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 842 Right Hand Drive examples produced, chassis 804183 was supplied in June 1955 by Litherland Motors of Liverpool to a Mr. Thomas Melling of Southport. Interestingly this example was originally painted in Mediterranean Blue with a matching dark blue leather interior, the first known XK140 to be painted in this shade.
In more recent times the Jaguar has benefited from attention to the engine and gearbox, and has been supplied with replacement wire wheels, a new bonnet strap and car cover. Invoices are on file for the work completed on the XK.
Supplied with the relevant Heritage Certificate, this is a wonderfully usable XK140 which can be enjoyed straight away.