Special Equipment: 1955 Jaguar XK140 MC OTS

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Reviewing derelict early XKs for Barn Finds reveals one consistency: you can find one of these projects in almost any configuration you want – complete/not complete; running/not running; rusty/not rusty; 120/140/150; matching numbers/or not. Maybe you can’t find one every Thursday, but certainly, we’ve seen a steady flow of these big cats awaiting restoration – at least one every month. Here’s a springtime offering, on craigslist, a 1955 Jaguar XK140 special equipment (“MC” in the US, for Modified C-Type head, more on this below) open two-seater, with an asking price of $45,000. Tow this one home from San Luis Obispo, California.  The seller writes an entertaining and informative ad, describing his father’s passion for this car, purchased in 1972, driven once, and then disassembled for a restoration that never happened, to the chagrin of his mother. The car was alternately stored inside, then outside but covered. It has only modest surface rust and no collision damage. Thanks to Brian Earley for this great tip!

The seller indicates that the car has a matching numbers motor, belonging to the cavity above, which was removed and disassembled in 1978. The C-type head (painted red from the factory) helps boost horsepower to 210 for the 3442 cc DOHC six-cylinder. Twin SU carburetors and a dual exhaust complete the package. The transmission is a four-speed manual-  alas, no overdrive on this example. Still, the XK140 in high-performance trim could reach a top speed of 125 mph, and the sprint to 60 took less than nine seconds.

The interior is as barren as the rest of the car – for the moment. But the seller has shelved and organized all its parts and believes the car is complete or “99% so”. Somewhere in the pile should be seat frames to recover in leather and the dash with its gauges centered symmetrically on either side of the rearview mirror (makes it easier to manufacture right- and left-hand drive cars by simply changing the position of the steering wheel). The edge of the black four-spoke steering wheel is just visible at the lower right. The convertible top tucks below the bodywork when it’s down – unlike the drophead coupe, with its more elaborately constructed top; this car should have side curtains as well.

Originally Pearl Grey, the car received a partial slap-dash red paint job decades ago. The pink slip from its last registration in 1972 is missing, and the car has dropped out of California DMV; the seller may still find the registration but for now, paperwork will be a challenge. Scanning the offerings on the market shows that finished cars can sell in excess of $100k, while project cars are priced right around this one’s ask. Anyone up for this reassembly project?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    I love old cars. I love old Jaguars, as the first sports car I ever drove was an XK 120. I don’t love them 45K worth of parts.

    Like 14
  2. Dave

    My brother had one of these decades ago. All it really needed was brakes and paint. I hope he doesn’t see this asking price, there’ll be no consoling him.

    Like 5
  3. KurtMember

    Um, no. One too many zeroes.

    Like 5
  4. Frank

    My buddies dad had three of these, a parts car, a nice unmolested one and a Chevrolet 348 tripower four speed equipped one. That one was very fast and sounded great

    Like 1
  5. gippy

    45K gets you a running project, I think 20-25 would be reasonable if all the parts are there. Matching numbers helps a lot.

    Like 3
    • Brakeservo

      Being on San Luis Obispo we know a well known shop has already rejected it at that price. ‘Nuff said . . .

      Like 2
  6. Rob Jay

    The cost and complexity of restoring a British car is not something to be taken lightly. As most said this price is on the high side, something in the 20’s makes more sense.

    Like 4
  7. Frenchy Dampierb

    I owned a twin to this in The Late 1960’s. The sound of that big Jaguar six going down the Silver Strand to North Island Naval air base at night at full throttle is a fond memory I’ll never get over.
    At its asking price it’s a little steep because it’s going to take every bit of the next $45,000 to buy parts that need replacing, engine work, transmission work etc., chrome that needs replacing. Paint and body work,
    It’s simple straight forward work and the car in question is worth doing. But there is no meat on the bone. Nothing left for the estimated 2000 manhours plus it will take to do a job worthy of the car.
    Then the fight to get a clear tittle? Although I still have the tittle to mine. It was stolen from me right after I had the upholstery done in Tijuana.

    Like 1
  8. NPDionMember

    I had a `56 XK140MC. Bought it out of Simsbury, CT in `67 for $200. It ran, but it burned almost as much oil as it did gas and the exterior was painted in sort of BRG, but it looked like it had been painted with a brush. Pulled the head and had it rebuilt by a guy in Hartford (cost me $160 as I recall) and I drove it to UCONN most of my senior year then the electrical problems started and I parked it with the intention of getting back to it “someday”. New job, met my wife, bought a house – the car sat – a guy offered me $1200 for it and I sold it around 1973. To this day it is the only car that my wife ever told me not to sell (and I’ve had lots and lots of them since then) and I hear about it every time we see one at a car show.

    Like 4
  9. Bill Cawley

    I love you wife, and any other women who understands collecting

    Like 1
    • jwaltb

      Like Michelle!

      Like 1
  10. George Birth

    $45K for a car missing motor, trans. and numerous other parts? I don’t think so!! To me this one as is would be worth$140.00.

    Like 1

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