‘The Jaguar XK150 is undeniably one of the world’s fastest and safest cars. It is quiet and exceptionally refined mechanically, docile and comfortable… we do not know of any more outstanding example of value for money.’ – The Autocar.
What would turn out to be the final glorious incarnation of Jaguar’s fabulous ‘XK’ series of sports cars arrived in 1957. As its nomenclature suggests, the XK150 was a progressive development of the XK120 and XK140, retaining the same basic chassis, 3.4-litre engine and four-speed Moss transmission of its predecessors while benefiting from a new, wider body that provided increased interior space and improved visibility courtesy of a single-piece wrap-around windscreen, replacing the XK140’s divided screen. Cleverly, the new body used many XK120/140 pressings, the increased width being achieved by means of a 4-wide central fillet.
A higher front wing line and broader radiator grille were other obvious differences, but the new model’s main talking point was its Dunlop disc brakes. Fade following repeated stops from high speed had been a problem of the earlier, drum-braked cars, but now the XK had stopping power to match its prodigious straight-line speed.
Introduced in the spring of 1957, the XK150 was available at first only in fixed and drophead coupé forms, the open roadster version not appearing until the following year. At 190bhp, the engine’s maximum power output was identical to that of the XK140 so performance was little changed. ‘Special Equipment’ and ‘S’ versions came with 210bhp and 250bhp respectively, the latter delivering an astonishing 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 136mph. This was achieved by the introduction of the Weslake-developed ‘straight-port’ cylinder head, high-compression pistons, triple 2” SU carburettors and twin electric fuel pumps. Overdrive and a Borg-Warner automatic gearbox were the transmission options, the latter becoming an increasingly popular choice, while a Thornton Powr-Lok limited-slip differential was available for the XK150 S. Steel wheels remained the standard fitting, though XK150’s so equipped are a great rarity, as most were sold in SE (Special Equipment) specification with centre-lock wire wheels. The much-admired chromed Jaguar mascot was made available as an optional extra on an XK for the first time.
This wonderful example was first delivered to Jaguar Cars New York in May 1958, finished in that very 1950’s colour scheme of Cream with a Red Leather interior. In more recent times the Jaguar has been repatriated back to the UK by a marque specialist, after which an exhaustive frame-off restoration was embarked upon. The restoration was comprehensive and is supported by invoices totalling over £50,000 for various works completed and parts acquired. The matching numbers engine was stripped, re-assembled and then re-fitted. All the brightwork has been either replaced or re-chromed along with a new set of wire wheels. The interior has also been re-trimmed again to a very high standard in blue, and the paint resplendent in a very stylish shade of ivory.
Offered with a UK V5C document, heritage certificate and thick file of invoices, this wonderful example of the XK is ready for long-distance touring once more.