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Container Find: 1958 Jaguar XK150S Roadster

Tucked away in a back yard somewhere lies a forgotten shipping container. Your acquaintance, the new owner of the property, knows you’re a car person, and he suspects that there’s an old junker inside. For him, it’s an asset to be disposed of– simply another part of his relative’s estate to be liquidated as quickly and painlessly as possible. He asks you if you’d mind taking a look. The whole drive over, you’re thinking it’s probably the remains of a Seventies Beetle, or maybe a Chevy Cavalier; cars that have their niche, but are often preserved for mostly personal reasons. You arrive at the property, apply bolt cutters to the padlock, and pull the door open. It sticks and screeches, but ultimately swings wide, revealing this: a 1958 Jaguar XK150S Roadster. Someone got to live that moment, and now the car is for sale here on eBay. Located in Los Angeles, California, the price for this classic Jag is $59,950.

To say that the XK series is iconic is an almost criminal understatement. These are the cars that made Jaguar, especially in terms of the brand’s overseas reputation. The XK150 was the last of the line, and benefited from almost a decade of progress with Jaguar’s first postwar platform. Inheriting the XK140’s frame and suspension, the XK150 sported only minor revisions to the coachwork. Under the bonnet things were different: the 3.4L DOHC inline-six was fitted with a new cylinder head, producing 180 bhp. Yet this was 10 fewer horses than the base engine for the XK140, ultimately resulting in a slower car. This was resolved with the release of the SE engine in 1958, which produced 210 horses and made sure that the XK150 lived up to it’s family legacy.

Production of the XK150 stretched from 1957 to the introduction of the E-Type in 1961. The roadster (or Open Two-Seater) was introduced in 1958. Just over 2,200 of these were produced; of these, only 888 were fitted with the optional S-type engine, making 250 brake horsepower. Almost all of those cars were destined for export, and this is one of them. It’s fitted with a four-speed manual with optional overdrive and what might be disc brakes– better eyes than mine will have to make that call.

Other cars in this condition might be headed for the scrap heap, but there is probably not a world in which this car is not destined for a meticulous frame-off restoration. It will need everything, possibly excepting a new frame. But for those with the means, there are few classic cars as beautiful, responsive, or as instantly recognizable as a Jaguar XK150.

Comments

  1. Bruce Ironmonger

    Back in 1985 I moved from Oz to Southern California with a couple of thousand in my pocket. Scanning the newspapers soon after I found a Lein Sale notice for a XK150C DHC in average condition. I put in the one and only bid for $1000 and got it. Sold it a month later after I got police inspection and title for $12,000.

    Like 14
  2. John Taylor

    At that price, tell him he is dreaming, mate a load of cash to be spent on that ride.

    Like 9
  3. Laurence

    In 1958 the all-new Jaguar XK-150S sold for $ 5020 U.S. Although its looks were a bit more “matronly” than its XK-120 and 140 predecessors, it had been done to create more room in the interior.

    The new variant was designed to–temporarily–send Aston Martin by the wayside and tighten pressure on Ferrari. The new 150 “S” featured a new Harry Weslake cylinder head, an improved inlet/intake manifold for three SU HD8 carburettors, 9:1 compression and 250 horsepower on tap from the 3.4 twincam overhead six with hemispherical combustion chambers. The XK-150 was also the first production car anywhere on the planet to get FOUR WHEEL DISC BRAKES!

    The example in the ad has an asking price of over ten times its 1958 price. If restored competently and to a high standard, it will be worth around two hundred thousand. It all comes down to vehicle condition and the skills/knowledge and wallet depth of the prospective buyer, as to whether a purchase and restoration will make sense.

    Like 4
  4. Engident

    That shipping container photo was staged. It is not addressed even tangentially in the ad, and this car clearly has sat exposed to the elements for a few decades. Red flags for the integrity of both seller and vehicle.

    Like 33
  5. SMS

    The ad reads “available in black with a green interior” Those are the colors of the two different types of mold covering this poor wreck.

