Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster

When the XK 120 was introduced in 1948 at the Earls Court Motor Show, it caused a sensation that rippled throughout the motor industry. The car was seen as quite a departure from the sporting sedans Jaguar was known for, and overnight the Jaguar name was redefined. Its inline six-cylinder powerplant, conceived by William Lyons and his team of engineers, was the world’s first high-volume twin cam engine and provided phenomenal performance, mated to a four-speed manual transmission.

The XK 120’s body was a fresh, minimalist design with gracefully flowing curves running front to back, while the modern chassis design provided excellent handling. In fact, the superb XK engine was the mainstay of all future Jaguar products over the next six decades, and propelled Jaguar racing cars to five Le Mans 24 Hour victories between 1951 and 1957.

To maintain the XK 120’s competitive edge, however, a series of mechanical upgrades was introduced throughout its production run. One of the most desirable upgrades arrived in 1953. Named XK 120SE, for “Special Equipment”, this variant benefited from high-lift camshafts, an increase in output to 180 brake horsepower, and wire wheels, among other features. Certainly the most desirable option was the C-Type cylinder head, with which the engine now produced 210 brake horsepower.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona, in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

300bhp, 3,442 cc double overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones and torsion bars, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Craig Johnston

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