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Running And Driving: 1953 Jaguar XK120 FHD

I’ve accepted the fact that I won’t ever be able to afford an XK120, but you can’t blame me for dreaming! To this day, I remember the first time I saw an XK120 as a kid. It was a 1:64 scale Hot Wheels, growing up in Wyoming there weren’t many ’50s Jaguars around. I was captivated by the flowing lines and told myself one day I would at least figure out what that car was. Times were simpler when I didn’t know what an XK120 was or what one costs! This 1963 Jaguar is the full size twin of that Hot Wheels car and with a current bid of $11k, it almost seem obtainable! You can find it here on eBay in Memphis, Tennessee and I’m sure bidding won’t stay this low for much longer.

I’m truly surprised the current bid isn’t higher, the body looks solid, the interior is somewhat complete and the engine is said to run. What more could you want from an unrestored 64 year old Jaguar? These cars are notoriously expensive to restore, but if its complete and lacks mechanical issues, it seems like it should be worth decent money as is. It might not be an alloy bodied roadster like the one from a few days ago, but even steel bodied fixed head cars can fetch six figures these days.

The engine has already received a tune up, which included rebuilding the carbs and boiling out the radiator. The brakes are said to work well and even the lights are in working order! Give it a good cleaning and this thing would be ready to hit the road. There’s no word on whether this is the original engine or a replacement, but does it really matter if your main goal is simply to have an XK120 to drive? Heck, I had plenty of fun with my Hot Wheels XK120 and it didn’t even have an engine.

It sounds like this car’s main issues are cosmetic. While paint isn’t cheap, this is one of the few cars out there that paint isn’t the most expensive part to restore. A dedicated Jaguar fan would probably insist on a proper paint job, and who could blame them? But in some ways the old paint gives this car added character. Perhaps the next owner will keep it looking as is and just redo the interior!

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Am I missing something, Josh? Shouldn’t that be “XK 120 FHC”????

    I love these. One of my very first rides in a real capital-S/capital C Sports Car was in a 120 Roadster, which belonged to a teacher at Art Center College who was friends with my father. Wonderful machine!

    Even if it sells for the current (low, in my view) price, the new owner is going to spend some substantial coin on the cosmetics. A decent paint job and interior re-trim won’t be cheap. But oh, will it be worth it!

    Either a Roadster or FHC would suit me. After, that is, I find another Austin-Healey 3000. In my wildest imagination, I can’t imagine ever being able to own the other Sports Car I rode in as a small boy: it was a Kurtis 500S.

  2. Andre

    Needs an LS

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      That will halve it’s value in seconds!

  3. rough diamond Member

    Love the lines of this Jaguar. Plus the license plate says “CAL CAR” so I guess we should believe it is so. Sure looks solid and dry.

    Hey Josh, about what year would you guess that Hot Wheels was? Whatever happened to all those Hot Wheels you all bought at the estate sale?

  4. Steve R

    Based on previous auction results for this car, the reserve is between $34,000 (did not meet reserve) and $42,000 (met reserve but the sale was not completed). What should this car, in this condition sell for?

    Steve R

    • ulm210

      If it is running and driving and road worthy the price is right. Paint and Interior will be $15k. Wire wheels would add another $3-4k. Then the car will be worth $60-70k.

      A full body off resto would be in the 6 figures but the car will be worth twice the restoration cost.

      So, this car, if it is what the seller says, is a good buy at somewhere between $30 – $35. Any more and you better be able to do most of the work yourself.

  5. Martin Horrocks

    The combination of FHC, steel wheels and rear spats is very unusual now. This car could be very elegant, although bright red doesn´t show to best effect (nor do these photos!). Many FHCs have been modified for track or rally use/look, so this car represents a chance to do something different.

    Survival rate of early XK FHC is low as they were completely unwanted in the late 60s/early 70s.

  6. Ben T. Spanner

    They were almost completely unwanted. My college friend and fellow mechanic had a 1952 Jaguar FHC as a daily driver. The paint was faded red. The exhaust had many Bud cans as patches.

    My driver was a 1954 Austin healey 100. Paint was metallic black. It was replaced by a 1954 Porsche 356 in the wrong red. A friend drove a 1957 Porsche Speedster. Paint was wheelbarrow blue.

    These cars were all sub $500. The drive trains were robust. If they failed, replacement engines were cheap as we were in the rust belt. The bodies and interiors were, as a rule, shot. We didn’t care, and had no money to fix them.

  7. Brian R

    That old paint is a very poor repaint, you can see it on the bumper brackets and the weatherstripping on the vent window. The paint is cracking, has horrible orange peel and is coming off in chunks on the front fender which scares me as to what is underneath. That’s not patina it’s crappy paint. Who knows how much rust and bondo are hidden if the paint was applied that poorly.

    • Mark S

      Puddly is your buddy, If you make it right make it bright. Very cool car but out of my league.

  8. JagManBill

    This car started my deep decent into the kitty world. My Dad had a wire wheel’d version of this 50 years ago. Traded it for a 62 MkII in 67. Today, I could never get in one. His 54 120M OTS I had to drive with the top down to see over the windshield.
    With a very short stint in the early 70’s when he traded a MkV for Bill Cosby’s 66 T-Bird convert we have never been without at least one Jag (real ones…) in the family. Its a sickness I tell ya….

  9. John

    A beautiful car from a day long gone. Unfortunately most of these cars are also gone. I actually owned one once for about a week. I bought it thinking that I would restore it and keep it till I was a very old man. When I got it home, I found that it had an incredibly delicate frame, Mine had been lifted incorrectly and it was bowed up just under the back end of the doors. If I’d have been a bit brighter, it would have occurred to me that there was a reason that the door gap was larger at the top. To shorten the story, the entire car was bent in some way or another. I took it to a body shop and they laughed at me. I was about 19 years old. I had paid $500 for it. I eventually sold it to a command officer at Ft Leavenworth who just wanted its engine and transmission. I got my $500 back, and I was thrilled. It was just the beginning of my journey down the slippery slope of British automobile ownership. But even mine, with its bent frame and everything, was still beautiful. Mine was eggshell white.

  10. Harry

    I would not do anything for this car. Only service to make it driveable. There is enough those 200K$ restorations in car shows. It would be cool to just drive this one, and let those purists cry..

  11. Andy

    Not for nothing, but there’s still an Earl Scheib in the Bronx.

  12. Chris A.

    As I recall, wire knock off wheels cannot be used on this car as the spats will not clear the knock off hubs, hence the reason this has steel wheels. My friend has this exact car even to the color. But it sits on his library shelf as a Dinky Toys diecast. Whatever size real or diecast, they are drop dead stunning.

  13. Brian M Member

    In the early 50’s my family doctor had either a roadster or DHC Jag XK. He would use it for house calls until the snow started (anyone remember house calls?). He always looked a bit snooty driving it but I now realize that his driving position was more a result of his being 5′ 5″ tall and not any attitude problem. I still remember the sound it made as he would turn around in our unpaved driveway and accelerate down the hill in front of the house. Only two cops in town at that time. The Chief was his patient and the other was told to let him have fun with his sporty car.

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