1950 Jaguar XKSOLD

Raced at Bathurst by Chester J. Flynn

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Registration No: 956 XUR Engine No: T.B.A. CC: 3442 Colour: Silver Trim Colour: Red MOT: Sept 2010

Reference Number 58871

as of 11/24/2009

Car 1950 Jaguar XK
VIN 660185 
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Known History

Launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, the Jaguar XK120 Roadster 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. Literally flooded with orders, Jaguar began limited hand-built production soon thereafter (although, it was not until 1950 that the factory was sufficiently 'tooled-up' to discard aluminium in favour of steel for the curvaceous bodywork). 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 two-seater proved equally adept on road or track winning both the RAC TT 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 legendary 3442cc DOHC straight-six engine was allied to four-speed manual transmission. 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.


On the basis that right-hand drive XK120 Roadster production began with chassis number 660001, this particular example - chassis 660185 - is a notably early car. Reportedly dispatched to Brylaws of Melbourne, Australia on 14th September 1950, the Jaguar was allocated the Victoria registration number `SZ 999' on 27th November 1950. The following year saw the two-seater entered for the Australian Sporting Car Club's Easter Monday Bathurst Road Races. Held on March 26th 1951 at the Mountain Panorama road circuit, the event comprised seven races and attracted an estimated crowd of 35,000 people. Piloted by General Motors executive Chester J. Flynn, chassis 660185 duly took its place for The Production Sports Car Handicap (6 laps). The Australian Motor Sports magazine (April 1951) ran the following account of the race:


"The new starting clock clearly visible to all on the grid, ticked away the seconds; then the starter's flag dropped, two maroons burst, and the meeting was under way. All competitors started at once, handicap allowances being deducted after the finish; as was to be expected the XK120 Jaguars were first round the corner out of the pit straight, and first up the Mountain Straight. Hope Bartlett, making a comeback to racing with his XK120, was in the lead at the end of the first lap; not far behind him was Bill Patterson, driving the Mrs Luscombe XK120, then came Flynn (XK120), Doug Whiteford (A90) after an interval, and the rest of the field . . . During the next lap, Bill Patterson slipped in front of Bartlett coming down the mountain, and Whiteford was fifth; the next lap nearly saw the end of Patterson and the Luscombe Jaguar when Bill came over the top of the mountain on to the downhill esses, the length of McPhillamy Straight ahead of Bartlett, much too fast, locked on his front brakes, and jumped the ditch to hit a public address speaker . . . Meanwhile, Hope Bartlett increased his lead lap by lap, to cross the line a comfortable winner on time from Flynn on the other XK120 and Whiteford on the Austin A90".


Despite finishing first and second on the track, Bartlett and Flynn were demoted to 2nd and 6th places respectively once the handicap had been applied. Chester `Chet' Flynn was an American by birth and seems to have been some kind of international troubleshooter for GM. Returning to America in 1952, he is presumed to have taken chassis 660185 with him if only because the Roadster is known to have been resident there for a long while. Flynn is recorded as having campaigned a XK120 at Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen later that same year but it is unknown whether it was his ex-Bathurst mount or not. By 1954 he was working as Production Manager at GM Venezuela and had acquired a left-hand drive XK120 for further circuit duties. Either well paid by GM or a man of independent means, Flynn contested the Sebring 12 hours in 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958 helming a Mercedes-Benz 300SL `Gullwing' on the first three occasions and a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa on the last; he also ran a Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa in US national / club races and ended his competitive career with a nasty but non-fatal spill aboard a Porsche 718K.


Although discarded by Flynn the Jaguar appears to have found safe haven in North America. Originally finished in silver with red leather upholstery - the livery it pleasingly sports today - the XK120 had been painted black by the time Mr Terrel of Connecticut acquired it in 1982. Apparently, the subject of a rolling restoration between 1985 and 1992, the two-seater passed through the hands of Joseph Drew of Olympic Valley, California and Sierra Classics of Reno, Nevada before entering the current ownership. Riding on correct type steels wheels - just as it did at Bathurst in 1951 - chassis 660185 is described by the vendor as being in "very good" (electrical equipment, four-speed manual gearbox) or "excellent" (engine, interior trim, bodywork, paintwork) condition. While, he adds that the two-seater "drives very well" and benefits from "full weather equipment". Worthy of close inspection, this early steel-bodied XK120 is offered for sale with V5C Registration Document, MOT certificate current until September 2010 and sundry paperwork (including a copy of the Australian Motor Sports magazine race report).