Jaguar XK120 OTS - Built to SE Spec - LHD
Mille Miglia - Previous entrant
Colour: Dark Blue with Maroon leather.
Jaguar XK120 OTS – Built to SE Spec – LHD – 1954
A car that just takes your breath away.
An XK120 Roadster built to SE spec. Manufactured in 1954. According to the copy of its FIVA Identity Card, the car came off the end of Jaguar’s Browns Lane production line in June of that year, bound for the USA.
It was first registered in August of that year to an R.Burneson of California.
It then passed to Walter D.Willett (Arizona) and was the subject of a body-off, chassis-up restoration before being acquired in 2006 by the multi-franchise car dealer and renowned classic car collector Bill Jacobs of Illinois. Jacobs passed away in 2010 and the still immaculate Jaguar was purchased by Albert Chin of New Jersey the following January 2011, before being sold to Chris Au (also of New Jersey) later the same year. It was in 2013 that its then American owner had it UK registered and drove in that, and the ensuing year’s Mille Miglia retrospective. The next custodian acquired ‘385 YUT’ in September 2015, and was a the first UK owner.
The car was purchased by him with the plan to do the race again, but due to illness, it never did. The car was stored until the current owner bought it 18 months ago and since then it has been undergoing mechanical improvements to make it ready to tackle anything you’ll want to throw at it.
2020/21 – Work in summary:
- Refurbished brake shoes
- All new brake pipework and master cylinder flush
- Fuel tank flush and replacement fuel lines
- Engine flush and full overhaul
- Radiator refurb along with cooling flush and all replacement pipework
- Replacement and upgrade of steering and suspension bushes
- New plugs and bespoke leads
- Carb upgrade and overhaul
- Full tuning by Carl Dyke, Chesterfield
- Gearbox oil replacement
- New battery
- Upgraded wiring loom
Total expenditure, £15k
Both sets of Mille Miglia number badges are present with the car, these have been framed (as pictured on the car in an older set of photos).
The lead seals attached to the steering column reflect the Mille Miglia participation.
The background and link to Jabbeke….
XK120 production spanned five years and the car was manufactured in three different guises – Roadster, Fixed Head Coupe and Drophead Coupe; the combined production volumes of which were 12,055.
Special Equipment – SE. (This car has been built to an exact SE specification).
In May 1949, Jaguar demonstrated an XK120 to the press, this was in order to confirm the models top speed potential. This was carried out on the high-speed autoroute between Jabbeke and Aalter in Belgium. The road was closed for the occasion.
The white left-hand drive car, chassis number 670002, was the second XK120 built. Jaguar’s development engineer Walter Hassan was to have driven but fell ill, so Jaguar test-driver Ron “Soapy” Sutton substituted.
With hood and sidescreens erected, and the airflow under the car improved by the addition of a full-length aluminium undertray, the Jaguar was timed through the flying mile by the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium at 126.448 mph (203.498 km/h).
With hood, sidescreens and windscreen removed, a metal airflow deflector fitted in front of the driver, and a tonneau cover fastened over the passenger side of the cockpit the speed improved to 132.596 mph (213.393 km/h).
The Observer’s Book of Automobiles said it was the fastest production car in the world at the time. The Special Equipment ‘S’ series cars made in 1948-1949 had better compression ratios and were capable of top speeds of 128 mph.
In standard form, an original SE is endowed with 180bhp, but it is understood that, when restored, ‘385 YUT’ was equipped with a slightly later XK120 cylinder block topped by a C-Type cylinder head that would have raised the output to c.210bhp. The Identity Card makes mention of a ‘partial cosmetic restoration’ in 2011/2012. This was just 3500 miles ago.
The car comes complete with: Brooklands aeroscreen in place of the standard windscreen; evocative teardrop headrest, leather bonnet strap and pair of period Lucas spotlights; and rides on chromed wire wheels.
It has already completed two Mille Miglia retrospectives and is eligible for further historic events. The car is in ‘the perfect condition’, with just the right amount of patina to the paintwork to suit it what it’s supposed to be, a road/race XK120 Roadster.
The car is performing as well as any XK120 I’ve ever driven, it has been set up for fast road driving by Carl Dyke, and it pulls hard, the car is a real sports car, and of course eligible for future runs in the Mille Miglia.
Overall – The condition of the car is superb, the dark blue paintwork, maroon interior, and chrome all combining to make this a beautiful car from all angles.
If you are looking for a car as a possible Mille Miglia entrant, this car has been set up beautifully and is ready to go.