'Mystery' one-off Pininfarina Jaguar XK120 returns home
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A Pininfarina bodied Jaguar XK120 returned home last week for its first ever public outing in the UK after a 6,725 hour restoration brought the one-off coupe back to life.
English-based Jaguar specialists Classic Motor Cars (CMC), who completed the mammoth restoration, brought the XK120 to London last weekend where it stared in the London Classic Car Show.
The special 1954 XK120 is one of the most highly regarded classic cars of 2017 when it won the Restoration of the Year award in the British Octane Awards. The car also claimed an award at last year's Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, USA, where it was unveiled in its restored state for the first time.
Nigel Woodward, Managing Director at Classic Motor Cars, said he was excited to bring the Jaguar back home, a car that is no stranger to the limelight of the big city.
"It turned heads when it was unveiled at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show, and at its second unveiling at Pebble Beach," said Woodward.
Unlike any other XK120, Chassis S675360 features unique bodywork by famed Italian design house Pininfarina.
It was first delivered to Automotive Hall of Fame inductee Max Hoffman, an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles into the United States.
The Jaguar XK120 SE by Pininfarina pictured at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
It is believed that Hoffman inspired Pininfarina to reinterpret the shapes of the XK and then unveiled it at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show, but there are big gaps in the one-off creation's history.
“The car’s life is a bit of a mystery as there is not much information about its whereabouts after it was last seen in 1955," said Woodward.
"CMC purchased it in 2015 from a German gentleman who had bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it, but never got round to it. We took on the challenge of restoring it and an epic 6,725-hour journey then began.”
Nigel Woodward said that the one-off Jaguar XK120 was one of the most challenging restorations ever undertaken by CMC.
"We managed to restore every aspect of it, from the unique body and structure through to paint, trim and mechanical elements, whilst saving as much of the original car as possible.”
During the pre-restoration forensic inspection it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as the basis, also that a previous owner had painted the exterior in Burgundy, covered the seats with tan leather and changed various other aspects.
Some of the original parts were impossible to find such as bumpers and chrome work, so CMC remade them by hand from photographs. They also had to scan the front and rear end of the car in order to make mock ups of the lights, which were then scanned and reproduced.
The rear window was missing and 3D scanning technology was used to scan the window aperture and make a new rear screen from the scan data.
There were no signs of the original paint colour, but when the front screen was removed, a small section of original paint was discovered and used as a colour match by CMC’s paint specialist.
The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original trim colour. A small sample of original leather was discovered when stripping the car down, which was colour matched and the original leather type and colour was used to recreate the original Ochre tan.
The shape and pattern of the door cards were recreated by looking at similar Pininfarina designed cars from the period.