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Museum Find: 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed-Head Coupe

If you’re like me, you don’t mind the idea of a classic car serving a stint in a museum. However, I prefer to see this as a short-term situation because most cars deserve to be driven and enjoyed as their creators intended. That hasn’t been the case with this 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed-Head Coupe. It recently emerged after two decades of display. The seller revived it, returned it to a roadworthy state, and all it needs is a new home and an owner willing to hit the road to enjoy all it offers. It presents superbly and would suit a meticulous buyer. The Jag is listed here on Craigslist in Sarasota, Florida. The seller set their price at $93,500, and I must say thank you to Barn Finder Rocco B. for spotting this stunning classic.

The general presentation of this XK120 supports the seller’s claim that it has spent years on display. It is unclear whether it received any restoration work, but its Black paint exhibits a depth of color and shine that makes me feel like I could sink into the body. There are no visible marks, and the panels are straight. The lack of rust is consistent with a car kept in a climate-controlled environment. The panels are clean, while the underside is nearly perfect. There are chips in the undercoat but no corrosion or penetrating rust. The vehicle style and paint color impart an almost sinister look, but the sparkling chrome alleviates that impression and provides a welcome contrast. The glass is flawless, and the wide whitewalls add the perfect finishing touch.

If the Jag’s exterior condition is astonishing, its interior serves more of the same. The upholstered surfaces wear rich and supple Red leather, with Bright Red carpet on the floor. The leather has the usual character wrinkles, but no wear can be found anywhere inside this classic. The Walnut veneer on the dash shines beautifully, with no evidence of delaminating or other problems. The gauges feature clear lenses and crisp markings, while the plated items are in as-new condition. There are no visible aftermarket additions, and if you parked this XK120 on the showroom floor at your nearest Jaguar dealership, it wouldn’t look out of place.

Jaguar served as the benchmark for post-war British sports cars, with its models offering power and performance others could only dream of. The XK120 was no exception, with its 3,442cc DOHC six pumping out 160hp. That power fed to the road via a four-speed manual transmission, allowing the Jag to cover the ¼ mile in 17.1 seconds before hitting 120mph. The company offered more potent versions of the XK120, but most buyers found the “standard” version provided enough power and performance to leave them satisfied. After more than two decades on display, the seller returned this classic to a roadworthy state in preparation for it to find a new home. They installed a new fuel tank, fuel pump, and battery. They handed it to a Jaguar specialist, who performed a complete service and inspection. It is now ready to provide someone with classic motoring pleasure.

Jaguar built 12,045 examples of the XK120 during seven years of production. Of those, 2,477 were the Fixed-Head Coupe variant in left-hand-drive form. The XK120 played second fiddle to the legendary E-Type a decade later, forcing secondhand values through the floor. Times change, and the XK120 now rates as one of the most desirable British sports cars. Although buying this car would represent a significant investment, the new owner will drive away in a vehicle that has experienced slow value increases in the past few years. The price looks competitive considering its overall condition, and while I don’t believe it will sell quickly, I see a new home in this classic’s future.


  1. BobinBexley BobinBexley Member

    Can you smell the leather, wood & wool ? Such a great place to sit. Drophead for me.

    Like 10
  2. Frank Sumatra

    Rolling sculpture.

    Like 16
  3. TheOldRanger

    This one has a classic style, very sporty for 1952. I would like to drive this one where I live, rolling hills, switchbacks, etc…

    Like 6

    Such a beautiful car. My FIL has a ‘56 XK140 scattered throughout his garage, basement and attic. His is a drophead in BRG with wire wheels. He bought it when he was in college in the early seventies and drove it until he and my MIL started having kids. That’s when he dismantled it in preparation for a restore, but as often happens life got in the way and now he’s in his early 70’s and spends most of his time and money on the lake house and grandkids. He’s been talking about restoring it for the last 15 years, but I think my wife and I are the ones that will end up doing it. No complaints from me or her, but I sure would like to see it restored and on the road before he’s too old to enjoy it.
    It spent most of its life in upstate New York, so you can imagine how much rust repair it needs. But everything is original down to the bolts, and the frame and drivetrain are all in good shape, but the engine definitely needs rebuilt after sitting for over four decades. Some day I hope to park it next to my C8 ZO6/GT350/GT500/GT3 or whatever fast car I get when I retire, I’m sure my wife feels the same.

    Like 8
  5. JohnfromSC

    From the pictures, this appears as a highly correct XK120 ( excepting one tie wrap). However, don’t be naive. This will take more work to make roadworthy. SU carbs that have been sitting 20 years need to be completely rebuilt as the diaphragm rubber dries out. One wonders what goo lives within the braking system, clutch, etc. With these considerations I think the ask is a bit optimistic.

    Like 1
    • Fred Veenschoten

      What diaphram? I guess you never worked on an SU.

      Like 6
  6. Michael Byrnes

    Looked at the same car in 1968. BRG with tan leather. At $2000 it was way too expensive for my 17year old self.

    Like 2
  7. David Frank David Member

    About cars sitting in museums… The museum where I volunteer (California Auto Museum) has several cars the we use to take visitors for rides and that we take to events. Owners who display their cars can and do take the out occasionally and drive them and have them serviced. Some museum cars unfortunately are too expensive for the museum to repair.

    Like 2
  8. V12MECH

    Probably a mg guy misremembering about the zenith 175 carb. Nice Jag, depending on inspection, price is ballpark, $100k doesn’t buy what it used to couple years ago at this level.

    Like 3
  9. John Traylor

    What beautiful car, I sure wish I had the $$$$$$$$$

    Like 0

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