Right Where We Left It: 1950 Jaguar XK120 Follow-Up

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In August of last year, I did a write-up on this 1950 Jaguar XK120 for sale on Craigslist in Kingston, New York.  This forlorn but solid Jaguar was a car that the ad writer frequently saw around Kingston growing up.  Now that the original owner has passed on, they are trying to find a home for the car and funds to assist the widow.  It seems that the search for a new owner is still on.  The biggest problem is that the vehicle has been partially disassembled and sits under an open-walled shed.  While the asking price has been lowered from a lofty $42,500 to a slightly more reasonable $37,500, the car is still on the market.  It also seems that scammers and ne’er-do-wells have aggravated them to the point the ad emphatically states cash only as a medium of exchange.  A Jaguar XK120 is a desirable car for sure.  What is uncertain is exactly what number regarding price will get this car sold and on the road to rehabilitation.  Do you have any idea what would be fair in this situation?  What advice would you give the sellers at this point?  Thanks to Gunter K. for bringing this Jaguar back to our attention!

The sale of a classic car after a death is difficult even under the best circumstances.  Our family went through this with the passing of my grandfather.  He owned two very desirable antique cars and was active in a few of the local clubs.  It wasn’t long, three days after the funeral to be exact, before the calls started coming in.  A few were very polite and were simply calls to express interest if the cars were ever to be put on the market.  Others were less pleasant and more, shall we say, pushy.  We heard back that there had been many discussions as my grandfather’s health declined and a feeding frenzy of sorts kicked off with his passing.  Thankfully there was no need to sell the cars at that time, and both are now in my possession.  The situation still left a bad taste in our mouths, especially considering a few of the more insistent were considered friends by my grandfather.

I am sure all of you have similar stories.  While Miss Manners has never laid out the proper protocol for such events, patience and kindness will go a long way toward earning you a spot in Heaven in situations like this.  The writer of the ad is earning their place with this difficult sale right now.  Remembered as a special car around town in the writer’s youth, there is a friendship between the writer and the widow.  In today’s dark world of cons, hustles, and outright theft, aiding a widow in need is truly a noble act.  Helping a special car find a proper home is a great thing as well.

Despite the effort, this Jaguar has not found its forever home yet.  We are told that the car was partially disassembled in the early 1980s.  This was presumably for a restoration that never happened.  The writer believes that “95%+” of the parts are there.  They have also included multiple pictures of parts in bins and in various places in and around the car.  Much of what we see is in original, yet somewhat weathered condition.  The body shows no sign of anything other than surface rust and all of the panels are straight.  None of the other parts look to be too difficult to restore aside from the gauges.  Four decades of being stored outdoors has likely not been kind to their internal workings.

You can probably count on an engine rebuild at this point.  That will probably cost a fair amount once you find a machine shop that specializes in Jaguars.  The inline-six you see above was radically advanced for its time, and I hope one of our readers who knows a bit about these cars can chime in on what a rebuild will cost.  Once you get past the engine costs, there is nothing that stands out as too difficult to do for a dedicated hobbyist.

The quandary here is that the Craigslist ad and the asking price don’t seem to be working.  There is a price point where someone will show up with a trailer, hand over some cash, and drive off with a ready-to-restore Jaguar XK120.  If you were the writer of the ad who is trying to help the widow sell this car, what would your next steps be?  What advice would you give on price, where to advertise, and how to close out this sale?  Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.  Perhaps your advice will get back to the writer and the widow and help them get this Jaguar sold.

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  1. gippy

    The price is not realistic. 100K is the going rate for a top quality restored car, and one that has sat like this, disassembled for decades could eat up 100K in restoration costs. 20K would be reasonable if it is matching numbers and the parts are all there for a guy who can handle all mechanical work himself and only needs to farm out paint and upholstery.

    Like 9
  2. sisumanMember

    The price is now $32,000.

    Like 0
  3. Fritz

    agree with gippy, maybe even less.
    doubt my mech, who’s a Brit enthusiast, would even go for $20k.

    Like 1
  4. Darrell Edwards

    Without seeing EVERY part that should go with this 120 i will offer $15,000.00 and pray that everything is there.

    Like 0
  5. A Clarke

    I would agree with Gippy that the current asking price is high. There’s quite a difference between sentimental value and market value.

    There are maybe three kinds of buyers for this kind of a car.

    1. The deep-pockets guys who want to add a special car to their collection, can pay top dollar, but lack the skills and time to organize a proper restoration – they want to buy a completed 100-point car.

    (This car is special but not rare enough to attract deep pockets with the resources and time for what will be a lengthy restoration.)

