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The XK120, represented a milestone in British sports car design and its success took Jaguar by surprise. This was the sports car that had everything: a roadster body more beautiful than anything even Jaguar had produced before; an immensely strong chassis; and an engine so sophisticated that it looked as though it should have graced a Grand Prix racer rather than a £998 sports car.This was not only the first pure-bred Jaguar engine, it was also the world's first mass-production engine with twin-overhead camshafts and hemispherical combustion chambers.
The advantage of such an engine layout was in the additional power it could generate, however numerous disadvantages had to be overcome first: noise from the long chains or gears needed to drive the camshafts; manufacturing difficulties which meant that they would inevitably cost more; potential unreliability; and difficulties during services. However, Jaguar founder William Lyons would not settle for second best and insisted that the engine must have a twin-cam, and it also had to look good. The result was a sensational six-cylinder in-line XK unit that produced no less than 160 bhp from 3442 cc, enough to propel the XK120 to more than 120 mph - hence its designation XK120.
Just over 60 years ago, on the 30th of May 1949 Jaguar claimed a world production car speed record for the XK120 roadster, making a record-breaking 132.6 mph run down the Jabbeke straight in Belgium. This was the stuff of legends and our stunning 1952 example turns as many heads today as it did in it's heyday.
This stunning XK 120 has been with it's last owner for 35 years. It was totally rebuilt in the late 1980s by West Yorkshire Jaguar specialist Malcolm Buckeridge of Shipley. Originally grey in colour, the car benefiited from a chassis up restoration to original specification and trim colour. It's external colour was changed to Old English white. The car has been part of the owner's collection and has been little used over the years. As a result, the car still feels taut and responsive, with remarkably little mechanical wear.