1-of-33? 1959 Jaguar XK 150S Fixed-Head Coupe

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British sports cars retain a strong following in the classic community, especially if those vehicles wear the Jaguar badge. The interest increases enormously if the car in question is a rare version. That is the case with this 1959 Jaguar XK 150S Fixed-Head Coupe. Only around thirty-three of these in left-hand-drive form are believed to remain in the United States, and its potential value might justify a faithful restoration. The Jag is listed here on eBay in Norwell, Massachusetts. The seller set their BIN at $45,000, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this beauty.

Jaguar introduced the XK 150 in 1957, with production continuing until 1961. It represented an evolution of the previous XK 140 but was physically larger to provide more space for occupants. Buyers could select from a Fixed-Head Coupe (FHC), a Drophead Coupe (DHC), or an Open Two-Seater (OTS) version. Our feature car is an FHC, and if I’m brutally honest, I don’t find the styling as elegant as its siblings. Your opinion may differ from mine, and I respect that. It has a known history, and the seller includes a Jaguar Heritage Certificate verifying its authenticity and specifications. It started life wearing Mist Grey paint, and the fact it is faded and chipped represents the least of the new owner’s problems. This car has rust, and it is pretty severe. The trunk pan has rotted, but the state of the floors is unclear. However, a glimmer of light arrives with the news that the frame is solid. I believe the new owner faces a rotisserie restoration if they are to do this car justice, and I see plenty of grinding and welding in their future. The panels show penetrating rust in several areas, while many trim pieces sport surface corrosion. The original wire wheels are in a similar state and will require the attention of a specialist to return to a safe and roadworthy condition.

Buyers in 1959 could order their new XK 150 with a 3.4-liter DOHC six-cylinder engine producing 190hp. By opting for the SE version, that figure climbed to 210hp. The company added a third option in 1958, with an upgraded “S” derivative producing 250hp. That is what we find hiding under the hood of this Jag, and the power feeds to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Performance figures for this configuration are difficult to locate, but contemporary tests revealed it could romp from 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds. That is considerably faster than the 9.2 seconds achieved by the SE, suggesting that the S should also improve on the SE’s 16.6-second ¼-mile ET. The factory confirmed a top speed of 132mph, which was impressive for a car with this engine capacity. That brings us to the question of rarity and how the seller’s claims stack up. They state the company produced 98 examples of the XK 150S in left-hand-drive form. However, I’ve also seen sources quote 108 and 149 cars. Regardless of which is correct, that does make it relatively rare. They also say that only 67 of those reached the United States, but I’ve seen other resources state a figure of 98. These numbers are conceivable since the US was not the only LHD market receiving the XK 150S. Given the tendency of these classics to succumb to rust, the seller’s claim that only 33 cars remain in North America may be possible. Still, it would be worth a deeper investigation to uncover the truth. Our feature Jag is numbers-matching, and the seller believes the engine and transmission have never been pulled. Surprisingly, the motor starts and runs, which could mean that rebuilding may not be essential if it proves healthy. If so, that would knock a considerable amount of money from the restoration costs.

The unmolested state of this XK continues when we examine its interior. It is trimmed in Red, which conforms to the information on the Jaguar Heritage Certificate. The interior is also trashed, requiring a total restoration to return to its former glory. This is when the new owner will need to take a deep breath because the process will significantly lighten their wallet. Complete kits are available, but they leave no change from $6,900. Ouch! That’s a lot of money, but considering the potential value locked in this car, the expense might be justified.

While figures vary on the production and import totals for the LHD 1959 Jaguar XK 150S Fixed-Head Coupe, there is no doubt it is a rare classic. I would never classify the BIN as cheap, and I couldn’t see the total investment amounting to less than $90,000 before this Jaguar returns to a pristine state. That means it isn’t a project that suits everyone, and that figure doesn’t account for unforeseen problems. That raises the question of whether the potential value justifies that level of expenditure. Provided the budget doesn’t blow out by much, I believe it does. Recent sales results in six-figure territory are common, and if the buyer achieves perfection, a price of $150,000 is possible. I know it represents a significant slice of cash, but would you consider tackling this build and hoping for that financial reward?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Not a lot of “beauty” associated with this car now but it could be after what is going to be a hugely expensive restoration. Someone is going to buy this car but the going in price should be a bit lower to offset the restoration work. With no pictures I’d bet the body-on-frame has got a bunch of rust to deal with. If you get a chance to see one either original or restored you will be impressed just how good looking these cars are.

    Like 6
  2. Charles Sutton

    I like cars, but there’s a lot of terminology I don’t know. What is the difference between a “drophead” and a “fixed-head” coupe?

    Like 0
    • Andre

      Drop-head = convertible, soft-top roadster etc
      Fixed head = hard, non-removable roof

      Like 2
    • Lee

      Drophead is a convertible and Fixed head is a hardtop. Check out these other British terms.


      Some are a hoot. And if someone tells you to “bugger off”, they don’t mean you have a bug on your shirt.

      Like 4
      • GitterDunn

        It might be worth adding here that technically, not all ragtops are “convertibles”; those with (or without) side-curtains for driving in bad weather, and no roll-up glass windows are either roadsters (2-seaters), phaetons or open touring cars (4- 5- 7-seaters). With roll-up glass windows, they are convertible (or drophead) coupes or convertible sedans.

