A car-starved Britain glimpsed the future at the 1948 London Motor Show in the lithe form of the Jaguar Super Sports. It was sensational to look at and sensationally fast too; in production form as the Jaguar XK120, it would soon be proven that 120 really did stand for 120 MPH, making it quite simply the fastest production car in the world. As for the XK, that stands for the famed 6-cylinder twin-overhead-cam XK engine, which debuted in the XK120 and endured until 1986.It has been said that for many on hand for the 1948 London Motor Show were simply flabbergasted by the new Jaguar XK 120 that combined jaw-dropping beauty and promised astonishing performance in equal parts. Although the swooping and curvaceous styling—strongly influenced by Jaguar boss William Lyons—showed influences of the prewar BMW 328, it was still fresh and exciting.
The alloy bodywork clothed a sturdy chassis, which mated torsion bar independent front suspension to a live rear axle on leaf springs. It wasn’t revolutionary, but it was up to date, complete with large hydraulic drum brakes at all four corners. What was revolutionary, was the inline double-overhead-camshaft six cylinder engine displacing 3.4 liters and rated at 160 bhp. All that power was channeled aft via a four-speed manual gearbox. Said to be capable of 120mph, the XK 120 moniker was logical. For the day, the new Jaguar was extremely quick, capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds.
Priced at $3,940 in the United States, performance was on a par with much more exotic machines costing twice as much. In addition to that undeniably gorgeous coachwork, the Jaguar was opulently trimmed with fine leather and carpet. Weather equipment wasn’t so fine, including a folding convertible top that kept out some of the elements when mated to removable side curtains that stowed when not in use. Standard equipment included steel-wheels with chrome and body color hubcaps and full rear wheel spats that only enhanced the XK 120 Jag’s stunning good looks. Wire wheels were one of the relatively few options.
Originally intended as a limited-production model to raise interest in a new series of sedans powered by the same XK six-cylinder engine, orders for the Jaguar XK 120 immediately exceeded production capacity. The decision was quickly made to replace the alloy over ash body with an all-steel body sharing the same seductive shape, a change that was implemented after the first 240 cars left Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory.
- 4 Speed Manual Transmission
- Double Side Draft SU Carburetors
- Factory Jaguar Tools and Jack
- Folding Soft Top
- Knock Off Wire Wheels
- Original Operator Manual
- Wide White Wall Tires