Alloy Bodied 1950 Jaguar XK120 Barn Find!

This is the kind of find many of us dream of. While you might not necessarily lust after a rare alloy bodied Jaguar XK120 drop head, this is such an interesting story that you can’t help but wish you had been the person that had discovered it parked in the barn! Before we get to the story of how this Jag came to be found in an old ladies barn in Wisconson, you might want to take a look at the auction here on eBay in Bloomfield, Michigan with a starting bid of $28,000.

This story starts the same way many of the more incredible finds do, in a barn (well a garage on a farm to be exact). The lady that owned this car isn’t your typical gal, she’s a revolver packing former Easy Rider centerfold who apparently likes to go fast! She bought this Jaguar back in 1969 for the amazing price of $75 and a set of Mag wheels. It was already missing it’s original engine and transmission at that point, so it went straight into her barn, where it stayed until the current seller was able to buy it from her.

The experience of actually buying this XK120 is an interesting story all on it’s own, it involves a Brink’s safe full of cash and several fire arms! The seller might be embellishing the story a bit, but it’s a worthwhile read, so be sure to read their entire listing. But let’s get back to this incredible car! Jaguar initially planned on only building a small number of XK120s as a marketing strategy, so they built the cars out of very exotic and expensive for the time aluminum (or alloy if you prefer). Demand proved so high that they decided to switch over to steel so they could actually turn a profit. The first 242 cars were skinned out of aluminum and are the most desirable of the XK120s. This car is #83 out of those 242 built.

The seller specializes in Jaguars and seems knows their stuff. They have already acquired the Jaguar Heritage Certificate verifying that is in deed alloy bodied car #83, although there’s really no doubt when you look at the body panels. They also promised the previous owner $15k if she happened to find the original engine and transmission, but it seems unlikely that it will surface after all these years. The seller has a XK120 engine available for purchase, so that might be a good option for getting it back up and running.

This Jag is going to need a complete restoration if you plan on driving it ever again, and while they are relatively simple in design the aluminum body creates some issues. For one, the steel structure has a tendency to rust as a result of galvanic corrosion. Repairing dents is also a challenge, as aluminum tends to tear when bent. It isn’t impossible to fix, but it can get expensive and requires a certain amount of knowledge and skill to do. If you are handy and patient, you could do much of the work yourself. Otherwise, expect to spend $200k or more to restore it. Once it’s done though, it could be worth $350k+!

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Comments

  1. Al

    Interesting story and certainly a VERY knowledgeable seller! Ahhh, to have an extra $400,000.00 sitting around!

  2. Gary Seraphinoff

    Thanks so much for showcasing my Alloy. Yes, the story is indeed 100% true but even I have to step back and say “Did this really happen?”. I lusted for that car for quite a few years before I got it. Perhaps the pain of selling this XK will be soothed if I, as I mentioned in the listing, can now buy back my first car, an XK140 Drophead Coupé that I got when I was fifteen.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Thanks for visiting and posting. I’ll guess that many of us here would like to know what happened to the auction, since it ended with an “error in the listing”.

  3. Gunner

    Great story. Love the part about the buyer taking his 91 year old father with him to pick it up. He is correct in that it should go to someone with the deep pockets and knowledge to restore it. I was getting a visual on the transaction on the bonnet of the car, with two of the people present packing iron. I also did the deed on the “bonnet” of my Coronet, although there was no “enforcement” around. They are still waiting to be found!

  4. will

    drugs are needed here

  5. Mike B

    Hmmm…I thought aluminum was the loser to steel in galvanic reaction. Maybe the steel just lost to salt.

  6. Robert White

    Given that Easy Rider centerfold gun packin’ Granny knows how to put on a display as a centerfold, it would seem reasonable to assume that she might have considered some new boots for the car unveiling, and some primer. Heck, that would likely have fetched her some extra on the final bids. Marketing is very important with respect to vintage car sales. She has the right idea talking history of the car, but primer and new boots would have sold it much quicker. No bids yet on EBay.

    Bob

    • ROAR

      The buyer if this car doesn’t WANT to see a coat of primer–it could hide problems and tyres are of little interest other than allowing it to be moved more easily tho the buyer will be able to have a crew that will physically pick the car up if necessary, this is a significant find!

