Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed
Thursday 27th January 2011

Open Season: Jaguar XK120

We find out just how broad a church roof-down winter motoring can be with a truly classic Jag



I should not be doing this. A vaguely grimy car park, an old brick wall, a grey January day and a shabby happy-snapper digital camera just does not do the beauty of this Jaguar XK120 justice.

This car deserves some sort of epic art deco architecture on the French Riviera as a back-drop, - all palm trees and bold geometric architecture as a backdrop - and a cameraman and camera that's way better than Yours Truly.

But despite the shabby surroundings, this deep-black XK120 just seems to ooze glamour, and that's just what PH Open Season is about - putting some shine on an otherwise grey and cold motoring season with a spot of roof-down motoring.


Our little trip to the Coys showroom in south west London to sample some classic open-top motoring had originally been set to culminate in a spin in a gorgeous silver 1958 Ferrari 250 GT, but since that's a good £2m-worth of car, the owner understandably declined to let somebody with no hope of actually buying the thing to take it for a test drive.

Next Coys offered us a buzz in an AC Ace that had been retro-fitted with the same HiPo Ford V8 that full-on Cobras got...but that developed a fuel leak, and if there's one thing you don't want spraying all over your rapidly warming V8, it's unburnt fuel...This left the XK120 - hardly a bad 'consolation prize', especially with no fuel leak and worth a far less terrifying £75k.


With its massive unassisted steering wheel and no synchromesh on the four-speed gearbox, the XK does feel like a bit of an old-stager, but then this particular car has been around for 60 years, and the model itself is close to being able to draw a state pension.

Back in 1951, though, the XK120 must have felt - and looked - like something from another planet. Indeed, when most other cars on the road would struggle to maintain 50mph, the XK120, courtesy of its twin carb-fed 3.4-litre 160bhp straight six, could hit 60mph in just 10.0secs and 126mph flat-out. In fact, the proud first owner of this car could have cruised through the countryside smug in the knowledge that a car not too dissimilar to it (the C-type) had just won Le Mans - not bad for a car costing around a quarter the price of a V12 Ferrari.


You wouldn't want to try La Sarthe-style driving in modern urban traffic, mind. Juggling the gearchange, brakes and steering is quite enough of a challenge. It is a deeply satisfying one, however, and it makes even the most mundane of trundles feel genuinely special. If you did the same journey as us in a modern car - an automatic Mercedes, say - you would be bored within minutes.

And that's the key to the appeal of a car like the XK120 - its interactive, even recalcitrant nature makes it fun, a challenge and encourages a connection between driver and machine that you just don't get in modern cars. It elevates driving beyond the robotic nature of so many modern a-to-b journeys and reminds you that it is more than just a way of getting from one place to another in convenience and comfort, that it can be just as much about enjoyment and involvement as it is about simple, mechanical transport.


If you're at all jaded about modern motoring, with its traffic jams and ever-increasing fuel prices, do everything you can to wangle a spin in a Jaguar XK120 - it's as fine a tonic as there is, whether you're in Richmond or the Riviera.

 

 

 





   
   
   


Riggers
2 3
Reply to Topic
Author Discussion

ess

Original Poster:

215 posts

64 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
If only £75k was burning a hole.....
An object of absolute beauty

dinkel

22,545 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Beautifull car. Jarrah Venerables raced this JD Classics at Spa last year:



Alicatt1

586 posts

81 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Ah fond memories, my fathers friend back in the 1970s had a concourse condition blue XK120 coupe reg no. was JAG 120, and another had a race bred XK120 roadster with 350+ hp on tap and a short geared rear axle for hill climbs. It was fun to go to races in them the roadster was hairy and spent most of it's time sideways smile it took the class record at the Rumster Hill Climb in 1976. There is a picture of the car on the front page of this web site http://www.gibbonandwilson.co.uk/index.html

RichB

30,637 posts

170 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Pistonheads said:
Our little trip to the Coys showroom in south west London to sample some classic open-top motoring had originally been set to culminate in a spin in a gorgeous silver 1958 Ferrari 250 GT
Personally I'd take both the AC and the XK120 over a Ferrari any day. Especially if this was the one, look at those blinged-up over-riders hehe


Rusty-C

280 posts

61 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
I'm loving the look of that old school Jag, why do so few cars have semi enclosed rear wheels these days? Surely it would helps with aerodynamics and subsequently fuel economy - as seen in the Honda Insight.
Advertisement

Luca Brasi

840 posts

60 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Lovely car but that Ferraricloud9. I was born 50 or so years too late, thx mum and dadfrown

Edited by Luca Brasi on Thursday 27th January 09:56

M666 EVO

888 posts

48 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
B. E. A. UTIFUL...

