Stalled Project: 1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

I still remember the first time I saw an XK120 and just how in aw I was by it. It was a beautiful dark green roadster that was in immaculate condition. Ever since, I’ve dreamt of one day owning one of these iconic British cars. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford one. I don’t think I could even afford to buy a project like this one found here on eBay in Clearwater, Florida. At $15k, it is well beyond what I could justify spending on a project, but that’s just how desirable these cars are right now.

The initial $15k you will spend to just get this car is only the tip of the iceberg, as it has all the typical rust issues you would expect from a British roadster that has spent who knows how long in a barn in Florida. You could do the vast majority of the rust repair and body work yourself, which would save you considerable money, but you will still have to spend a decent chunk of money on parts and paint.

Apparently the engine has already been rebuilt, which could be a good thing if it was done properly and is ready for use. It’s currently backed by a none original transmission, as the original was taken apart and never put back together. It comes with the car, which is a plus. The seller states that there are boxes of parts that come with it and lists some of what’s still here. While it’s good that the bumpers and interior are still with it, you never know what might be missing or beyond repair, and that’s where things could get expensive. If you have expense restoring one of these beautiful roadster, I’d love to hear about your experience and whether you think this one is worth taking on!

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Comments

  1. bob S

    Looks like not too much rust to me. If I bought it, couldn’t care less if the gearbox was original. Hope it finds the right owner who will do what’s right.

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  2. Bernie H.

    I’ve been thru this before, your labor rate be free or the project is a black hole. Now, for the talented guy, this is on the border of restorable, but look carefully as lots of missing parts. Interior/canvas/top/chrome/sizable body reworking/paint can get expensive quickly. Go to church this Sunday and pray that the engine rebuild was done by someone who UNDERSTANDS Jag engine internals. A “ring and bearing job” is not good enough. I suspect the frame will have issues the seller may not see,as corrosion starts inside the framing. Could be a good challenging project if you have the time.

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  3. Drake Roberts

    NO WAY been there done that OMG everything needs replaced.

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  4. 55chevy Chuck Foster

    I saw one of these today at a Car show in Panama City Beach, nice looking and only $12,000. Had a 6 cylinder even, but fiberglass body/replica LOL, seemed like a decent deal to me.

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  5. Richard Prokopchuk

    I feel as you do concerning my first time seeing one. It was like sex, really. I too will likely never own one, but my oh my, looking is grand.

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  6. James

    At $15k that’s a bargain. .What are all of you car guys so afraid of restoration wise. Looks like a good place to start.

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  7. jcs

    I’m not sure about all this talk of $15,000. The bidding is currently at $19,100 with RESERVE NOT MET. Who knows what the reserve, but it would appear that it’s at least $20,000 and probably more.

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  8. lawrence

    Mr Goode on my paper route was one owner – it sat in the garage with 1956 plates until 2009 when the daughter got it after he passted

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  9. Dennis M

    Overpriced for what it is IMHO.

    Not surprised about the gearbox, I rebuilt two of them – one a close ratio – and that box is definitely one of the “fiddly bits” as the Brits are fond of saying. A whole raft of needle bearings that you have to keep in place as the various shafts are installed!

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  10. KevinW

    Whoa, this looks exactly like one of my late father’s projects! He found it in a garage that was collapsing down around it. It also had a rebuilt V-12, but Dad had no faith in whoever did the work. I could almost swear this is the same car, in the same condition as when Dad owned it! It was sold to a guy from Dallas in about ’92.

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  11. Black Cat

    Not over-priced, yet, but likely will be before the reserve is met. These are great cars, true post-war classics, and parts are no longer a problem. One can get anything needed, albeit at a price that may seem steep. Having never met a car I didn’t like in some way, I’ve never met a car that I like more than a Jaguar XK.

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  12. Ben T. Spanner

    I also have been there and done that. Any rust repair takes a lot of talent. I had 2 XK 140’s and 2 brand new old stock doors. None of the doors were the same length. The bonnets, (hoods) are not the same length and require a lot of fitting.

    If you have the talent and the time go for it. If you have to have it done, buy a”finished” car.

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  13. rawcar2long

    Times change, back in the early 60’s when these cars were less than 10 years old, pals of mine bought rough but running 120″s for $200-$400. (about $3k today). Loved them back then, Stucker’s (Staten Island, NY) junk yard had the parts. I don’t envy you guys today, even with help from the Internet, Harbor Freight, etc.

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  14. John H from CT

    This car looks potentially restorable, but don’t waste your time trying to bring it to driver level. A highly correct, concours restoration is not that much more costly given the current state of this one. Compared to a $70K good driver, the best ones fetch north of $100K so it pays to do them right. –The early alloy bodied cars are north of $300K.

    This one looks ideal for the retired guy that can spend 2-4 years doing it slowly and correctly, with a nice garage to work in.

    There is a gent in CT I know who has done this twice. His Mark 2 is a JCNA national champion. He has a drive-in basement and does all his own work, with the exception of some machining and paint.

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    • Jimbosidecar

      I also have a friend in CT restoring one. He got involved in one of the Concours there and I don’t know if he ever finished it. Wonder if we’re talking about the same guy?

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  15. John H. from CT

    Hi Jimbo,

    I don’t believe so. My guy’s last poject was an XKE coupe, which he also completed to a 99+ concours level.

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