Belgian Barn Find: Michelotti-Bodied XK140 and More

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

A car collector and former coachbuilder recently passed away in Belgium, and he left an impressive collection of classic vehicles behind. Among them is this stunning Michelotti-bodied Jaguar XK140, of which only a handful are believed to have been built. It was in the process of restoration before the owner passed away, and now that car along with several other desirable classics are going up for auction. Find the full story here on AutoClassics.com.

This Ferrari 308 GT4 is one of the vehicles discovered, which also included a Citroen and a Wolseley among more desirable specimens detailed below. The XK140 is undoubtedly the prize of the collection, as only two or three were thought to have been built by Michelotti of Turin. This particular XK140 also features some desirable performance enhancements, including a cylinder head and side-exit exhaust taken from a Jaguar C-Type.

Photos reveal that a C1 Corvette was also housed in the collection. This is my favorite type of barn find discovery: a collection of vehicles that doesn’t necessarily have the best of any one kind of car, but the owner clearly knew a special vehicle when he saw it. Standing on their own, these are desirable vehicles but not necessarily the most expensive or valuable cars one could acquire. There’s a standout, or crown jewel, in the XK140, but the others appear to be driver quality examples of enthusiast vehicles.

The E-Type is a closed headlamp example, and what look like yellow lenses behind them could indicate its origins as a French market vehicle. None of the finds appear to be basketcases, but then again, the environment in which they were found could be questionable – or just messy. The entirety of the collection will be auctioned at the Bonhams Beaulieu Autojumble sale on September 1 in Hampshire, UK, with the unique XK140 going to market at Bonhams Monaco sale on May 13.

While the XK140 is certainly a special car, Bonhams is cautious in its sale estimates due to the lack of paperwork or history of any sort to validate the unique coachwork. Sadly, the paper trail is quite light, as the collector acquired the vehicle at a Brussels car show in 1999. Although he was purported to have concocted a tall tale about its celebrity ownership history, none of that has been validated. Bonhams has placed a wide range in terms of sale price expectations, but there’s no doubt this is a special car that is deserving of having its stalled restoration completed.

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Comments

  1. LMK

    Here the infamous cliche that always applies…” They’re still out there” . Happy hunting fellas….

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    An amazing group of cars. The Michelotti bodied Jag XK140 is believable, since the small specialty design houses in Italy often built small series of bodies in the ’50s and ’60s, and even one-offs for well-heeled car fans with a desire for something different. There’s probably photos of the Michelotti Jag or one of its mates in one of the more complete books on the history of Jaguar.

    It’s also good to see a C1 Corvette in there, since not all interesting or desirable cars necessarily came out of Europe.

    But the one I would most want to own and drive would be the white Ferrari 308 GT/4. That’s probably the best of the 308 series for a number of reasons.

    Values languished down around $15-$20K for many years, but lately have moved up—-way up for the best examples. Trouble is, 308s got to be worth so little, yet cost so much to restore or even fix that many of them got put out to pasture or locked up and forgotten, and now need a lot of recommissioning, as I suspect this white 308 will require.

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  3. YankeeTR5

    I’ve been a long time admirer of Michelotti’s work as a big Triumph enthusiast. In looking at the picture of the Jag, I can see why the auction house is being very cautious, which is not something they are noted for. One of Michelotti’s design “signature” is the bump up in the rear quarter panel starting behind the door (look at a Triumph TR4) giving cars “hips”. This shows up on almost all the stuff I’ve seen of his including his early work at Vignale. Even his later work had the cut upwards (even if it was angular). It became his signature.
    The other cars are really cool but I’d stay away from the Jag…..

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    • GearHead Engineering

      Yankee,

      I understand your concerns, but I have to admit that my first thought when I saw the side view was “Michelotti” and my second be thought was “TR4.” I’m not even sure what features brought those instinctive reactions.

      Who knows if it is really a Michelotti, but I think it is a nice looking and unique car.

