20 Year Sleep: 1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster

This Jaguar XK140 cuts a pretty forlorn figure sitting in this barn. It is a spot that it has occupied for more than 20-years while it has waited for someone to come along and return it to its best. The time has come for it to be removed from its hiding place, and for someone to have the opportunity to breathe new life into this desirable classic. It is located in Astoria, New York, and has been listed for sale here at Gullwing Motor Cars. The asking price for this once beautiful British classic has been set at $39,500.

Introduced in late 1954 as a 1955 model, the XK140 was the successor to the legendary XK120 and brought with it some useful improvements over its predecessor. The most obvious of these was an increase in space within the passenger compartment. This was achieved by moving the windshield and firewall forward, providing the XK140 with a 3″ increase in legroom when compared to the XK120. That made the car a much more comfortable and enjoyable proposition for taller drivers, which was an often criticized are with the XK120. The Jaguar is largely complete, although it does appear to be missing a couple of its hubcaps, along with the fender skirts from the rear wheel openings. It is this that is one of the areas that makes this particular XK an interesting car. The vast majority of examples sold in the US were fitted with wire wheels, making it impossible to fit the skirts. This car is fitted with disc wheels, which is something of a rarity in an export car. The Jaguar has spent the majority of its life residing in Texas, which should hopefully have protected it from major rust issues. The owner doesn’t mention how solid the floors and frame are, but visible rust doesn’t appear to be too extensive.

For me, the interior of the XK is a bit of a surprise. After sitting for so long with no top, it is pretty dirty in there. There will be a lot of items that will require replacement, the most obvious of these being the wheel. However, there are a surprising number of items that look like they will potentially require restoration, rather than replacement. I would love to give the dash, pad, seats, and door trims a good clean. I have a feeling that they might just provide something of a surprise because there are no obvious signs of rips or tears. It would be interesting to clean and condition these items, just to see how they would respond.

Sadly, this isn’t a numbers-matching car, but what is under the hood is a 3,442cc DOHC 6-cylinder engine, which is claimed to be the right engine for this car. That should mean that it would produce 190hp, and in its heyday, was capable of propelling the Jaguar to a top speed of 120mph. The transmission in this car appears to be a manual, although an automatic transmission had been introduced in this model year. There is no word on the condition of the mechanical components in this car, but after sitting for so many years, there is a pretty good chance that it will need a fair amount of work before it can grace our roads once again.

In 1956, the XK140 was available in three distinct body styles. The most desirable of these today is the Drop-Head Coupe. The Roadster fills the middle ground in desirability and value, with the Fixed Head Coupe being the less desirable of the three. It is possible to do a bit of searching around and find clean examples of the Roadster for sale for under $100,000, but these cars tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Values have been pretty stable in the last 5-years, and a really nice car can be secured for around the $120,000 mark. The record high price for an absolutely pristine example was set earlier this year, with that car selling for an eye-watering $207,200. The biggest factor impacting the potential value of this particular car is the lack of the original engine. Even factoring that into the equation, if it was to be restored to a high standard, it might still be worth a figure around that magic $100,000 mark. It is by no means a cheap project, but it might make a pretty decent long-term investment.


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  1. Jim F

    Vintage race car candidate

  2. Jake Loring

    The Jaguar XK 120 & 140 used plywood floors that are readily available from various Jaguar parts suppliers. They used different lengths as the 140 had more room in the interior as noted.

  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Didn’t know these guys were in the over priced rust business. Would have to see what the underside looks like before I’d even open the doors. Upside down from the start.

    Like 4
  4. Sam Dibitonto

    Be ready to spend more than its worth…BETTER bet is to buy a runner in good shape..I HAVE a 57 with low miles..parts are easy..

    Like 1
  5. Del

    I agree with Sam

    We see a lot of Old Jags here that have been left to rot.

    Then someone decides to ask ridiculous prices for them. Sad

    Like 3
  6. charlie Member

    The 140 should max out at 140 mph, that is the reason for the name. My XK 150S supposedly would do 150 mph. Never got it above 110, front end was really squirrelly at that speed, but it clearly had more room engine rev wise to go faster. But it rotted out from underneath. Almost bought a twin to this XK 140 roadster with painted wire wheels, at the time (1967) and it was really loose all around. Friend who test drove it with me thought that tightening all the bolts and nuts on the car might help, plus rebuilding the steering and the rest of the front end, so bought the XK 150 fixed head which was much tighter all around. Each was $300, which would be about $3000 today.

    Like 1
  7. MGSteve

    I have to wonder how much Peter/Gullwing Motorcars paid for this?

    Like 1
  8. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    My paper route had an early 50’s Jag in the garage since 1956 – that was the plate….it went to the oldest daughter in 2018 – the first time it was rolled out of the garage since then.

    This one has that rocker rust which will tell the tail….

  9. John

    If it’s Gullwing it’s trash. That’s all I’ve ever seen from them.

  10. Del

    Looks like car may only be on consignment ?

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