change them out after each show and replace them with “drivers” until the next show.
Not entirely true. I’m in my 30s and have a ‘54 xk120 and love it. I do have friends as well that appreciate these cars, but can’t afford the price point yet. Doesn’t mean they won’t get there some day once student loans, house down payments, etc. are behind them.
I was 7 or 8 years old (mid 1950’s) when my next door neighbor’s son, who was in college at the time, brought home a XK120 in black. Don’t remember whether it was his or he had borrowed it, but I thought that it was the most glorious thing that I had ever seen and I pledged to myself that I would have one someday. I never got the 120, but in 1967 I bought a XK140MC for $200 and drove it for most of my last two years of college. It burned as much oil as gas, leaked like a sieve and looked like it had been painted with a brush, but it still had some serious grunt and was fairly trouble free . By the early 70’s the car’s electrics completely gave up and it needed to be completely rewired. By then I had a wife, kid, house, etc. and I sold it for $1200. Over our almost 50 years of marriage I have had lots of other British cars (Healy’s, MG’s, Land Rovers, etc.), but the Jag is the only one that my wife told me not to sell. She said “I really think we should keep that one” and I said, we can always get another one - guess it’s pretty obvious who was right. I get reminded of it every time we see one at a British car show!
So maybe this would explain why the folks who built the Jaguar motor car would do these little things that I heard one engineer say on a program regarding these automobiles; " We enjoyed building strange little quirks into our cars, It gave the owners a challenge you know." Really? Porcelain coated exhaust manifolds? Pretty? Well, yes. Stupid? Absolutely!
Actually quite typical of the era for European cars.
I’m afraid I have to disagree on the roadster versus the coupe beauty. I don’t think there is anything more gorgeous than the “C-pillar” curve on the fixed-head coupe. That, combined with the skirted-rear fender just knock me out…just like my E–Type did 30 years later.
Pity you didn’t show a photo of one.
I am ashamed a bit to tell this one. When I was 20 years old in 1958 I had the good fortune to have 1950 XK 120.
I recalled had a plaque on the dash on passenger side which read in effect brought into country for use by General Motors. I had no clue what this meant then or today,. The car had LeMans exhausts out the back on driver’s side. Drove it a couple of years then went to British Motor Cars in Burlingame CA (it is not longer there) and traded it for a 1957 Mercury convertible with Laker pipes. How smart was that and what are each worth today? I think the Jag wins hands down. I have always wondered where the Jag ended up…
You hit the nail on the head when it comes to the XK 120. If you have more than a 28” inseam don’t even consider one of these cars if you actually want to drive it. I’ve driven well over 100 vintage and modern cars, and this model still stands out as the car I would least want to drive ever again.
I have a 30 inch inseam and this December 6,2019 I will have owned a 1954 XK120 OTS for fifty years. It is almost a daily driver. In wet weather I get soaked but if it’s not raining or snowing I drive it. Wonderful car but you have to drive the car and cannot daydream. I had an XKE for a while and it was much harder to get into and out. Fabulous car and do not care about the market price.
I am very fortunate that I had an uncle who was quite a car enthusiast. He came to visit us in the mid 1960s when I was not quite 10, he was in Toronto to look at a car and asked my dad and I to come along. He said he was going to look at a Jaguar.
When the owner pulled it out of the drive shed I could not believe my eyes. The Jag was like nothing I had ever seen. It was a British Racing Green 1951 or 1952 XK120 roadster. There are images that will stick in your mind for your whole life and that is one for me. And the plaque on the dash commemorating the Land Speed record is something I still check every XK120 for.
Uncle Harold managed to collect two more XKs, another 120 that was red and a later 150 that was black. Fond memories that burn bright and had a strong influence on not just me but my children too. My wife and I attended an English car show recently and the show stoppers for us were the XKs there, a 120 Roadster and a phenomenal Coupe. Wish I could post photos.
I have owned 3 xk120 roadsters. Also 6 series 1 Etypes and 1 xk150 DHC. I currently have a 51 xk120 roadster and a 63 etype roadster. Both look but more importantly drive like new. 2 points I want to make. The first is I have never driven anything that gets more attention, honks, thumbs up, screams, and conversation like the 120. Every stop light, fill up, or parking generates enthusiasm like I have never seen before. And second. Comparing 0 to 60 with a Ferrari is ludacris. If you want faster 0 to 60 times change the Moss transmission to a short throw 5 speed. But you will loose the way they drove in the 50’s which is a blast!
I was a teenager in the early 1970’s when I saw an XK120 roadster at a local show on Long Island. It was silver with a low competition windscreen and had been immaculately restored. I was so smitten I went out and bought the shop manual dreaming of one day owning a similar beauty. A few years ago I came across that manual and sent it off to the local chapter of the Jaguar club because that dream died long ago. Thank you for reminding me what car should be at the top of my “if I win the lottery” list.
I drove my 1957 XK140MC today. Took it 10 miles up and down PCH with the top down of course. Yes many other collectibles are easier to drive. Disc brakes did not come until the 150 I believe. But for sheer beauty, amazing craftsmanship, and a piece of motoring art that, yes, you need to drive, I believe any softness in the market is an opportunity to own an iconic British sports car that will be in demand for years to come. At least 3 people pulled out their phones to snap a picture. A twenty something on a modern Bugatti motorcycle rode by my side admiring the wood dash and wire wheels and offered to trade
I had to laugh and read the remarks of npdion to my husband. In our case, the better head prevailed! In 1973 we bought our XK140MC OTS for $700 from a kid who wanted to buy a ticket to Europe. In the 80’s we had to put it into storage. My husband came home and told me that a guy wanted to buy the car for about $1,500. As I was giving the guy a ride I turned to him and said that the car was not for sale. The guy said, “but your husband said it was”. I told him that I was 1/2 owner and that I would not be signing the pink slip. We finally got her back on the road a few months ago. It is a people magnet, people take photos, give us thumbs up, wave, and when it is parked ask questions. A 10 year-old-girl had her grandmother turn around and chase after us so she could see it. We let her sit in the driver’s seat for a photo. We won’t part with our baby!
I am 6’ 3" and fit in my 53 roadster fairly easily. I removed the seat tracks to allow the seat to be moved back as far as possible. The pedals can easily be modified with no change in appearance, which results in a few inches extra. I didn’t change mine, but there are some players selling a 16" original style wheel which makes for a bit more room.