Rust-Free Project: 1960 Jaguar XK150 Fixed-Head Coupe

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While it bore a striking family resemblance to its predecessor, Jaguar’s XK150 was larger and offered improved interior space compared to the outgoing XK140. It still housed the company’s beautiful DOHC six-cylinder engine, and for a motor of modest capacity, it could acquit itself well when the need arose. Our feature car is a 1960 XK150 Fixed-Head Coupe that has been sitting for years. It needs plenty of TLC, but the buyer will commence the process with a rust-free foundation. Fully restored to a high standard, it could command a substantial value in the current classic market. Located in Manvel, Texas, you will find the XK listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $42,000, and I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder MattR for spotting this gem for us.

For potential buyers, there are a couple of encouraging factors to consider with this Jaguar. The Texas climate is renowned for preserving classic steel, while the owner states that the car came out of a private collection in California. The black plates seem to confirm that, making it no surprise that the next owner will be commencing any restoration work from a rust-free foundation. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or cheap because there’s plenty to consider before committing to a project of this type. The Imperial Maroon paint, which Jaguar offered for the XK150’s entire production run, is well past its best. With sections beginning to lift and peel, the buyer will probably face the prospect of stripping the panels to bare metal if a high-quality restoration is the ultimate goal. The panels look straight, with any imperfections appearing minor and easy to address. The glass looks good for its age, but only an in-person inspection will determine whether the exterior chrome is in an acceptable state. The buyer probably needs to brace for a few pieces to find their way to the platers to achieve a satisfactory finish.

Jaguar rolled the XK150 out of their factory in Coventry, England, with a 3,442cc DOHC six-cylinder engine producing 190hp. The original owner of this car selected the four-speed manual transmission with optional (and desirable) overdrive. At 3,240lbs, the Fixed-Head Coupe was not the lightest car on the planet. That makes its ability to cover the ¼ mile in 16.7 seconds before winding its way to 122mph look quite respectable. The owner indicates that the Jag doesn’t currently run and hasn’t for several years, but the engine turns freely. The plug wires are bad, but that may be the tip of the iceberg. Because of its potential value, I’d thoroughly inspect and clean everything before yielding to the temptation of turning the key. It’s better to be safe than sorry in cases like this. It is also worth noting that the Jaguar isn’t numbers-matching. It isn’t clear when the original motor disappeared, but its replacement initially saw service in another XK150.

The seller indicates that a previous owner retrimmed the Jaguar’s interior in Tan vinyl several years ago, and it still presents nicely. If the buyer considers this a driver-quality project, the interior would serve perfectly untouched. However, they will probably scrap the lot if a faithful restoration is on the agenda. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, Jaguar never used vinyl seat upholstery in the XK150. A high-end car like this deserved nothing but leather, which buyers expected. Secondly, the trim color is wrong. The Imperial Maroon paint is original, and the only interior trim color offered with that shade in 1960 was Maroon with matching carpet. Since none of the existing trim or upholstery is correct, potential buyers will commence this aspect of the project with a blank slate. It is worth noting that returning the interior to its former glory will not be a cheap exercise. Several suppliers offer complete kits, but these cost around $7,000. That’s enough to make your eyes water, but since it represents a one-off expense that should survive for decades if treated with respect and maintained appropriately, it suddenly doesn’t look that bad. When you begin considering the potential value of this classic, it could represent a wise investment.

If the next owner wished to cultivate the “shabby chic” look, they could attend to this 1960 Jaguar XK150’s mechanical needs and then hit the road in an unrestored state. However, I don’t believe that approach would do this classic justice. It appears to represent a straightforward restoration project, although it is unlikely to be a cheap undertaking. The loss of its original engine will undermine its value, but it is difficult to determine the extent of the impact. If the new owner completes their work to a high standard, it could still threaten a six-figure sum in the current market. It is worth noting that values have been climbing steadily in recent years, suggesting that it could represent a solid long-term investment. Is that enough to tempt you to pursue this Jag further?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    For that kind of asking price I would think the seller would at least clean up the car….

    Like 5
  2. Fred W

    If you are not in search of perfection, I see lots of potential here. The Craigslist photos show an interior that will clean up nicely. Paint would respond to a cut and buff/ touch up. Restore it mechanically and you will have something nice you can drive anywhere without worrying about a scratch. Restore to perfection, and 50K later your will have something museum worthy that will never get driven. I choose the first.

    Like 17
    • Slomoogee

      I totally agree with Fred… that’s the way to go with this car. Make it mechanically perfect maybe a few tweaks to engine and suspension. Pass the new BMW owner, overdrive engaged at 90 in the go fast lane. Old guys and old jags rule.

      Like 17
    • RC Graham

      Fred W – I agree with your take almost completely. However; having owned 5 Jaguars, the Vinyl would just creep me out. Spring for the leather interior kit, and everything else gets the ‘best efforts’ treatment. We are most likely not museum curators, we are drivers. It is distinctly a driver’s car, and to be driven.

      Like 8
  3. KurtMember

    How do silicon plug wires rot? Just sayin…

    Like 2
  4. charlieMember

    I owned one (XK 150 S), paid $350 for it in 1968, sold it for $350 in 1973, ran when I bought it, was, for the time, an incredible machine, your butt was up against the rear axel, with that long, long hood , and your legs, and arms straight out in front of you, would outrun most other things on the road at the time, especially at speeds over 80 mph. But, parts were hard to find, and a mechanic who knew how to fix it was even more rare. So, it sat 3 weeks out of 4 while I drove my ’54 Corvette which started and ran every day, to work. The first Covette’s were reportedly modeled on the XK 120 using parts from the Chevy/GM parts bins for the mechanicals, so it was easy to fix, and parts were readiily available, but the Jag was much more fun to drive. My Jag was being eaten by the tin worm when I sold it, would not run, one chrome wire wheel was toast (but the spare was a full size chrome wire wheel), it was blue to begin with, then a metalic purple/pink, talk about you pimpmobiles, but when it ran, it RAN.