    Like 16
  6. benjy 58

    Was the container under water for a few years. This is junk pure and simple. It’s another pricing mistake it should be 5995.00

    Like 10
  7. Don

    The phone # is for Beverly Hills Sport Cars. That’s why the price is so high. It may be restorable but not for any sane price. Sorry to see a car like that in that condition.

    Like 8
    • Mike

      If the location is LA and the background is white wall with a cracked cement floor, then it’s BHCC.

      Like 1
  8. robert j mulvaney

    it is a shame to see them like that. but also a shame that B.H.C.C. HAS IT

    Like 2
  9. JohnfromSC

    As crazy as it seems, unless the engine is hopelessly siezed, this car will be restored ( assuming matching #s ). Maybe $40 K or less gets it. Very complete car that will be taken down to the last nut and bolt.The only thing of consequence I see missing is the radiator. Probably missing the tool roll ($2,000). Other stuff can be corrected, just $$$😬 .

    Figure $125 K for resto depending on how much you are capable of doing beause it makes no economic sense to do anything less than a concours restoration. ( Yes, I’m fortunate to own a 150S).

    Like 4
  10. cyclemikey

    It’s disappointing to see a car like this one, the very essence of what “Barn Finds” should be about, receive just the usual disparaging comments like ‘not worth it’, ‘junk’, and ‘doesn’t make sense’. (As if making financial sense has f-all to do with the classic car hobby anyway, for most of us. But I digress…)

    In fact, there is a lot to work with here, and despite rust damage and a few missing items, there’s no doubt that it will be restored. It’s an XK120S Roadster, that’s all you need to know. Fully restored, it’s worth about 250K, and that’s a bit depressed at the moment and likely to go back up some.

    Finally, you have to understand the BHCC business model. They aren’t going to get 60K, and they don’t expect to. But they will sell this, and for a very substantial offer. It’s a valuable car, despite its condition, and they found it and bought it. They’ll make their cut, the car will be saved and restored, and the car world will be better for it. Where’s the problem? Did you really expect to find one rust-free and running, for 10K or so?

    Like 11
  11. Paul

    In the pictures on e bay it would appear that the oil pan has been removed and the bottom of the engine is completely rusted solid. I would say that there will not be any “Numbers Matching” restoration here. $59,000 is a fishing expedition in my way of thinking. What you are really buying is a little number plate on the firewall that shows 150S. All the rest will have to be replaced, reworked, rebuilt, etc.

    Like 0
  12. Shelbydude

    CAUTION! As far as I am concerned, there are two major red flags for this “car club.” First, it is not a club. BHCC is just the corporate name, which appears to have been adopted to mask the fact that this business in nothing more than another used car dealer here in SoCal. Second, this business is not located in Beverly Hills, but rather in a much lower scale industrial neighborhood between the Boyle Heights area and El Sereno area of Los Angeles. OK… it does have a Beverly Hills address to wit: 9663 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 913, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Just so you know, this is a private mail box location, and Suite 913 is simply one of the many private mail boxes located at this address. So, in my opinion, two red flags, both of which are intended to make this used car dealer look more prestigious. Some may view this as blatant misrepresentation while others may consider it to be marketing genius. You decide. Now, as far as this particular car is concerned, it reminds me of a candy bar… BIG HUNK. But if it happens to be your “cup of tea,” go for it. By the way, if you are a California buyer, BHCC is required to collect California sales tax. So, add another 10%.

    Like 6
    • cyclemikey

      CAUTION! As far as I am concerned, there are two major red flags for this commenter. First, he is not a Shelby, and is in no way related to Carroll Shelby. Shelbydude is just the commenter name, which appears to have been adopted to mask the fact that this is just another ordinary Barn Finds commenter.

      Second, this commenter is not part of the Shelby car business, but rather has a much more ordinary automotive profile. Shelbydude is a private screen name, and just one of many screen names on this site. So, in my opinion, two red flags, both of which are intended to make this commenter look more prestigious. Some may view this as blatant misrepresentation while others may consider it to be marketing genius. You decide.

