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1954 Jaguar XK 120

$119,500 58720 miles
Emeryville, CA
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1954 Jaguar XK 120

Superbly Undisturbed Lifelong California Car Presented in Its Wonderful Original Colors. Runs and Drives Wonderfully.

1954 Jaguar XK 120 OTS
Chassis No. 675728, Engine No. F3129-8
Pastel Blue with Blue Leather Interior

It is hard to imagine the enthusiasm that greeted Jaguar when, just three years after the end of World War II, they revealed the XK 120. With the wartime austerity still very fresh, the XK120 caused quite a stir. With its stunning styling, sophisticated mechanical specification, and unapologetically sporting ethose, the XK 120 was nothing short of a revelation. The elegant and avant-garde XK 120 not only boosted morale among the weary UK population, it demonstrated to the world that Britain had both the technical capacity and design excellence to deliver a sensual and emotionally engaging car.

Although originally intended to be a concept car showcasing Jaguar’s remarkable new twin-cam inline-6 cylinder engine designed for their large sedans, the breathtaking styling and genuine 120 mph performance of the XK120, coupled with an affordable price, captured the imagination of the world. In short order, the largely hand-built aluminum-bodied car was rushed into limited production as orders came flooding in. With time and delivery pressures growing, Jaguar immediately realized they needed to reengineer the car for mass production and developed tooling to produce thousands of cars with steel bodies to meet the significant demand. This effort not only improved output, it allowed Jaguar to expand their market share exporting to North America and other parts of the world.

The car’s heart was, of course, the fabulous XK engine. Conceived in wartime, the 3.4 litre “six” embodied the best of modern design, boasting twin overhead camshafts in an aluminum-alloy cylinder head, seven main bearings, all of which produced a maximum output of 160bhp. When installed in the lightweight XK120, the result was a car with a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio and blistering performance. The “120” referred to the car’s top speed, any doubts about these claims were swiftly banished when a standard XK120 achieved a top speed of 126.4 mph with hood and side screens erected and 132.6 mph at Jabbeke with a few drag-reducing modifications including bubble canopy and belly pan. The XK120 set new standards of comfort, road holding and performance for British sports cars and, in keeping with the Jaguar tradition, there was nothing to touch it at the remarkably affordable price.

This particular XK120 is a well-known and superbly preserved example that would be extremely difficult to repeat. According to the Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate issued in October 2016, this XK120 OTS was manufactured June 3, 1954 and dispatched to North America June 11, 1954. The original distributor, Hornburg Jaguar in Los Angeles, sold the car to the first owner, Russel Loer of Los Angeles. In 1957, Jaguar historian and XK120 Registrar for the Classic Jaguar Association Bruce Carnachan of Glendale, CA, purchased the car from the original owner with 19,000 miles. Carnachan, a former Air-Force gunner sergeant and later California Highway Patrol worker, had known of the car since new, greatly admired it and hoped one day to purchase it. Determined to retain the originality of the car, Carnachan proceeded to care for it throughout decades of remarkable ownership, participating in automotive events where he would earn the moniker “Mr. Jaguar” among his friends and enthusiasts.

Over the years, this XK120 has been featured in multiple automotive publications including a 1974 Motor Trend “Retrospect”, the cover of Car Collector 1979, and again in 1981 as a Road & Track “Salon” car. In 1981, the car showed 119,000 miles, still remaining “absolutely original” as stated by legendary automotive journalist Tony Hogg in his detailed Salon article. Throughout his six decades of ownership, Carnachan performed much of the maintenance himself, winning local concours awards, and participating in multiple rallies despite his advancing years. In 1992, the car participated in the Monterey Historic Races and continued to be shown in 2006, 2009, and 2012 as documented by dashboard plaques still affixed to the car. Carnachan’s exhaustive and highly detailed knowledge of XK120s is owed in part to the originality of this car and to Carnachan’s pioneering advocacy of authentic preservation combined with decades of impressive stewardship.

Today, the condition of this XK120 continues to reveal the ongoing care and preservation that like-minded enthusiasts have since bestowed upon the car in keeping with Carnachan’s legacy. Retaining substantially original finishes with a combination of properly serviced components and details, this XK120 is a beautiful and honest artifact of elegant motoring from a bygone era. Each of the authentic features conveys the history and integrity of past owners and their thoughtful care. Prior to consignment, the car was brought in for service as Jaguar experts determined the original twin-cam head needed to be replaced. The difficult decision was made to remove the original head, preserve it, and locate a factory original head as a replacement. A suitable head within the same month of manufacture was prepared, installed, tested, and dialed in after reassembly. This work was performed by highly-regarded Jaguar specialist Steve Gordon of Vintage Auto Service.

The car’s finish, details, and remarkably cohesive presentation truly embody the ideals of preservation and originality. The body is arrow straight and has superb integrity, with excellent panel fit and operation. The paint is older and shows a rich patina that quietly speaks volumes of history to attentive advocates of authenticity. There is some checking, some touched up areas, and the occasional chip, but it is clear that the car is extremely dry and that it has been used so carefully that its decades-old paint remains sympathetically intact. The chrome is in good to very good condition including the grille, bumpers, nicely polished headlight trim, and nicely detailed fog lamps. The windshield frame shows some expected pitting at the base, along with separating rubber gaskets originally fit to the cowl. Emblems, and minor trim including the delicate wind-wings are in excellent condition. A set of correctly sized Pirelli tires is mounted on chrome plated wire wheels featuring dual-eared knockoffs, beautifully accented by painted red drum brakes, which add a purposeful competition touch to the car. Overall the exterior visual presentation is sporty, handsomely honest, and delightfully inviting.

The interior is a welcoming blend of original components and properly sourced materials, which have been replaced only as needed. The sea

 
 
1954 Jaguar XK 120
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