Lot 154 - 1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster (3.4 litre)
|Odometer reading||65,000 miles|
|Estimate||£80,000 - £90,000|
- Matching numbers
- Fabulous period race history
- In fully restored wonderful condition throughout
On Wednesday 15th November, 1950 (in the Year of the Tiger) a sleek white cat began its journey exiting the production line in Coventry, and as this Jaguar approaches its 70th year the phrase ‘we are just custodians’ never seemed more apt. A desperate need for Jaguar’s first post-war sports car, plus a stroke of genius from William Lyons, resulted in the XK120 being launched at the London Motor Show in 1948. The XK engine wasn’t destined for a production car until 1951 but by shortening the chassis that underpinned their MK. V saloon and installing the all-new 3442cc, twin overhead cam OHC, a classic was born. Much needed currency would flow into the UK, mainly from across the pond and with just a fraction of the XK’s reserved for the home market, very few lucky Brits would enjoy the pleasure £1,263 could bring. A lot of money in the day but not when Jaguar promoted the XK120 as the fastest production car in the world exceeding 120mph; to silence some disbelievers in the motoring press, a trip to Jabbeke, Belgium was arranged with a speed test that confirmed the XK120 was closer to 130mph. Originally built on an ash frame with all alloy body meant Jaguar could never achieve production to the scale that would fulfil the orders envisaged during the Motor Show. A change to pressed steel panels would delay production nearly a year, a necessity to capitalise on the order book potential by late 1950.
Chassis 660294 was dispatched to the Channel Islands from the Midlands on 5th December and onto St Helier Garages, the Jaguar main dealer on Jersey. Finished in an ‘Old English’ hue with a biscuit and tan interior, this 120 would have ‘turned heads’ en route to its first owner Robert L Sangan. Robert (known as Bob) was Honorary Secretary of the Jersey Motorcycle Club and Light Car Club and a keen racer who entered the 120 (registered J10933) in the Bouley Bay Hillclimb on 26th July, 1951 taking the unmodified over 3000cc class in a time of 65.8 seconds.
The Jersey International was Britain’s first post war Grand Prix in 1947 and the event continued to attract the top teams and drivers for several years. By 1952, GP cars were considered too fast for the course so it became a sports car event with one entry of note, local driver Frank Le Gallais piloting an XK120. Le Gallais had previous form in the Jersey Road Race, in 1949 he drove a Talbot in the finals but was also a well-respected hill climb expert with his single seat (twin rear wheel) Le Gallais Special. Powered by a rather ‘hot’ rear mounted XK engine coupled to a Citroën gearbox, it was this powerplant that would be installed into Bob Sangan’s 120 for the 20-lap race through the streets of Jersey on the 10th July 1952. In the first heat , a fine 4th was achieved behind George Abecassis in a factory DB3 Aston-Martin which led to a starting position of 10th in the main race where Le Gallais hustled the Jaguar into a creditable 8th overall; just behind Roy Salvadori with two Ecurie Ecosse XK120s in 5th and 6th places. Ian Stewart took overall victory in front of a Frazer-Nash and a pair of DB3’s winning at an average of 87.44mph in one of the first outings for the all new C-Type Jag. After the race, our XK120 was reunited with its original engine and would be campaigned and enjoyed by Bob Sangan for several more years including another podium at Bouley Bay in 1954. The car crossed to the mainland in 1957 and found a new home in the East Riding of Yorkshire by which time its exterior colour had changed to blue. With its new registration, SOW 666, it was in the hands of Terence Shaw of Brough in April 1970 then moved onto Keith Knowles, resident of Wilberfoss three years later. In May 1974 the ‘buff’ logbook showed it was registered to Geoffrey Charlton but then crossed out and the name of Colin Musgrave installed two weeks later. He then sold the car to Geoffrey Charlton who we assume supplied the registration number GEF 120, then strangely it returned to Colin Musgrave in October of the same year. The next owner, Douglas Hunt, ran a wedding car business in Cleveland; he purchased the Jaguar in 1983 with all intentions of restoration but this never happened and by the time Douglas Anderson took over in 1990, the car was in poor condition. Trailer bound and refinished in flat white, Mr. Anderson took great strides to salvage the 120 spending over £50,000 on a ground-up restoration which took place over a decade. Finally refinished in red with a superb interior installed by The Trim Centre in Nuneaton that remains in place to this day. In 2007 the final transfer took place as GEF 120 headed to the centre of the South Downs and the village of Petworth near Goodwood. It was then that the current owner put it into the knowledgeable hands of Country Classic Cars in Midhurst. It was then the subject of a full restoration, both bodywork/chassis and many mechanical upgrades comprising a conversion to a 12 volt battery, electronic ignition fitted and a front disc brake conversion together with a servo. A Kenlowe fan and alloy header tank were fitted also installed and an alternator conversion and a manual choke conversion carried out. The rear brakes were overhauled and a full stainless steel exhaust system was fitted. The dampers were replaced and it sits on a new set of Michelin radial tyres. Prior to the above, the engine was internally inspected and the mileage we believe is genuine according to the owner, although not warranted. The gearbox was stripped and rebuilt together with a new clutch fitted. The car had a full bare metal respray, fabrication and brightwork. The bare metal being treated to two coats of epoxy resin, primer, direct gloss and premium lacquer. The interior was retrimmed with quality hide in a contrasting tan colour. The above, combined with numerous additional mechanical works carried out, (which can be found in the history file) makes for a very useable and enjoyable XK120 which will return reliability for many a year to come. This fabulous ‘matching-numbers’ vehicle is supplied with a matching spare wheel, tonneau, original green log book and Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate.
At the time of writing, conversations are taking place with the aim of returning this Jaguar to Jersey for the 75th anniversary of the first International Road Race in 2022. It will also be 70 years since chassis 660294 raced around the 5.1km circuit, with interested parties hopeful it could even be re-clothed for the seventh time in its original white; a romantic vision maybe, but it would complete the circle in this cat’s many lives.
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Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.