1957 Jaguar XK140 OTS
Seller Asking: $90,000
When Jaguar brought out the XK120, it was initially intended as a testbed for the company’s new “XK” engine. When displayed at the 1948 London Motor Show, it caused quite a stir amongst the public, and Jaguar president William Lyons was convinced to press the car into production. With its gorgeous curvaceous styling and powerful twin-cam inline-6 under the hood, the XK120 was the fastest car in the world when it went on sale. Yet, it did not carry the stratospheric price typically associated with that title. But after 5 years of successful production, Jaguar wanted to update the XK120 by adding power, improving interior space, and modernizing the design with the launch of the XK140 in 1954. The XK140 retains much of the classic beauty of the XK120 but in a far more usable package thanks in large part to its increased interior volume, rack and pinion steering and better steering wheel placement. Available as an open two seater (OTS), Drophead Coupe (DHC) or fixed head coupe (FHC), the XK140 was sold through 1957 and nearly 9,000 units were produced in that time.
Built in January of 1957, this XK140 SE OTS started life as a higher powered version of the classic Jaguar that features a “C-Type” cylinder head from the Jaguar performance catalog and dual exit rear exhaust. According to the Production Record Trace Certificate from the Jaguar Heritage Trust, this XK140 is an original US delivery car that was finished in Cotswold Blue Over Red Leather when new. The car was sold to the current owner in 1983 after having been off the road for more than a decade, and upon his purchasing, he began to go through the car to make it roadworthy once again.
In 1999, the XK140 underwent a comprehensive restoration that ended in the early 2000s and has been refinished in a classic red over tan color combination. It is believed that during this time, the original engine was traded out for a 3.8L XK engine from a contemporary saloon car yet it no longer retains the C-Type cylinder head. Shortly after the restoration, the car made its way around the San Francisco Bay Area show circuit where it racked up a number of trophies between 2002 and 2008. Included with the sale is a large binder with a comprehensive history of the car that includes photographs of the car pre-restoration, a chronicle of said restoration and then results of all the shows it has attended after its completion. Over the last few years, the car has been parked in the owner’s garage and used sparingly, resulting in the need for some minor service work to make it run and drive as it should. As it stands, the car drives quite well, making smooth power throughout the rev range and the 4-speed gearbox shifts smoothly. The brakes have been serviced and stop the car well and the electric choke system comes on and off smoothly at the flick of a dash-mounted switch.
Visually the car still presents quite nicely given the more than 20 year old restoration. The XK140 has picked up some minor paint defects and is probably not a show winner in its current state, but with a bit of work, there is no reason it couldn’t be brought back to that condition. On the inside, the upholstery and carpets have held up exceptionally well over the years, owing to the care and consideration put into the restoration initially. That being said, they would benefit from a deep cleaning and some leather conditioning to bring the car back to show-ready condition.
Clearly this XK140 was the owner’s pride and joy for years and the comprehensive restoration and meticulous upkeep over the decades is a testament to that. This is a car that with a bit of work, could be returned to its old show winning state, or alternately, would make an exceptional driver that you would be proud to take out for a weekend cruise. The opportunity to purchase an XK140 that has been under single ownership for 40 years does not come along frequently and this example comes with the added benefit of having been thoroughly sorted over the years, meaning it is ready to be enjoyed.