        Like 4
      • 370zpp 370zppMember

        Let’s not forget the “door cards”.

        Like 1
    • JohnfromSC

      Close, but not correct folks. The XK was made in three variants: the fixed head coupe as this one is, a drop head coupes DHC, and an open two seater OTS. The drop head coupe is a convertible with teenie back seats. The convertible top stows away above the body line. The OTS has no back seat and the convertible top folds behind the seats below the body line for a cleaner look. I am fortunately to own a XK150S OTS.

      Like 1
    • Glenn ReynoldsMember

      A drophead is a more civilized version of a roadster. Roll up windows, perhaps
      more wood trim on the doors and a more substantial convertable top.

      Like 0
  3. DA

    With the amount of rust, rot, and scale, this is nothing short of a shame. Not worth 45K, with all the unknowns.

    Like 7
  4. Steven

    $90,000 total investment with pristine restoration. Apologies but I don’t think so. Probably more like $150,000 total.

    Like 6
    • wizzy

      Well over 100K for a quality restoration, plus cost of car, plus moving it to wherever. Ask me how I know. You’ll be over the current market value when you’re done, but who cares, it’ll only get more valuable, if that’s what is important to you.

      Like 4
  5. Charles Sutton

    Thanks! Very helpful!

    Like 1
  6. charlieMember

    Owned a ’60 150S. Frame very rusted at 10 years in New England. Ran when it ran, maybe one week out of 4, before internet, getting parts was very hard to do. Inskip Motors on Long Island NY was the prime source and very pricey. But when it ran, it RAN. A great driver car, ass planted almost on the floor, up against the rear axel, legs and arms almost out straight in front of you, then a long hood, and, for 1960, acceleration that was incredible.

    Like 6
    • Laurence

      I owned a ’58 in nice condition and it was the most reliable car I had ever had until that time. I would service it correctly and on time, and it never let me down. The next owner was also pleased with it. To think that in 1979 I sold it for $7 thousand!

      Like 3
  7. Bruce

    I have had the opportunity to work on two of these coups and they are an amazing ride when finished properly. Please note the rusted away drivers side signal bump. That is so common on these. They were LEADED in and the tin worm has such an easy place to get into as often times those gaps were not painted properly and simple condensation got started within those bumps. Similar things happened to the eyebrows of Mercedes 300 SL’s and other cars of the period with such design features.

    I can only suspect how badly the frame is rusted but one wonders is the engineer of the frame might have has a previous career building bridges. The frame if not bent can be fixed with relative ease. To the new owner almost all the parts mechanical, exterior and interior are available in reproduction form they just cost an arm and a leg to purchase.

    That is only the start as these cars were also hand fitted and there are subtle variations when they were assembled at the factory. Assume that adjustments in fitting will be necessary and to do it right will consume a larger part of your pocket book then you might expect for the labor. THAT being said DO IT RIGHT. While not the most beautiful car in the world there is an elegance to these that exists right to this day.

    As for the cost of the interior. The kit is only part of that cost. Fitting those panels and stretching that leather, carpet and other trim is very REPEAT very time consuming to get right. Again elegant when finished properly but for God’s sake do not brake any of the glass unless you have an extra kidney to sell. That is if you can find them. Last time I looked for someone we could not find any at all. That might have changed in the 20 years or so since I looked last but it is a consideration.

    In terms of performance with those narrow tires this IS NOT UP TO CURRENT PERFORMANCE but if just used for touring it will do just fine but leave more room than you expect in a new car for braking distance until you get used to it.

    The most important thing when finished is that this car WILL ATTRACT ATTENTION for the same reason a well finished sail boat will. This is both a piece of history and something that is valued by both time and the owner. That shows because it is different and has that elegance I spoke of earlier. I know what a pain in the ass these cars can be but I have driven them more than once on test drives and with owners to other cities on trips and there is just an amazing feeling within. It makes you feel special in a manner I do not have the words to describe.

    There is plenty to do, hard work and simple assemble but when finished you will have something to be proud of. Something worth the effort.

    Like 11
  8. MikeB

    I’m guessing it would take the better part of two years to restore this car correctly. Something to consider if you are a senior person.

    Like 4
    • Bruce

      I agree and that is if you get lots of help with the interior and the metal work.

      Like 3
      • MikeB

        Bruce, I was saying two years for a professional restoration not do it yourself. If someone tried to take this on as a personal project it would probably take a lifetime.

        Like 3
  9. Lowell Peterson

    I believe with this one we are back to the’fun/$$$’ ratio? Definitely $ 150k in when finished but a jewel in the garage? Or buy a used Porsche SUV and be a pooch on the portch?

    Like 1
  10. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I had the chance to see one over 50 years ago, at least it looked a lot like it from what I remember. Stationed in Calif and one of the permanent party enlisted men said he found one out in the desert he bought. Being we were in training we couldn’t just leave the company area, but he trailered it back a couple of weeks later and he parked close enough we could at least see it.
    Not a spec of rust visible not was there any paint. The glass looked like it had been frosted. Apparently it sat out in the desert and between the sand and wind it had had been cleaned up as a result. Couldn’t get close enough to touch the car, but sure looked like there was some dimpling of the body as a result of the wind and sand. A couple of months later I changed duty stations so I never got to see it completed.

    Like 0

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