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Parked in ’74: 1952 Jaguar XK120 FHC

This 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe might appear to be an expensive starting point for a restoration project, but upon completion, it could be a car that is capable of commanding a solid 6-digit value. What makes it all the more attractive is that it is a car that appears to be free of any rust issues. It is located in Saint Simons Island, Georgia, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN for the Jaguar has been set at $37,000, but there is the option available to make an offer.

The single most worrying area of the Jaguar’s body is the left-rear corner, which is exhibiting signs of previous accident damage. However, the frame is said to be okay, so this area would seem to be repairable. The owner doesn’t provide any external photos that give us a clear look at this corner of the car from the outside, so it isn’t completely clear how good the panel alignment is. He does give us plenty of photos of the vehicle’s underside, and apart from a light dusting of surface corrosion, the frame and floors look to be perfect. The same would seem to be true of the body panels, although the original Cream paint has most certainly seen better days.

As with the external paint, the Biscuit colored interior trim in the Jaguar has also seen plenty of better days. It will require a complete restoration, but apart from the carpet, it does look to be largely complete. The “big ticket” item inside the car will be the dash, which will probably cost a fair amount to revive. Replacement upholstery for the XK120 is surprisingly affordable, but the timber on the dash has deteriorated badly, while the gauges will either need to be restored or replaced. To give you some insight into this, I have found a couple of companies that can supply a full set of replacement gauges for an XK120, but you will get no change out of $4,000 for those alone.

The Jaguar is a numbers-matching car, meaning that the original 3,442cc DOHC 6-cylinder engine, capable of producing 180hp, nestles in the engine bay. Backing this is a 4-speed manual transmission. That’s the good news. The bad news is the fact that the XK has been parked since 1974, and the engine doesn’t turn. That means that it will almost certainly need a full rebuild, provided it can be successfully unlocked. Getting that engine turning freely and in a fit state for a rebuild is pretty important, because keeping the car as numbers-matching will have an impact on its ultimate value.

Today it is possible to buy a driving example of the XK120 Fixed Head Coupe for under $80,000, but it will be a car that will still require some work to bring it up to its best. Immaculate examples will command prices of $110,000, while you will get no change from $130,000 for a pristine example. I even found a spotlessly restored, numbers-matching XK120 that sold recently for $152,000. Amazingly, that is still well short of the record sales price, which was set at $213,000 in 2015. That is one of the reasons why getting that motor turning is so vital. There is no reason why this car couldn’t command prices well in excess of that $130,000 figure if properly restored, but to do that, it would need to be a numbers-matching car. It will be a challenge, but it could be a challenge that is well worth accepting.


  1. Bruce

    The metal panels on this car are extremely simple but there are built in rust traps. The signal mounts and head light frames are leaded in and are seldom painted or even primed properly and all seem to rust there. The fenders are largely simple curves or are flat sheet metal and are surprisingly easy to put right. The same can be said for the dash. I have seen the wood patterns on the internet to cut a new one and any good wood shop can source the veneer needed to put the dash right. The cost to do this yourself is extremely low.

    That this car has the fender skirts is almost amazing as most of these were lost over the years. The seats are again easy to restore but the rest of the interior is not. There is a lot more there than you might think and it is expensive to put right. I have driven one of these for a short time and it was extremely enjoyable but not in the summer time. This is a spring, fall and winter car for most of the U.S. as there is NO air-conditioning. This car is warm without a heater in the winter time but in the summer it is an oven.
    What every it is a breathtaking beauty and fun to drive. Dated yes but you can perform in low speed roads with ease and highway speeds are no trouble either. Braking is longer than you might be used to so be careful but What a breathtaking car when put right.

    Like 7
  2. Hemidavey

    Stunning design, wonderful to drive, cost to restore is unbearable. Buy one all done and save 50K

    Like 3
  3. ccrvtt

    The BIN on ebay is $37K but on Hemmings it’s $41,500. Apparently the seller thinks Hemmings attracts a better class of buyers. Look for it in the duPont Registry for $110,000.

    At any rate, I hope someone with a ton of money buys it and makes it nice again. If they sell it on Hemmings it would appear to be $120K asking price.

    Which is probably about half of what it will cost to resurrect.

    Like 2
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Love how sellers stage their other problems in the distant view…….

    Like 1
  5. Del

    Parts car.

    Man, we just keep seeing old Jags that are in pretty bad shape and owners asking silly prices

    Like 1

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