The XK120 set new standards in car design and manufacture, but some of Jaguar’s suppliers needed time to catch up – they were not used to making lights and brakes for 120+ mph cars. It is to Jaguar’s credit that it ran a development programme which continued to within months of the last XK150.
When the XK140 was announced in 1954 it was essentially a Mk II version. It retained the excellent dynamics of the XK120 and its superb level of appointment and attention to detail. Engine power increased to 190bhp; there were stiffer torsion bars and improved lights, cooling, brakes and steering.
The main improvement, however, was moving the engine and scuttle three inches forward which gave better handling and improved cockpit space without compromising the car’s stunning lines.
On the coupés models there were additional seats for children but – nice touch – the back squabs were detachable so that an adult could use the space seated across the car. The entire range abounded with clever details such that the XK series is one of the few which truly merit the term ‘great’. Of the three variants the factory offered, the drophead coupé was the least common and just 2,789 were made. With its permanently attached hood (the frame is a minor masterpiece) and wind-up windows, it is an ideal compromise between the more sparsely equipped roadster and the fixed-head coupé.
All three models were outstanding, however, and only the most expensive exotica could match them either under real driving conditions or for kerbside presence. Taking into account reliability, refinement and sheer pleasure of driving, the XK140 was one of the outstanding cars of its day and it remains one of the greatest classic cars.
One of only 480 right hand drive cars produced, this fine example, specified with the high compression motor, was delivered new by Hersham and Walton Motors of Walton on Thames on the 14th May 1955, to a Mr. Arthur Baron. The car later found itself on the south coast of England, where it was sold in 1976 by Auto Service Garage of Bournemouth to a Dutch enthusiast by the name of Mr. Pezie.
The current owner informs us the car has enjoyed a body off restoration to a high standard, and is now presented in excellent condition in all respects. The XK looks stunning in the period combination of Old English White with a Tobacco leather interior.
Supplied with a Heritage Certificate, title document, older UK MoTs and numerous older invoices, this is a truly beautiful example of an iconic sportscar of the 1950s.