      SEE? That method can be used to cast aspersions on anyone. AND – for the record, I have no connection whatsoever to BHCC, and have never been there, spoken to them, or conducted any business of any kind with them.

      Like 3
      • Shelbydude

        CM: How can you be so certain that I am not a “Shelby” whether by name or relationship to C.S. Nevertheless, you are correct that I am not part of the Shelby car business. In fact, I am not selling anything. Instead, I have just pointed out the fact that the BHHC is neither a car club nor located in Beverly Hills (except perhaps in name only). So long as any potential buyer is aware of this, they are welcome to buy if they choose. But you need not worry as I will not be competing with you or anyone else to buy this POS.

        Like 6
  13. First great race winner

    Love the daily flow of car expertise and the occasional intellectual banter!

    Like 0
  14. SMS

    When I was in high school I volunteered at a local hospital. One of the doctors had a 300SL gullwing and a 30’s convertible Packard as his daily drivers. His father had been a movie producer. He said that if he had not been a doctor he never would have been able to afford the maintenance on these cars.

    Though it pains me to see a wreck of such a beautiful car I can understand it. I took the name of Beverly Hills Car Club to mean that these were the cars that came from Beverly Hills. A one time rich person maybe from BH, bought the car and then could not keep up the maintenance, or planned on restoring it or life just got in the way and never got around to selling it and the kids could not bare to take it away from them.

    Though I am not going to be a customer of theirs I am glad that BHCC does exist. They give wrecks like this a chance to come back, and they make some money at it. I would not be willing to spend the time going to look at 20 cars under piles of rubbish hoping to find one Jag.

    Like 1
  15. OldCarGuy

    Cannot see any indications of staging, and doubt they would go to the trouble; no visible signs of wheel tracks, etc, but does look like it has been there more than a few decades. It does also look like green interior was original. Just the project for someone who is more financially adventurous than I.

    I wish the buyer well.

    Like 1
    • cyclemikey

      Doesn’t look staged to me either. And if the car had been outside exposed to the elements for decades, as the commenter alleged, there would be nothing at all left of the leather on the seat backs, or the door cards. It has clearly been under a roof.

      Like 2
  16. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I also agree, there has been no major staging, but having been tasked many times to remove cars in similar situations, there is a lack of cobwebs and spider webs that are ALWAYS present inside a container that has been ignored for decades, so either the owner opened the doors on a regular basis and kept the area web free, or they did do a little clean up before taking the photo & removing the car.

    A shipping container [non refrigerated] is not an environment that is protected from humidity. There are 2 to 4 airflow vents on the side panels near the top. There is a constant [but small] air exchange inside. The bottom is not steel, it’s about 3″ of solid hardwood, typically oak. It’s not pressure treated wood. This container has been set directly on the wet ground in Florida. That continuous moisture underneath will be wicked up into the interior of the container, 24/7/365.

    Storing such a car in a container, but not installing a 115v de-humidifier that drains thru a tube to the outside of the container [and preferably the drain ends at least 20 feet away from the container], will result in the conditions you see here. The bamboo surrounding the container isn’t helping with keeping the container insides dry.

    When the container was originally brought to the property, it should have been set on 4 large 12″ cubes of concrete, already sitting on a base of gravel 8″ deep* that is level with the outside ground. This would have allowed fresh air to circulate under the container and keep wood rot and rust to a minimum. Use a pair of aluminum car carrier ramps to move the vehicle in/out, these can be often sourced by talking with guys at local truck stops. * 8″ is a minimum, and mine were set in 24″ of gravel.

    What I want to know is, what was inside the container to the left?

    Like 1
  17. S_W

    I guess Beverly Hills Sport Cars believes that there is a sucker born every day, and it obviously has worked for them since they are still in business! Yet another ridiculous price for a junker, or should I say a lovely rare “barn find”,… no “container find”.

    Like 0

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