    2. The skilled Jaguar restorer with the shop and resources to restore this car and sell it to one of the deep-pockets guys at a considerable profit.

    3. And the Jaguar enthusiast with the time and skills and shop space to restore this treasure, but not the deep pockets to pay someone to do it.

    Only the last two are potential buyers and neither can or will pay top dollar. And a pretty small market. I’d think a price between $10 and $15,000 would be the limit.

    Unless there is a local #3 who would add some sentimental value to keep it local.

    Like 1
  6. Frenchy Dampier

    I’ve done enough of these that I’m now down to about 2500 man hours. ( there are 2080 hrs in a 40 hour work week year) Per restoration. That includes body work. and paint. Complete rebuild of all mechanicals.
    I no longer need to look up details or specs. ( well, maybe to confirm something).
    I’m no slave to absolute originality. Shooting for great driver quality instead. Probably saves me $30,000 and 500 hours.
    Space is my magic. A person needs at least 3 car spaces to store items ( more for Sedans) with easy access and no damage. Plus a spot to work in. The work space should be free from anything because that’s the “clean room” for mechanical assembly, painting and final assembly.
    A complete set of high quality tools, equipment, a good rotisserie, and supplies.
    If I were to buy this I’d buy and build it for myself. While I might be willing to pay near the asking price, the 95% tells me to inventory what is actually there and what sort of condition everything is in.
    If as I suspect of the 5% not there, and likely condition of what I see I’m afraid I’d be in the low $20,000 number.
    My experience is to sit back and wait until after Halloween when they are looking at winter and still haven’t sold it.
    If someone pays more than what I believe is a fair price, that’s fine. We all have different priorities.

    Like 6
  7. Kenn

    As had been said so many times on this site, a car is worth what someone will pay for it. Besides BF, wouldn’t an ad in Hemmings make a lot of sense? Or perhaps if the Jaguar Club of North America has advertising. ie: fish where the fish are.

    Like 2
    • tompdx

      Good plan: jag-lovers.org is where I found my XK150 non-running project. I’d suggest an ad there.

      Like 0
      • tompdx

        Done – I sent them an email.

        Like 0
  8. hugh crawford

    Seems like a good candidate for using some of it to build a track / race car and sell the rest of it. Of course then you would have an obsolete race car with no actual history, but there seems to be a lot of them and vintage racing events that welcome such things.

    Paying someone else to restore a car where the interested demographic is relinquishing a lot of examples faster that the market can absorb them seems like a bad investment, but if wisdom in investing were the point none of us would be here.

    Like 0
  9. JohnfromSC

    It surprises me that no one thinks to contact the JCNA. There are chpters around Albany plus CT and MA. A few members line in Kingston area. That’s the best way to get an honest, realistic value ( and possibly a buyer).

    Like 1
  10. Jake Crowley

    I agree with lowering the price to $20k. Also I would advertise the car on Hemmings. Not just a Jaguar but any classic really shouldn’t be on Craig’s list

    Like 0
  11. Frenchy dampier

    It would make an excellant candidate for Vintage racing. The XK 120 has the engine further back than the 140 or 150. Giving better balance. It’s also lighter than either of those
    The later spindles can be used for swapping to disk brakes and installing the XK140-150 steering rack is a common update.
    It might be difficult to locate a XK150 rear end ( for the disk brakes) but it is possible to upgrade the 120 to rear disk brakes.
    All of those changes are legal because SCCA allowed cars to be updated and back dated.
    I’d use the 3.8 block ( because it’s stronger and doesn’t try to break the crankshaft the way the 4.2 does). You trade away a little peak power for durability.
    I would use the later EFI. Cylinder head because it has bigger valves. Plus the ports are bigger as well .
    Either Webers or triple 2” SU’s the Webers offer 15 more horsepower because of straighter intake. But require thousands of dollars of jets and set up time to adjust to various air density’s. That occur during race weekends.
    The variable venturies of the SU’s aren’t as labor intensive. I could adjust fuel mixtures on the SU’s in a minute or two. It takes longer to open and shut the hood than adjust SU’s
    Torsion bars are easy to adjust. Plus later bars are stiffer. There are affordable shocks that can be adjusted right on the car.
    I always made my own tubular sway bars. So I could adjust depending on the track. Some tracks reward a stiffer bar than other tracks.
    A rear sway bar only works if several leaves are removed from the rear spring packs. But then a panard bar is required as well as traction stabilizers.

    Like 0
  12. Frank Sumatra

    Seems destined for Astoria, NY.

    Like 0

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