1954 Jaguar XKSOLD

Home market SE model, 2700hr restoration

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Registration No: NAB 399 Engine No: F3130/85 CC: 3442 Colour: Green Trim Colour: Beige MOT: T.B.A.

Reference Number 52034

as of 9/25/2009

Car 1954 Jaguar XK
VIN S667266 
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Known History

Launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, the Jaguar XK120 caused a sensation. Penned by Sir William Lyons, the model's sensuous lines seemed almost impossibly glamorous to a country still feeling the effects of rationing. While, the 120mph top speed that its name signified soon became the stuff of legend. Based around a cruciform-braced box-section chassis equipped with independent torsion-bar front suspension, a leaf-sprung 'live' rear axle and hydraulic drum brakes, the lithe Jaguar proved equally adept on road or track winning both the prestigious RAC Tourist Trophy and Alpine Trial during 1950 (the former victory coming at the hands of Sir Stirling Moss). Credited with developing some 160bhp and 190lbft of torque in standard tune, its indomitable 3442cc DOHC straight-six engine was allied to four-speed manual transmission.


Among the numerous options available was the performance enhancing `Special Equipment' package which included front foglights, wire wheels and high-lift camshafts. The latter reputedly helped boost engine output to 180bhp with an additional 30bhp promised to those who specified the `C-type' cylinder head too. Arguably, the defining sportscar of its generation, a perilously shaky post-WW2 British economy gave the Coventry manufacturer little choice but to concentrate on overseas sales. Introduced in April 1953, the Drophead Coupe was not only the last but also the rarest XK120 derivative. Offering significantly better weather protection than its roadster sibling, the newcomer featured a fully lined hood with integral frame and wind-up windows. An elegant looking machine regardless of whether its soft-top was up or down, the two-seater boasted a rich wood veneer dashboard and matching door cappings. Only in production between April 1953 and August 1954, just 294 of the 1,765 XK120 Drophead Coupes which rolled off the Browns Lane assembly line were to right-hand drive specification.


According to a Jaguar Cars Limited Production Trace Certificate on file, this particular example was completed on 26th May 1954 and despatched by the factory fifteen days later. A home market `Special Equipment' car, its first owner is recorded as C.J.D. Pink Esq of Derby Road, Worcester. How long Mr Pink retained it is unclear but by late 1964 the Drophead Coupe was registered to Francis Norris Esq of Saltram Crescent, London. Thereafter it is known to have passed through the hands of Graham Lucas Esq. of Brislington, Bristol, Martin Riley Esq. of Congleton, Cheshire, John Lloyd Esq of Nantwich, Cheshire and S.I. Felgate Esq and S.A. Bagnall Esq of Hampton, Middlesex. Thought to have been taken off the road sometime during the late 1960s - the last taxation stamp borne by its accompanying green continuation logbook dates from 31st August 1967 - the XK120 was reissued with the Worcestershire number plate `NAB 399' on 11th September 1987. A little under two years later, the two-seater was sold to previous keeper, Steven Carpenter Esq of Ashford Kent, by Eagle Racing of nearby Maidstone for £50,000.


The subject of an extensive engine and gearbox overhaul by marque specialist Derek Bullimore (reground crankshaft, new timing chain, main / big-end bearings, valve guides / springs, camshaft bearings, piston rings, core plugs, exhaust manifolds plus refurbished dynamo, starter motor and carburettors etc), the Jaguar was then entrusted to Classic Coachbuilders of Sittingbourne, Kent for a 2,700 hour `chassis up' restoration. As well as a thorough cosmetic makeover (new ash frame, numerous replacement body panels, re-plated / renewed brightwork, retrimmed interior, bare metal respray, fresh hood / hood bag etc), the Drophead Coupe received attention to its wiring, instrumentation, back axle, brakes and fuel system etc plus a cavity wax injection treatment. Given its first post-restoration service on 20th August 1993, `NAB 399' subsequently graced the pages of The Times newspaper during May 1995 as part of an article written by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in which he praised the XK120 as one of the best dozen cars that made Britain Great.


Entering the current ownership via a Brooks auction at Olympia on 22nd February 1997, the Drophead Coupe has since been treated to a reconditioned starter, new trafficator boss and replacement propshaft couplings etc. Sparingly used over the last twelve years, the Jaguar has formed part of a large private collection. Finished in the highly desirable combination of British Racing Green with beige leather upholstery, it is described by the vendor as being in "A1" condition with regard to its engine, four-speed manual gearbox, electrical equipment, bodywork and paintwork, while he rates the interior trim as "excellent". Reportedly retaining its original engine, this rare home market `Special Equipment' XK120 Drophead Coupe is worthy of close inspection.