  7. HBChris

    And this is an OTS (open two seat) not a Drophead which came later and has the large padded convertible top.

    • Puhnto

      The Drop Head Coupes also had roll up windows, regular door handles, and wooden dash boards.

  8. Jake

    Great story and great find!!!! A bit confused tho as cannot find this in US ebay listings, it appears the listing you have here is only in Ebay United Kingdom???? What’s up with that????

  9. sir mike

    This is going to bring some serious money….great story

  10. Jeffro

    Awesome story. Sweet car!

  11. sunbeamdon

    Hi all – are we referring to primer for the car or her??? Both appear to be somewhat worse for the wear

    And, if memory serves – its aluminium in Jolly Ol’

  12. Wayne

    The starting bid is £28,000 not $28,000. Big difference.

    • Karl Kretschmar

      28,000 British Pounds equals 36,898.68 US Dollars

  13. Kevin Lee

    I was certain my father owned this car at some point. I helped him pull an alloy bodied XK120 out of a dilapidated one car garage that looked identical to this. After reading the story I knew it wasn’t because that was in the late ’80s. He paid $650 and kept it for a year or so, then advertised it in the paper for $1500. It sold in a matter of minutes after the paper came out.

  14. Al Futura

    Lets be honest here. Most of the talk about restoring an aluminium body here is totally misleading. “A certain amount of knowledge and skill” —read : a master metalworker taking months of patient work to replace most of the body.
    and this doozy : “If you are handy and patient, you could do much of the work yourself”. Right. No amateur who happens to be “handy” with a torch and orders a few tools from Eastwood is going to do justice to an alloy bodied car with that many compound curves. All you can do is botch the car, lay on the filler and try to sell it to recoup your loss. And ruin a valuable car. This is a very expensive body job and it is worth restoring professionally, with a lot of $$$.

  15. john fron ct

    When fully restored, I am skeptical that it will get past $300K without any matching numbers. And it will definitely be in the range of $200K large to do a correct restoration. There is not much left here besides the alloy body. Not sure how much frame remains, but at least it’s not sagging. So, I think the top number should be $50K, but who knows, I’ve been surprised before.

  16. GearHead Engineer

    I have some experience with alloy bodied cars from long ago. I’ve seen slight indentations created simply by pushing a car with hands on an alloy panel. In the first pic above, I see “pistol packing granny” creating a dent by sitting on the body. Maybe it doesn’t actually matter – this thing is beat to hell already.

    Cool car. Stupid money to me – I prefer cars I can actually drive. And leave in a parking lot while I run some errands or watch my kid’s sporting event. But the rarity is neat and I’m sure someone will pony up some cash for it.
    Interesting custom Chevelle in the same barn/garage.

    – John

  17. Dolphin Member

    I think the alloy bodywork on this car might be very hard to restore and some of it might not be restorable. Alloy bodywork can corrode and also harden, and end up looking like lace, with lots of holes and little strength. I think I can see areas on the body of this Jag that look like that.

    I would definitely want an expert on alloy bodies along with me if I were considering this car. A lot of the value of these rare, early alloy bodied Jags is in the alloy body. If you have to create a new body for the car, not only is it going to be very expensive and require expertise that many auto body men don’t have, but it would make me reluctant to pay the cost of a nice car with an original alloy body for a rebodied one.

    This Ebay listing is on the British Ebay site and is denominated in GBP (British pounds). That will make it more expensive to someone paying with dollars than they might have thought.

    A rare car, but I hope the potential buyers go in with eyes wide open.

    • ROAR

      I don’t know about now but you used to be able to buy a new 120 body in alloy or steel in Jolly Olde, the value of the car is that it IS one of those, everything else is just money, one buys that car to HAVE it not just to make a buck!
      A friend earned his beans and bread by harvesting Jags and other significant remains and returning them to the UK, every bolt or nut is one that the restorer doesn’t have to source but one needs to have a number and at least some bits to “restore”

  18. Steve R

    I want to know more about the 1970 Chevelle parked next to it.

    Steve R

    • Jeff

      Me two that looks so cool

  19. stillrunners lawrence Member

    What Steve said…..sadly….what happened !

