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Family Ties: 1954 Jaguar XK120M

1954 Jaguar XK120M

I’ve always thought it would be amazing to inherit a classic car from a relative, not because it would be cheap or free, but because of the family memories tied to it. When I read about this Jaguar XK120M, it reminded me of stories my Dad has told me about an XK140 a relative once parked at my grandparents house. My dad use to sit in it, pretending he was racing it at Monaco or some other foreign location. This XK120 was owned by Ilconservatore’s uncle and has been parked in a barn since the late ’60s. His uncle has owned it since 1963 and drove it when he was in high school. Ilconservatore has fond childhood memories of this Jag and has even been asking his uncle if he could buy it since he was 7 years old. Thirty years later and his uncle has finally let him buy it. You can find Ilconservatore’s story here on FerrariChat.

Rough 1954 Jaguar XK120M

This Jaguar has quite the story! Like many of the ’50s British sports cars here in the US, this one was imported by a US Airman. It apparently started life as a roadster, but at some point had a roof added to it. The roof appears to have come from a Porsche 356 and while it actually looks quite good, Ilconservatore admits the builder didn’t finish the door openings very well. While most would say the added on roof should go, I think he should leave the roof. Not only does it make it one of a kind, it really adds to the story and history of this car. After a few years of use, the XK’s engine seized up, so into storage it went. His uncle had dreams of fixing it, so he made sure to park it in a garage to protect it from the elements and vandals. As the story goes often, he never got around to fixing it. Everytime Ilconservatore would ask about it, his uncle would respond with the classic answer of, “I’m going to fix it up one day”. Eventually the elements got the best of the garage and it started to collapse in on the car. Local authorities recently decided the garage was a nuisance and ordered the building be removed, so his uncle called him to come tear down the building and remove the car.

Inherited 1954 Jaguar XK120M

Not only did the building fail to protect the car from the elements, it now poised more of a risk to it and it hadn’t kept vandals from damaging it either. Someone stole the head, carburetors and cams, which are some of the key components that made this 120 an M. The 120M and MC were high performance models, with the M offering up 180 horses and the MC a cool 210. It’s just too bad that someone took these parts, but at least the car is now out of the barn and on its way to being saved. Ilconservatore has a lot of rust repair ahead of him, but it sounds like he appreciates the memories that this car holds for himself and his family! I look forward to seeing this car back on the road someday! So if this were your car, would you leave the Porsche roof or would you turn this back into a roadster?


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Bravo that’s it’s going to be worked on! And I’d leave the roof, surprisingly…

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  2. skloon

    Reminder that collector cars are not lumps of coal that require pressure and heat to convert to diamonds

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  3. randy

    These kind of stories get me bent out of shape. All the uncle did was make the task much more difficult, if not impossible to properly restore the car. Hey old guys, get off the stuff so the younger folks can have a chance at it. If it sits for more than a year, sell it and try again later, when you night have some ambition stored up.
    So much is lost to our younger generations due to the “old folks” stinginess.

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    • Coldgin

      Lol @ Randy. When someone buys an item, whether it be a car or anything else, it becomes their property. They can do with it whatever they want, and they are not obligated to sell it or pass it on to someone else just because they wish they could have it.
      What next……are you going to say that all those guys with their trailer queen show cars or museum pieces should sell their cars if they haven’t driven them within a year, just so the young guys can have at them too??
      Get over it dude…..life’s not fair, and if this is your idea of life not being fair, then you’re not so bad off are you?
      Seriously…..if people cared as much about kids going hungry in Africa or even in their own countries, as they do about some car rotting in a barn or a field, this world might actually be a bit better of a place to live.

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      • randy

        I agree 100% with you Coldgin, that is why I am involved with the poor people locally. Humans are born selfish, deals like this prove my point.
        My point was, why let something go to waste just because you can?
        I know for a fact that life is not fair, it is not supposed to be. Everytime my children would say “that’s not fair” I’d say “try hanging on a cross” That was the ultimate in “unfair”.
        There will always be poor and hungry people. due to poor leadership and parenting. Take care, Randy

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      • Dolphin Member

        I was going to write some comment about special cars being neglected like this Jag was vs. special cars being saved by people like the nephew who was refused when he asked his uncle to sell him the car, but I won’t because randy said everything that needed to be said in his great reply. Thanks randy.

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    • Mark S

      I agree it took me 25 plus years to convince the owner of my restoration car to let it go. I intend to finish up in one more year then gently use it, after I’m done with it one of my kid will get it, and the car will still be a nice driver.

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  4. 64 bonneville

    Keep the roof. I think it enhances the appearance and uniqueness of the car.

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  5. Jeff S.

    I like the look of the roof. But, if you cut it off you could sell it as a 356 barn-find and use the proceeds to restore the Jag.

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    • sir mike

      love the way you think…

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      • Jeff Staff

        Bravo, Jeff S. Bravo. *golf clap*

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  6. sir mike

    I’m not sure the British would even attempt to restore this one…sad

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  7. ron tyrrell

    Gee split the roof and sell it as a restorable Porsche and then sell the Jag as a project car, double your money and double your fun Lol.

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  8. randy

    Thank you kindly Dolphin, sometimes I wonder if I am a complete loony toon, and then a person like you shows up.

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    • dj

      You’re not loony at all. I feel the same way as you do. I tried for years to buy a 69 GTO from an old lady who said her husband was gonna fix it. It sat close to the road and was hit by someone. She finally told me she’d sell it to me so when I came with the money she changed her mind. Said some of her kin wanted it. I got a little ill with her flashing the money in her face. It was gone a few weeks later. Hopefully someone has fixed it now.

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      • randy

        Thanks, it really does not matter who gets these old cars, like you said, I just think they deserve a good home, don’t let them rot into the ground. I know it is just “stuff” all told, but there is no sense letting stuff ruin, it is bad stewardship.

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  9. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey, this is a website about old cars being found in various states of restorability. If Randy can’t vent about an old car’s ignominious fate and the perpetrator thereof (whether the owner or not), then where else can he vent on this very subject?

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  10. Jim

    I have a lot of parts he will need to restore this car. My dad saw this car in the barn where it was found many years ago. I have fenders, bonnet, grille, gauges etc. let me know if there is interest. Gauges are on eBay right now.

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