Dusty Brit: 1950 Jaguar XK120 OTS

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It’s always a challenge to write about a car with a two-sentence description, but luckily with today’s car, we have plenty of photos in order to build the picture of this XK120. Classic Jaguars from the 1950s onwards have a strong reputation for beauty, speed and elegance, although todays one – covered in dust, and lain in a barn for a number of years looks anything but. This XK120 could use some serious love, and money, to bring it back to life. The XK120 is located in Bethlehem, Connecticut and is available on Hemmings here for a buy-it-now price of $25,000.

Now if you are in the market for one of these, I would strongly suggest the Roadster version – also referred to as the OTA version – as these are achingly beautiful. It was also capable of some tremendous speeds – at the time being the fastest production car in the world when it was introduced. However, our car looks like it’s part of an estate sale – a project that perhaps never got around to being completed which leaves the next lucky owner to recreate this classic in their own way. So what do we have? Well, no title, provenance, or history – not a good start. All we know is that it ‘might’ have done 33,000 miles and it’s red. So let’s get sleuthing through the photos.

Whoever owned these cars clearly had something for Jaguars – there is a dusty E-type behind the XK120, also awaiting restoration. the new owner will receive a dusty red shell, which from the surface looks to be in reasonable condition. All the original chassis numbers are shown clearly, as well as a ‘Certified Exact Replica’ badge, stating this car is the same as the record-breaking car which reached a top speed of 132.6mph in Belgium. There is some debate as to why or when these plates got installed, but they are not especially rare, and it simply denotes a time when the car was still the fastest production car in the world.

Other than that, it’s clear the car needs a lot of work – a lot of the brightwork and chrome is missing, as well as lights and badges. The engine is present, but no idea if it turns over. The chassis is not pictured so we have no sense of how it’s faring – although there is an inspection page included in the photos which states ‘the chassis and underside shows extensive corrosion’. So is this a step too far for a restorer, or would it be worthwhile putting a bit of love and a lot of money into resurrecting this 1950s classic slice of British motoring?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. JohnfromSC

    Minor detail: Elliot I believe you meant this one is an OTS? Abbreviation for Open Two Seater, versus a Coupe or DHC “Drop Head Coupe” ( the latter beingJaguar’s designation for a convertible with a mini backseat).

    This one is a crying shame. I’m not confident in its ability to be correctly restored from this condition. The $ are just too much. It may only make sense to restomod it, as much as that pains me to say.

    Like 5
    • Greg in Texas

      Ridiculous. The XK120 if not crumpled from a wreck is going to be worth whatever you put into it within reason. Can it ever be as valuable as a garage queen call original? No. But well documented restoration done well can come close. Every dude into cars with coins wants one if you ride in one. If you drive one, you have to have it. No way to explain it unless you have.

      Like 5
      • DD

        I don’t know what’s your hourly rate, but I needed 3600 working hours to restore an XK140 in similar condition. If it’s $100, it’s $360.000. Plus the car, plus the spares. Still sounds within reason?

        Like 5
      • JohnfromSC

        Ridiculous? So Greg, I take it you’ve done one recently? I’m curious. What model and year was it?

        Just for reference I am a JCNA judge and has restored an XK150S OTS which I still own.

        Like 3
    • Uncapau

      And any hardtop version is known as a FNC – Fixed Head Coupe.

      Like 0
  2. Robert White

    I’m smitten again, BF.

    Wow…nice restoration project I could only dream about.


    Like 4
  3. hatofpork

    Hallelujah! I knew if I waited long enough there would be an affordable Jaguar showing up. These are are inexpensive restorations and easy to work on, right? Right? Hello?

    Like 3
  4. Dave

    I can’t imagine going 132 MPH in this car. I got my C5 up to 120 this morning on an open stretch and that got my heart pumping.

    Like 2
    • Derek

      Sinclair C5?

      Like 1
    • Mario

      Had my C6 to 140 and it was just getting its legs underneath it. 120mph means you were still in 4th! Shift it and gave some fun!

      Like 0
  5. Greg in Texas

    Everything is negotiable as they say, but intact jag xk120 project car? Won’t be homeless. Be realistic. If you’re not ready to do it professionally via full dismantling, you’re not going to get around to it. And be ready to spend the money after you have it. Rewards not overnight. But obviously a car always desired.