    Like 9
    • RC Graham

      charlie – You are obviously a man of discernment and taste.

      Like 7

    What is a fixed-head??


    Like 0
    • RC Graham

      JAMES HOMER COOK – It means the top doesn’t go down. ‘Drop head’ means it does (but usually it doesn’t come back up without a fight).

      Like 9
  6. Gerard Frederick

    ¨When it ran, it ran¨, just about sums it up. The only people who wax enthusiastically about ¨that wonderful engine¨ are folks who never owned one of these technical abortions. Pure, nightmarish vomit – THAT describes this car. The only way to own a Jag is to shoe horn a Chevy 350 into it, including all GM components.

    Like 2
    • RC Graham

      Gerard Frederick – Having owned 5 Jaguars (including one of the first 1961 E-Types built), I disagree with every word you wrote, after ‘Frederick’. Frankly, your verbal imagery is offensive as well.

      Like 26
      • Jimbosidecar

        I bought a basketcase ’67 XK-E in 1981 for about $3ooo. After a year and a half I had a driver quality runner. Beautiful car. Lots of problems with electrics and hydraulics. But the engine never gave me the slightest problem. But like Charlie above, I too had a Corvette, also a ’67 with the 427/435 that was more of my daily driver.

        Like 4
      • Peter Storen

        R C , did you adjust the valves yourself ?

        Like 0
      • RC Graham

        Peter Storen – Each of us has gifts. The first two engines I ever built were 426 Hemi’s. The next 3 were 427 3X2 Chevys. I helped my brother with a 455 Stage 1 rebuild. However, I’ve never touched a DOHC. My brother, ever more talented than I in this regard, handled that task admirably. Later, he did an Olds Quad 4 as well. Why?

        Like 2
      • Gerard Frederick

        So you are a glutton for punishment. Well, to each his own, sorry of the truth is offensive – that is its nature.

        Like 0
    • KurtMember

      Gerard what were the specific problems? I always thought these were great (but thirsty) engines.

      Like 1
    • Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

      I don’t think you are going to get many supporters on your diatribe about the Jag engine and anybody that wants to put a Chev 350 into it maybe should be on a different website relating to hot rods.

      Like 7
  7. Marv

    What RCGraham said!

    Like 1
  8. Frank DMember

    Beautiful car then and still a beautiful car now.

    Like 1
  9. Peter Storen

    R C Graham , Did you do your own valve adjustments on your 5 Jags ?

    Like 0
  10. Peter Storen

    RC Graham , I think it would take incredible dedication to the marque ( or to the older brother in your case ) to have the patience to have to remove the camshaft , insert shims to attain required clearance , refit camshaft and retest. How’s your brother’s back holding out ?

    Like 0
    • RC Graham

      Peter Storen – At this point, this feels less like a search for information, for which I am always willing to help if I can, and more like a game of ‘Gotcha’.

      My Jaguars; 1961 E-Type DHC, 1967 E-Type DHC, 1977 XJS, 1986 XJS and a 1995 XJ-6 were each in their own ways, magic carpets.

      The 61 and 67 E-types would have been the only two that would have needed that sort of surgery. The 67 is the only one that got that level of attention. It was about 40 years ago.

      Some details I remember and some I don’t.

      Have you any further?

      Like 3
  11. Chris Munn

    I bought a 120 that had been blessed with turd brown vinyl seats from later MK2 2.4. I couldn’t live with it. Kind of like having a gorgeous girlfriend with a couple of missing teeth.

    Like 1
  12. Bruce Ironmonger

    Has a couple of major marks against it before you start. It’s not an “S” and it’s not a DHC.

    Like 0
    • Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

      Sorry Bruce but I don’t see where it mentions that it is an “S” or a DHC. DOHC yes, and it does state Jaguar 150’s not Jaguar 150 S.

      Like 0
  13. Capt RD

    Still for sale ?? not 4 long !!

    Like 2
  14. Mikefromthehammer

    With the top speed being quoted as 122 it goes to show you how optimistic the Brits are. The XK120, XK140 and XK150 were supposedly named after their achievable top speed.

    This car screams to me to be repainted BRG.

    Like 1
  15. tyroljag

    As with the XK engines, in all forms 31/2, 4.2, 3.8 and even the 2.8´s and the 2.5´s are great engines. But almost every engine I opened, and I opened almost every one because of funny noises, I could find the following:
    Service neglect because run on a shoestring budget
    Stupid mechanics not been able to buy a book and read it – its called Service manual. And the interesting thing is, its written in english!

    Yes, these cars have faults, but the engine done right, nicely run in and kept in fine fettle it will provide years of fun for the owner.
    Once the valves have settled, you dont touch the clearance for 30 to 40thousand miles. So dont be affraid.
    As with all the other machinery, dont forget these things are now in an age where most of you would be in an nursing home. So treat these engines right and they might please your children, ore someone else. If you own a Jag so let other people ride with you or offer them a drive. It is up to us to keep the history alive.
    regards from the Tyrol

    Like 9
    • Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

      At last, somebody that knows Jaguar engines and how to look after them. I only owned a 1950 XK 120 for a week or so back in the early sixties so never got to work on it, however, my friend was the local specialist on Jaguar engines but I have seen him work on many of them and in most cases, whatever the problem that needed repairing, was normally caused through lack of maintenance, not bad Jaguar design or manufacture. Thank you tyroljag.

      Like 3
  16. tex cloud

    car is in Houston Texas spoke with owner at Pate swap meet he was asking $35000,oo

    Like 0

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