The Jaguar XK120 was built by Jaguar from 1948 to 1954. It was Jaguar's first sports car since the SS 100, which stopped production in 1940.
The XK120 was first seen at the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 660001. It was almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The sports car caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and Chairman William Lyons to put it into production as quickly as possible.
The first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to all-steel construction in early 1950. The "120" in the name referred to the aluminium car's 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed (faster with the windscreen removed), which made it the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch.
In 1949 the first production car, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable.
The XK120 was made available in three versions or body styles, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as a roadster (OTS) then as a fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951 and finally as a drophead coupé (DHC) from 1953, all two-seaters and all available with Left (LHD) or Right Hand Drive (RHD).
A smaller-engined version with a 2-litre 4 cylinder engine, designated the XK100, aimed solely at the UK market was cancelled prior to production.
On 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 was timed at an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aero screen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry, a banked oval track in France, open XK120s averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour. In 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. ]Whoever said that Jaguars weren't reliable???]
XK120s were also highly successful in racing and rallying.
The open two-seater's lightweight canvas top and detachable sidescreens stowed out of sight behind the seats. Its doors had no external handles. There was an interior pull-cord accessed through a flap in the sidescreens when the weather equipment was in place. The windscreen could be removed for aeroscreens to be fitted.
To see more of these beautiful Jaguars, click on the link below!