    Like 1
    • Frenchy Dampier

      A complete restoration back to better than original will cost more than it will sell for. If that’s the standard to determine to purchase or not. Please go away.
      Clean it up and get it running properly, if you know what you’re going and do it for the experience rather than money.
      It’s money and time well spent. Store the top in the garage take it out on nice summer evening and listen to that big six bark! It has a slight wood Chris Craft runabout feel at high speed
      that nothing else does.
      Somehow it magically transports you back to the early 1950’s cruising down the boulevard.

      Like 5
  6. Blackcat

    Chassis will be 670303 after viewing the stamping and checking the engine and body numbers in the XK database, with the engine and body numbers correlating perfectly to that chassis number. Nice, early car to restore. Underside pics are key to knowing what it will take to bring her back. Would be very tempted if I didn’t have two XK projects in progress already.

    Like 1

    i go with gregs 1st. comment and then some KNOW YOUR JAGS 25K IS LOW

    Like 0

    hi black cat need any xk bits

    Like 1
  9. DA

    I don’t think anyone can really quantify if the vehicle is “worth” purchasing and/or restoring before looking at the underside closely. There are already statements about body panel moderate damage, extensive/severe corrosion. These are subject to interpretation. Basically this vehicle needs everything, along with the unknown parts that are missing. Who knows the condition of engine, transmission, differential… There pictures are nearly useless for evaluation purposes.Then there is the question of titling, most likely in another state. This isn’t always an easy climb, and to complicate matters, the data plate is missing.

    For ~ $25,000.00, I’d want a much better look. Also, there is no provenance which can help get higher dollars.

    Like 0
  10. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologistMember

    I know this car and saw it about a year ago. A friend of mine offered $20,000 and they wouldn’t take it. I’ve known about it for several years, turned on to it by a state police officer friend of mine when the “owner” was still alive. The police were called to the location where the cars were for “reports of some illegal activity”.
    Unfortunately, the guy was holding on fast to everything back then. He was a hoarder and had a lot of shady dealings, often taking cars in payment for certain “debts”, or holding cars until a debt was paid.

    Also buried in the hoarders garage (which has the roof falling in) is a 79 “Bandit” Trans Am, original engine, no interior, missing t-tops.
    A badly repainted 70 Firebird Formula 400, non original engine, hood is butchered, interior ok, 4 speed car, AC, tilt wheel and the snow flake wheels from the 79.
    The aforementioned E Type OTS has an early series 1 engine and a chassis number that matches a 68 and no body number. No number on the head, so probably replacement head. The hood has covered headlights (it’s sitting in another part of the garage) and she’s rusty. No data tag and no paperwork. In CT even a registration will get you rolling as CT is a non title state on any cars 20 years or older – but nothing.

    The 120 is very rusty underneath, the rear springs collapsed into the frame. Really no interior.

    Lastly is a 47 Cadillac Convertible with a freshly painted/rebuilt? (who knows when) flat head V8. Actually, pretty good condition.

    After a bunch of searching I found the keys for the Formula. None of the other cars have any paperwork or keys.

    I was going to take on the sale for them, but the attorney balked at my commission and the prices I said we should ask for them. Funny how the asking price on the 120 is right where I said we’d start. He originally wanted to ask $40K for her.

    Like 9
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      A 120 roadster was the first sports car I ever drove. Made a big impression on me as I wound spending most of my life driving them and restoring them. This one is for the rich and famous only as has been stated above, lots of time, lots of money. Hope it gets restored.

      Like 1
  11. Charles Pineda, Jr.

    Drove my brand new TVR Griffith 400 across no- speed- limit Nevada in 1966. To test the 163 mph limit the primaries moved the Griffith up to 125 mph, and then the huge secondaries came in. At about 156 mph I quit, as the curves, were coming to quickly, and I had never been over 83 mph in my old reliable 356 Porsche 1600. And to get to 83 mph it took a long time.

    If you want to see Shelby AC Cobras, 250 Ferrari GTO’s, and LM, E-Jaguars, lightweight, aero dynamic types, and regular, Bizzarini 5300’s with their GM,V/8 engines, and the best handling English car in Europe-the Lotus Elan beaten, then see on U-tube: 2017,Graham Hill Trophy race,75MM, 60’s,Gt’s. Jack Andrew Griffith (RIP) built a race sport car for the streets, and my wife and I met him and his wife Marge at the 2011, Amelia Island car show. Sadly he only built 59 Griffith 400’s for the entire world.

    Like 1

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