  20. stillrunners lawrence Member

    And isn’t that a Turbo 400 sitting in there ? So much for untouched on both…

  21. BiggYinn

    Think i prefer the term ALUMINIUM as it was made in britian i’ll use that spelling lol other that that ….money pit

  22. Ron Bunting

    I saw an alloy bodied XK120 go up for sale a couple of years in a lot worse condition but it did have the corroded remains of a trans in it. The Bidding on that was well into 6 figures although the final price escapes me. These cars fetch insane money and companies like Contour autocraft with have that body sorted quick smart.

  23. StuB

    Who goes to drag a rusty car out of a barn in flip flops?

  24. Karen Warner

    Want the real story behind this deal? This is that “granny” who sold this car. First, I spotted it sitting in a swamp and paid $75 and a pair of mags, not $25. Second, I was not selling the car. I was contacted by someone I knew who had been working behind my back to sell the Jag. This was my baby for much of my life. My late husband had worked with a co-worker to make motor mounts and set a 327 Chevy engine in it. Then he went down with MS.So once more the car sat. If anyone looks, it sat in one of my garages, not a barn. When the intermediary called to ask if I would sell it, first reply was no. I had many offers over the years. But, at this stage of the game, time to re-think. The offer was one heck of a nest egg. The buyer fed me a line about it being his dream car, owning the engine of #200 and how he would cherish it. I ‘thought” it was going to a good home and reluctantly agreed to part with her. I didnt know he was a garbage “flipper”, out for a profit. I have the car registered with the Jag historic society. If I had known, I would have kept the car. And sorry, I didnt know I was going to be posted publicly or I would have dressed for the occasion, jerks. I own a farm and gowns dont work with working on cars. I used to run a body shop too.

    • Frank Brauer

      You look awesome anyway you are. Sorry that the writer felt the need to caption you as a “granny”. I thought that was tacky and tasteless.

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Hi Karen,
      I didn’t mean to offend. I’ve updated the title of the post and will update the photos. I just use the photos that were in the seller’s ad, so I assumed they had your permission to post them.
      Josh

    • Wayne

      Karen all I can say is your a very nice looking lady

    • skibum2

      Karen, I kinda like how you look.. Like you, I sold my AEX127 56 AC and regret it..I also have more than a few tales about the cars we find..’51 Silver Wraith Limo found on Orcas Island in Wa. that was owned by Woody Allen for the movie Stardust Memories..Love just talking to motor heads about the passion..thanks for the update..

      • Jerry

        In case you are interested I
        who owns AC Ace AEX 127 now. BTW I own Ace Bristol BEX 316.

    • Michael thomas

      forget about the car. I am interested in the lady that owned it. GRRRR. Me think the two of us could buy and sell and travel across the country. What a great show. I am a retired collision tech .

    • Robert White

      Hi Karen,

      When I commented about the car needing new boots & primer I was not alluding to your attire or makeup. Primed cars with tires that roll is the only way to market vintage collector cars IMHO. You sound like a very cool businessperson with a great deal of skill & knowledge. I know what you mean when you state that you thought you were selling to a committed buyer that understood the uniqueness of the car. Flippers are a constant annoyance around here at Barn Finds. We are not jerks, and we are all car buffs to some degree or another. Great story about the car and history. We also appreciate your notoriety with respect to having a real modeling career in the motorcycle historiography of America. Nostalgia is important to most of us here and the more varied the story the better. Your story is very interesting to all of us.

      cheers, Bob

    • john

      you’re obviously a lady!! Nice for you to care and chime in. A cool car and I know the ‘hurts to let go’ feelings. Best to you and a nest egg. And, you DO have the pictures and the stories, and someone else will undoubtably (sp) send you a picture of the finished project.

    • Mike May

      Karen, I apologize for the jerk comments but this car is going to a better home than yours.
      As the owner of 2 Alloy XK120 OTS I am in contact with quite a few would-be
      buyers and am very versed in the costs and problem in restoring these cars.
      The purchaser of this car contacted me excitingly anticipating the purchase and restoration of your car. He seemed to be an enthusiastic Jaguar collector and asked for advise which I gladly gave. Talking with him after the sale, I now know the reason he is selling it and it is not money per se.
      If rescuing a car from a place where it is only deteriorating and with almost no chance of restoration makes him a “garbage flipper” then may be he is. You however now have “one heck of a nest egg” and no reason to cry. As a collector of several XKs I am glad to now have the opportunity purchase and restore this iconic vehicle. Being the former owner of XK’S Unlimited I know the necessity of making money to pursue your passion and I applaud Gary for his ability to rescue cars no matter what his motive.