      – John

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  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Yum, yes please!

    2
  5. Dan in TX

    Do you all think this is a pretty car? From the side it looks like it was just shoved together to me. I would rather have the stock XK140.

    2
  6. Cargirl

    A client sent me a d-type replica from England yesterday and this car was in the group of pictures. I just noticed it today. And then I saw this car – I am going to shoot an e-mail to my client to clarify but in the meantime.. Is this a Michelotti XK140?

    2
    • riva della

      Looks more like a Maserati Mistral to me……..

    • Martin Horrocks

      Maserati Mistrale, a Frua design from memory. Looks like it is in Spain from Seat Cordoba in the background.

  7. Martin Horrocks

    I´ve never seen pics of this car before, but I don´t think it is Michelotti. It´s the wrong period body shape for a XK140 chassis (see the Mistrale photo above and styling cues from Touring DB Astons-particularly DB6). These are both mid 1960s designs, by when the XK140 chassis would have been several years out of production.

    OK, Michelotti was a famous pen for hire, but by the mid 60s he was totally established and very busy, would have no need or time to do a private build on an obsolete chassis. He and Vignale wanted manufacturer clients and contracts, and clearly Jaguar was not the client here.

    Seems more probable to me that some small artisan builder updated a client´s crashed XK140 in the style of bigger carrozeria.

  8. Martin Horrocks

    OK, should have read the article before posting…car seems to have more provenance than I assumed and it would be very risky for Bonhams to state what they do unless they are very sure.

    But, basically I stick with what I said above, there are some strange things going on with this. The car just doesn´t look like Michelotti and I think he was just a designer at the time in question, not a coachbuilder (mainly Vignale built his designs). If this is really a 60/61 build, it was modified later on, with a Lambo 400GT-type front and a DB6 type rear, and neither of those designs were around in 1960-1.Or someone had a crystal ball……

  9. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Jaguar themselves sent a variety of their offering to other coach builders, with a variety of success. Some looked horrid others were interesting.

    The odd thing, I’ve seen multiple examples of different manufacturers that had the same coach builder………they looked eerily similar, down to chrome details.

    Jaguar did send a D-type that was hanging around at the factory. It’s since been rebodied back to original so I’m guessing the Michelotti body wasn’t quite as attractive.

  10. charlie

    Whatever it is, or was, presumably it is an XK140 underneath, so getting it to run, and keep running, could be a very expensive venture, but if it does, it will be an extraordinary driver. Since the source of the body is unknown, like a Dickens orphan boy, someone could make the best of it and have a reasonably good looking 55 year old car that would be fun to own and drive. A true Michelotti would end up a trailer queen and once restored, gradually depreciate until those of us old enough to know about Jag XK 140’s, are all dead. (I owned and XK 150 S, the most erotic car I ever owned, and I have owned 30 or so, Corvette, Camaro, Bonneville 400, MG, to a series of 5 Dodge Caravans, Audi’s, Toyotas, and on and on.) I loved that Jag, when it ran. AAA was my friend.

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  11. Bill McCoskey

    In the photo of the Corvette, in the background appears a white Tatra T2-603 with the rear mounted air-cooled V8 [I know it’s a Tatra ’cause I’ve got one]. I went to the Bonham’s website to see if it might be in the September Beaulieu auction, but sadly Bonhams doesn’t publish a list of the vehicles in auctions, instead they want me to purchase an expensive catalog to find out if a car was listed. Looks like I won’t be bidding at Bonham’s auctions anytime soon!

    1
  12. Alexander

    Bonhams and others have now monetized entry by demanding us curious folks pay for a catalog. This obviously dilutes the waters, increasing their chances of filling the house with well-heeled ladies and gentlemen with deep pockets. This is not a workingman’s game anymore. Sad. The catalog given to me after Amelia Island weighed a ton, with meticulously researched and photographed cars inside. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to touch any of them with a bid.

    1

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