Told by the post-war Attlee government to ‘export or die’, the British motor industry responded valiantly, none more so than Jaguar Cars, soon to become the UK’s biggest US-dollar earner thanks in no small measure to the success of its XK120 sports car. Ironically, the XK120’s creation had only come about because delays in the gestation of the MkVII saloon had forced Jaguar to find an alternative method of bringing its new XK six-cylinder engine to public attention. Conceived and constructed in but a few months, the XK120 debuted at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show where the stunning looking roadster caused a sensation.
Conceived as a low-volume model, the XK120 proved considerably more popular than expected, the resulting demand for what was then the world’s fastest production car taking Jaguar by surprise. It was immediately obvious that the ash-framed alloy coachwork – hand built in the best vintage tradition – would have to go and the XK120 was re-engineered in steel after 240 cars had been completed.
First shown at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, the XK120 created a sensation and as an alloy bodied example the XK120 offered phenomenal power-to-weight ratio and blistering performance proving great success in competitive racing. The ‘120’ referred to the car’s top speed, and Jaguar lost no time in demonstrating that this was no idle boast.
Any doubts about the claim’s veracity were swiftly banished when in May 1949, on the Jabbeke to Aeltre autoroute in Belgium, a standard X120 achieved a top speed of 126.4mph with hood and side screens erected, and 132.6mph minus its weather protection and equipped with an under-tray!
Rolling out of the factory in Coventry on the 12th of January 1950, chassis number 87 is an early example of the 184 left-hand-drive alloy-bodied Roadsters built. Its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, records that the first dealer was Hornburg USA who was a widely renowned importer of race cars such as C-Types and D-Types. It was from here that its first owner purchased the car and this happened to be none other than the famous Bill Harrah, founder of “The Biggest and Finest Car Collection of the World”. Throughout the first chapter of its life, #670087 lived alongside cars such as Mercedes-Benz 500K Spezial Roadsters.
#670087 raced in America for a number of years before being repatriated to the UK where it was again raced in first class historic motorsport. At this time the jaguar was registered as PGY 189L and achieved huge success holding lap records at just about every British race circuit. The Jaguar also won the 100kms at Le Mans beating C and D-Types and was very successful at the Nurburgring.
The continuous success in racing made PGY 189L a very well-known car and soon the Jaguar became identified as ‘Piggy’ due to its registration prefix.
Despite being fully functioning in the years leading up to 1990 and with MOT’s to support this, the keeper at the time Mr. Ridley decided it was time for a comprehensive restoration, and with the help of marque specialists such as Fisher Restoration, “Piggy” was brought back to its former glory.
Now being sold out of long term private ownership during which the Jaguar has been used sparingly for club meetings and the occasional long-distance tour, this is an excellent opportunity to purchase a lovely older restoration of one of the very rare and increasingly desirable Alloy bodied XK120’s.