  25. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Send Lawyers guns and money, the alloy is going to hit the fan. Living in Wisconsin I am glad to see this, as opposed to a 4 by 4 chassis under a 68 Camaro. Yes we do wear side arms a lot. A great barn find indeed! Man, wherever a couple of the ad photos were taken it looks like the Jag is shoehorned between a C1 Vette and some other rig, wow! I remember Easy Rider magazine, pretty sure it’s still around. Gives me an excuse to go to town. She will be a great looking rig when done.

  26. sunbeamdon

    Karen: – my apologies – too much sleep deprivation with the second coming of April 15 tax deadline – with your comments I now understand you are a fellow gear-head!

    My experience was with CSX2005 – sold too early and too low! It subsequently sold for what I believe was over $1.7 mil and is now in Switzerland (after Monterey)

    Keep the faith – we are not all jerks.

  27. Martin Horrocks

    The alloy body XK120 carries a very big premium. Of course it can and will be restored by professionals at that level in the market, . Non-matching numbers won´t hurt as much as some might think if the restoration is excellent.

    Have read somewhere that the alloy-body XK120s actually weigh a bit more than the later pressed steel version, which I guess was more developed for production purposes.

  28. sluggo

    In the Uk its pronounced Al-You-Mini-Ium, And no if you have some training and practice aluminum bodys are easier than steel to work on. Just needs skill and finesse. Dave Coote up in Canada is an expert on these, rolls and bentleys and sought after expert for resto. We have a local guy as well who apprenticed in the Jag ffactory in the 1950s as a coach builder and body maker.
    He mostly restores classic Motorcycle body work but this was his jam back in the day.

    I like the characters who owned it. Know a lot of the same types. What year/issue of Easy riders? I go a lot of the old issues and Iron Horse too.

    You show up around our place trying to bamboozle us my wife is a excellent markswoman and we own a lot of firearms, Better shot than me and i had marksman awards in the Military. Try and finaggle away her 69 chevelle and be a lot of lead flying your way.

    • Chip Hemenway

      Bentleys have steel bodies. Range Rover has aluminum.

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Some Bentley’s have aluminum bodywork…….

  29. Mike Williams

    I’m pretty sure that in 1969 at 19 means she was born in 1950 making her 5 years younger than me or 67.and sure not 91 ! I wonder if I still have my Easy Riders mags.

    • grant

      The sellers dad is 91, not the lady who sold him the car. Reading comprehension!

  30. RoughDiamond rough diamond Member

    Karen thank you for filling in the despicable details. Who knew that both the person you knew and the Seller were the equivalent of a snake in the grass. unless you were willing to come forward and tell us as Paul Harvey would have said “The rest of the story”. Always nice to hear from a lady who is stunning in a dress and loves wrenching on cars. Spent a lot of time on a farm growing up. My hats off to you as that is hard honest work.
    I sure hope your husband is still with you and doing as well as he can be. I have a young adult daugher that was diagnosed with MS at 13 who is now 24. IMO MS is an insidious @#%&# disease.

  31. charlie Member

    My 1960 Jag XK 150 S had an aluminum hood and trunk lid, as does my ’93 Allante (and the removable hardtop). Supposedly to save weight, but how much it really saved is doubtful. And it did, the Jag, and does, the Allante, dent easily. It does make sense on the removable hardtop which weighs 115 lb as is.

  32. Mike

    Do a story on the Chevelle in the background

  33. 88V8

    The alloy is Duralumin, same as Land Rover body panels were made of, up to the end of the Series III.
    It can be worked, and welded, if one knows how.

    As already alluded to, the problem with alloy bodies is electrolytic corrosion where the alloy is in contact with steel. The steel rusts, the alloy thins and goes into holes.

    Bare alloy is self-protecting, it forms an oxide layer that prevents further corrosion. Problem with this if someone polishes or rubs the oxide off, it will then form another layer, each time the metal thins.

    Alloy is great if the car lives in a dry climate and never goes out in the rain.

    Hope this eventually finds a good home, and Karen gets to see it and even take a drive.

    V8

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