Cliche BUT, they really don't make them like they used to

vintageracer01

873 posts

61 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Well, here we go!

Bill

32,055 posts

141 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
They are tiny though. I'm 6'2" and it took me three or four goes to get behind the wheel, and sixty miles an hour with no seatbelt and the top of a windscreen a foot in front of your nose focuses the mind biggrincloud9

Dalto123

2,668 posts

49 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
RichB said:
Pistonheads said:
Our little trip to the Coys showroom in south west London to sample some classic open-top motoring had originally been set to culminate in a spin in a gorgeous silver 1958 Ferrari 250 GT
Personally I'd take both the AC and the XK120 over a Ferrari any day. Especially if this was the one, look at those blinged-up over-riders hehe

I've been in a 1958 250 GT (Tour de France). Unbelievably awsome car with a soundtrack to die for. Something I'll never forget :-)

Riggers

1,851 posts

64 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Bill said:
They are tiny though. I'm 6'2" and it took me three or four goes to get behind the wheel, and sixty miles an hour with no seatbelt and the top of a windscreen a foot in front of your nose focuses the mind biggrincloud9
I'm not the slimmest of fellows, but I'm hardly tall at 5ft 8in, and I would wouldn't want to be any taller!

Lanby

911 posts

100 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
What's the maroon coloured car, second down?

Looks nice

Pat H

6,474 posts

142 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Lanby said:
What's the maroon coloured car, second down?

Looks nice
Tis an AC Ace, methinks.

The forerunner and inspiration for the infamous Cobra.

drink

havoc

21,192 posts

121 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
You're a lucky man Riggers...have a very soft spot for the classic Jags...pretty much from this one right through to the XKE!

soad

19,623 posts

62 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Sure looks pleasing on an eye, it's simply a beauty. Take it out on the open roads, work those pedals and gear change, grin like mad :-)

pSyCoSiS

1,878 posts

91 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Riggers has done it again!

What an iconic machine - lovely, sleek and smooth lines.

Just makes modern cars look so st!

jamespink

656 posts

90 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
I'll take the XK140 in BRG please Bob. Propper drivin'

jith

2,119 posts

101 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
Alicatt1 said:
Ah fond memories, my fathers friend back in the 1970s had a concourse condition blue XK120 coupe reg no. was JAG 120, and another had a race bred XK120 roadster with 350+ hp on tap and a short geared rear axle for hill climbs. It was fun to go to races in them the roadster was hairy and spent most of it's time sideways smile it took the class record at the Rumster Hill Climb in 1976. There is a picture of the car on the front page of this web site http://www.gibbonandwilson.co.uk/index.html
I have probably met you at one time or another.

JAG 120 belonged to Bob Kerr from Luss and was British Racing Green. Bob raced it at Doune regularly and did quite well. It was equipped with 3 twin choke SUs; the only ones I have ever come across.

Both Jamie and Bob were close rivals at the time.

Regards,

J

Edited by jith on Thursday 27th January 12:48

Trevora

13 posts

92 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
I have an XK120 fixed head which has just gone back on the road after a year long restoration. I too can echo the remarks that driving one of these is definitely an occasion that modern cars do not match. My car has standard drum brakes a steering box and a Moss four speed box. The ride quality is excellent the engine is powerful and the looks are stunning. Roll on the summer and holidays in France.

RichB

30,637 posts

170 months

[news] 
Thursday 27th January 2011 quote quote all
jith said:
... It was equipped with 3 twin choke SUs; the only ones I have ever come across.
Crikey, I didn't realise these existed but a quick Google revealed this picture of a pair fitted to the Triumph TRS Le Mans car known as "Sebrina".


2 3
Reply to Topic