After 6,725 hours of labour, a pricey Jaguar XK120 is reborn
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A unique, immaculately restored Pininfarina-bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE has been unveiled at the Pebble Beach concours d’elegance in California. According to British-based Jaguar specialist Classic Motor Cars (CMC), which carried out the restoration, the work took 6,725 hours.
The car was well received by the crowd at what is one of the world’s most prestigious events for classic car collectors and aficionados and was placed second in the O-2 Postwar Closed class.
Photo / Justin Leighton
This XK120 features unique bodywork by the renowned Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. It was first delivered to Max Hoffman in 1954, who was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European cars into the USA during the Fifties.
After its unveiling at the 1955 Geneva motor show, the XK appeared at the Autocar show in April that year. There had been a report that it was due to be exhibited at the Turin motor show in 1956, but never arrived due to the owner wanting to take delivery of it.
David Barzilay, chairman of CMC’s operating board, said: “There is little trace of the car’s history, but we are certain that Hoffman was the supplying dealer, then first owner, of the car and that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence.”
In 2015, CMC purchased the car from a German collector who had bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it. Unfortunately, he never got around to it and eventually decided to sell.
The car undergoing restortion at CMC near Bridgnorth. Photo / Matt Howel
Barzilay said: “Some of the original parts were impossible to find so we had to remake items such as the bumpers and chrome work by hand from photographs. We had to scan the front and rear end of the car and make mock-ups of the lights, which were then scanned and 3D printed. Smaller missing parts were also 3D printed in-house.
“The rear window was missing so we also had to scan the window aperture and have a new rear screen made from the scan data.”
During the pre-restoration inspection it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as a basis.
Barzilay said: “There were no signs of the original paint colour until, when the front screen was removed, we discovered a small section of original paint and used it as a colour match.”
The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original colour of the trim, but CMC discovered a small sample of original ochre tan leather when it stripped the car. Its colour was used as the basis for the re-trim with new hides.
The door cards were more problematic, so the restored car wears items with a shape and pattern of the door cards used on similar Pininfarina-designed cars from the period.
Photo / Wouter Melissen
The full body restoration included a complete rebuild of the car’s front end, new rear quarter panels, inner arch panels, boot floor, sills and door skins. The original XK120 chassis was repaired where necessary and repainted, along with a full refurbishment of the suspension.
In addition, the front and rear bumpers were remanufactured, along with 80 per cent of the chrome trim.
The 3.4-litre, straight-six engine was also rebuilt to standard specification. With its C-Type cylinder head and twin SU carburettors, it develops 180bhp at 5,300rpm. The gearbox also received a full rebuild.
Finally, the car was completed to the original Jaguar equipment specification.
The car might be offered for sale in the future, although it is so rare that CMC says it cannot put a price on it. What is certain is that, were CMC to sell, its provenance is likely to make it the most valuable XK ever.
- Telegraph UK