1954 Jaguar XK120 Roadster Barn Find

This right-hand-drive 1954 Jaguar XK120 Roadster is a recent barn find, where it supposedly kept company with a left-hand version of the same car. It’s for sale here on eBay with bids at $6,200 and reserve not met.

Let’s get this out of the way right off: The Jaguar XK120 Roadster is an A-1 collectible, a gold chip car. It’s the icon that hit like a thunderbolt amid the austerity of postwar Britain. The car more than lived up to its name, achieving 132.6 miles per hour on a Belgian highway in 1949. Originally intended as a showcase for the new XK twin-cam engine, it ended up redefining Jaguar Cars. It’s a timeless design that still looks good from every angle.

That said, this car needs virtually everything. When listings say, as this one does, that the car is an “excellent candidate” for a complete restoration, what does that mean exactly? It’s an excellent way to completely empty your wallet. Hagerty lists a ’54 XK120 Roadster as having an average value of $126,837.60, and—trust me—you’re going to spend something like that to restore this one.

The car is “pretty much complete,” the owner says. That may be true, but many parts are just strewn around the open interior, which despite the “barn find” designation shows signs of outside storage at some point. It’s definitely outside now and without benefit of a top. The matching-numbers engine is missing its cylinder head, though the previous owner thinks it’s around somewhere. Another head of unknown quality “can be with the car.” A restorer who wants to keep the matching numbers is going to have quite a time with that long-neglected block. Among the car’s good points are an intact (but deteriorated) dashboard with instruments, original (but cloudy) glass, a half-decent steering wheel, and most trim. Something resembling seats are sitting loose in the interior.

The owner locates the car at the docks in Bayonne, New Jersey, and given its right-hand drive, imagines it as a candidate for an overseas sale. Shipping the car to the UK or Europe would cost $1,300, the seller says.

A buyer in Britain makes sense, actually, because the XK120 was part of Britain’s “export or die” postwar reality, and not that many were made for the home market—as this one was. The body is very rusty, though it’s hard to tell if it’s just the surface variety. The trunk lid looks like it’s from another car, and possibly an aluminum panel. Even though you can’t even tell what color this XK120 was, Jaguars in rainy Britain are often much worse than this one. Buy this one with clear eyes about what it’s going to cost. I once talked to a noted restorer who had a car much better than this one in for a total re-do. He said, “The owner is likely going to end up upside down.” Meaning an investment of more than the car is worth on the collector market. Every engine bolt, every Connolly hide, they’re gonna cost ya.


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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’ve heard that it’s nice to live by the ocean, but don’t store your car there out in the open. From what I can tell from the pictures is this actually rust in the shape of an XK120. The rust is so deep in places that it’s thinner than tin foil. If you attempt to sand this car you sander is likely to fall through the fenders. Its time to take what few parts that can be salvaged and scrap the rest. Does the guy that owned this live in a bubble was he not clear on what salt air will do to a car. You’d be better off hunting for xk120 parts until you had enough for a car, oh that’s right that what will happen to this one and pretty much what you see before you will be gone replaced by other parts.

    Like 5
    • Ike Onick

      I believe this lived in the ocean and was owned by Spongebob Squarepants.

      Like 6
  2. JBP

    1300 fits fine; from east coast. i have negotiatet it to 1050 with my shipper, and 1400 from west coast..

    Like 1
  3. JBP

    but endprice, incl. Inland US. Transport, Harbor handling fee, Import fee, Count on 2500$ for a first time shipper, without negotiation…
    but that car, isnt worth it. Nothing left..

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey

      The big question for any potential UK buyer is if the car actually was registered in the UK prior to it’s arrival in the USA. I had a 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn with RHD, I sold it to a man in England, who, on the car’s arrival in Southampton, England, discovered the car had actually been delivered new in Switzerland, and the man had to pay the ORIGINAL 1952 UK taxes. That added about 30% to the cost of the car by the time all the taxes were paid.

      Any potential UK owner [or if he wants to sell it to the UK, the current owner], should check with the UK DVLA [licensing authority] in Swansea, Wales, to see if the chassis number shows the taxes were paid. If so, the car is treated as a returning automobile, and not subject to import taxes.

      Also, if there is an original UK number plate in the car, the owner can check with the DVLA, using that plate number to see if it’s from that car. If so, the original taxes were paid.

      Like 2
  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The opening photo says it all, I am so sad to be in this condition. Please put me out of my misery.

    Like 2
  5. DRV

    I can’t see a parr less the underhood grease gun that could be used again within reason. It couldn’t be worse and still recognizable.

    Like 2
    • DRV

      Part not parr…..

  6. ChasH

    Engine hood/bonnet, door skins and trunk/boot lid are aluminum. Hence the different appearance from the rusty steel parts.

    Like 2
  7. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    At the docks in NJ? Or, drove off the docks. Ran when sank; run from it now.

    Like 3
  8. John

    Can you imagine what condition that frame must be in?? It may already be overpriced with the current bid!

    Like 1
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Frame…? What frame…?

  9. canadainmarkseh Member

    You might be able to use this car for measurements for the buck your going to need for making your own car. If your up to such challenges. That’s a thought cobble your own body then put that on an s truck truck chassis. Now that would be a fun car and easy to maintain.

    Like 1
  10. Billieg

    Just junk it. Took my Harley to the beach for a 3 day weekend. Parked in the parking lot 100′ from the ocean. 3 days later my blue/black bike was white and all the chrome looked pitted. Got it home and called my detail guy. Took him 8 hrs to get it cleaned up and the chrome wheels will never look the same. That’s only in 3 days. Just think what it would do in a year…..

    Like 2
  11. Robert White

    The owner should be ashamed of himself for storing such a rare auto in the weeds beside the barn. If I was buying I would give the owner a dirty look for the neglect he put this car through.

    What a travesty of car culture to do that to a rare Jag.


    Like 3
  12. Brakerserve

    Unscrew the chassis plate from the firewall (or what’s left of it) lift a few inches, remove rusted remains of car and slide new car underneath. Reattach chassis plate. Restoration done!

  13. Dave

    Perfect patina.

  14. Carnut217

    Sad end to a once beautiful car.

    Like 1
  15. Clay Bryant

    This is the most trivial of comments but in that opening pic, can you imagine if the person had straightened out the one headlight and put another one in the other side. (What would your first (and lasting impression ) be? 5 bucks would get ya’ another 200 bucks. (not from me ,though)

  16. Del

    Just Junk.com

  17. Harry

    Export it to the UK? That would be nice; it could be buried with its family 😔

    Like 2
  18. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I could think of a lot of nice drivers for 12K. I do understand these people are waaaaaay out of my league. Would this be restored? Ended:Oct 21, 2019 , 11:40AM
    Current bid:US $12,200.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 39 bids ]

    Like 1

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