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Amish Barn Rescue: 1953 Jaguar XK120s

Jaguar XK120

There are some stories that seem to defy the conventions of logical thought. But then again, short of presenting evidence to the contrary, I have no reason to believe that this Jaguar XK120 convertible didn’t actually belong to the friend of an Amish farming family who tried to destroy a courthouse presided by a judge who sentenced him to prison with a large piece of construction equipment. That’s the story that’s told here on eBay UK, where the seller – the owner of the Seven Gables Motor Garage – is selling this an original XK120 Drophead (and eventually, a separate open two-seater) after acquiring them from the farmer’s son years earlier.


Let me provide some extra color to the story: the friend of the Amish family, who had been imprisoned, stored the XK120 Drophead after learning of his sentence. Although it should have been a glorious day of freedom once he was released, he instead promptly tried to destroy the courthouse that sentenced him, resulting in almost immediately returning to prison. If that’s a yarn, it’s an awfully good one. Sensing opportunity, the farmer’s son purchased the XK120 to be his first car. Later, the owner of Seven Gables in Detroit struck up a friendship with the son and eventually acquired the Drophead and a bare XK120 OTS shell that he had purchased, intending to swap the convertible’s drivetrain into. The project never materialized, keeping the car in its preserved, numbers-matching state.  In the photo above, the aforementioned Amish farmer is seen with his pride and joy.


The XK120 does suffer from rust issues but is also remarkably well-preserved. The leather interior is original, and the rare alloy hood is still intact. The body has been poorly repaired in places from previous attempts to stop the rust, so there’s a fair amount of labor involved in setting this one right. But as the seller points out, the numbers-matching engine and transmission is a rarity among XK cars, so that alone should make this a worthwhile project for Jaguar enthusiasts. The seller has seemingly pre-determined that this car is heading back to the UK, hence its listing on the British eBay site and plenty of details about exportation rules and shipping.


The seller has provided some fantastic photos of the extraction and rescue, seen here. If nothing else, it’s a fun story to participate in by way of a classified ad, and we certainly can’t wait to see what becomes of these cars. While it’s somewhat tough to believe in this era of flipping and profiting that a British car dealer ever truly intended to restore this pair, at least they’re freed from the barn and heading to a happier tomorrow. Of course, this does beg the question: where is the previous, prison-loving owner that was forced to relinquish ownership to the Amish family all those years ago?


  1. Avatar photo randy

    Beautiful car! I bet they fetch a bundle.

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  2. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

    Interestingly (or not) I think I read about the story. I’ll see if I can dig it up.

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  3. Avatar photo randy

    I looked at the ebay ad, and that seems aweful cheap to me. We’ll see.

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  4. Avatar photo jim s

    i wonder it the owner, who was going to jail, put them in an barn to hid them from the court system. will be a nice car when restored but it will be costly to restore. great find.

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  5. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

    Timeline is wrong though the details are extraordinarily similar and explains the missing owner. Perhaps the seller’s timeline is off?


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    • Avatar photo Jeff Staff

      I’m just amazed two different guys pulled it off.

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      • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

        That made ME laugh too!

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  6. Avatar photo Joe Nose

    Interesting. Thought Amish farmers
    a) couldn’t have their images taken, and
    b) couldn’t drive anything powered.

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      As in every religion there are sects that allow some freedoms in order to adapt to modern living. We had an Amish family up the street from us as child (big city), they had a car, but no radio in the car (apparently the radio was going too far LOL).

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      • Avatar photo Jeff Staff

        My understanding was the Amish in the Pennsylvania area were the ones that were super strict…see them when I’m driving to Maryland. Based on the description, it sounds like this group is based in Michigan, so perhaps there’s different rules by region?

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      • Avatar photo Howard A Member

        That’s true.( although, I too thought they can’t have their picture taken) Slowly they are being forced to change, as the young people are leaving. I delivered a load of fertilizer (in bags) to an Amish farm, and they had a skid steer. When I asked about that, he said, they can’t have anything with a steering wheel. Something about not having a recoil starter, too. The fact that they even uphold any of their beliefs in this day and age, is truly amazing.

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    • Avatar photo Barry T

      The Amish around where I live sure would not be driving around in anything with a motor, least of all a Jag.

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      • Avatar photo Walter Joy

        According to Amish Mafia (not the best source now that I think of it), Mennonites are allowed cars and stuff. I live a county over from the Amish and they’re hard to find. Phones are at the end of their driveways

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  7. Avatar photo Gary Seraphinoff

    I am the owner of the two XK120’s here in Detroit, Michigan. Yes, the Amish are not supposed to own automobiles and when I questioned Olen the Amish farmer about that he proudly told me that he was a member of the REFORMED Amish sect and that he did not own a computer or television. His father actually had been an antique auto enthusiast and Olen caught the bug from him. At one time there was a Cord and some other high-line autos in that barn that his dad owned. Although I am a British motor car enthusiast, he does have some really nice cars still in the barn such as a early fifties Cadillac convertible and a lead sled 1948 Lincoln Continental convertible.

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  8. Avatar photo Andrew

    I live near lancaster pa and two of my three neighbors are real amish. Not Mennonite or amish lite. They are not allowed to have images made of themselves. That is the sin of pride. They can own “english” items for their businesses. Even regular road going trucks. They have to have a driver for them. But not for personal use. And in 5 years I have not seen him behind the wheel, even on his property.

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  9. Avatar photo rusty

    what a fantastic advert…

    subscribe me to hear more background stories of the first owner

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  10. Avatar photo leiniedude Member

    Great looking ride! Can someone explain to me what looks like some type of lacing on the rear springs? Pleeeease do not tell me that’s how the Brits held the springs together back then.

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  11. Avatar photo Chris

    The lacing that you are seeing is what ties the gaiters to the rear springs. Gaiters are made of leather and wrap around the springs which is then held in place by the lacing that you see. The gaiters have a grease nipple to lubricate the rear springs.

    Why can’t I wander into a barn and find a car like that that the owner only wants $500.00 for and needs out in an hour? ;-)

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