Jaguar’s engineering team was truly formidable. William Heynes had joined the company as chief engineer in 1934, and his colleagues included Harry Weslake, Walter Hassan, Harry Mundy and Claude Bailey. When the Jaguar XK120 was launched in October 1948, it was lauded as one of the finest high performance sports cars to emerge from Britain. The 160 bhp, 3.4-litre, twin-overhead cam, six-cylinder engine gave the car a top speed of 120 mph.
The Jaguar XK120 was an immediate success in competition. Three were entered in the Silverstone Production Car Race in June 1949, Britain’s first big motor race since the War. Leslie Johnson and Peter Walker destroyed the opposition with Johnson taking a resounding victory. XK120s went on to win races across the world. In America, Phil Hill, a future Formula 1 World Champion, bored one out to 3.8 litres and won race after race. In Britain, Stirling Moss helped cement his reputation in a semi-works XK120, winning the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod in atrocious conditions and leaving the field standing in the 1951 Production Car Race at Silverstone.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
210 bhp, 3,442 cc double overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine with two SU carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with upper and lower wishbones, torsion bars and hydraulic dampers, live rear axle with trailing arms, ‘double-action’ torsion bar and torque reaction member and hydraulic dampers, four-wheel Lockhead hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 96"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tim Scott and Darin Schnabel