When the XK120 was unveiled first to the press at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane on 22nd October 1948 and days later to the wider public at the Earls Court Motor Show the praise was unanimous. The three main reasons for such a glowing reception were attributes true to this day. Its beauty, performance and price. If anyone thought it sounded too good to be true then any scepticism was despatched when Jaguar invited the press to witness a speed test in Belgium. Here a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aero screen and 135 mph with a passenger side tonneau cover in place!
Between the years of 1949 and 1953 the 120 was raced and rallied all over the world. On its debut at the 1949 hour long race at Silverstone, Leslie Johnson was victorious. This reassuring start was followed by entries in the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, Oporto Grand Prix and Le Mans. Not forgetting the Carrera Panamericana, the Alpine Rally and in coupe form on the Monte Carlo rally.
Jaguar thought mistakenly that they could probably only sell around 250 of the new cars, the total of the planned initial production run of the two seater roadster. Of the 240 aluminium bodied cars built, 184 were left hand drive and it is believed that only around 100 are believed to still exist today. This example, chassis 670163 is one of those very rare surviving examples.
Manufactured in March 1950, the final month of production before Jaguar changed the construction method to steel in order to keep up with the amount of extra orders placed. 670163 was one of only two left hand drive cars delivered new via Auto Omnia to Portugal. The first owner Signor ’Nuno Corte-Real was studying in London at the time he saw it on the stand at the ’48 Motor Show and managed to get himself onto the order list.
Having spent most of its life in the dry surroundings of Portugal, 670163 was brought back to the UK by the present owner several years ago. He entrusted early on the services of the renowned Jaguar specialists CMC Restorations who carried out an incredible restoration. Great care and attention to detail was taken across the whole car with no expense spared. It is currently fitted with a very comfortable pair of period bucket type seats though the original re-trimmed seats accompany the car as well. Finished in the original livery of Pastel blue the result is quite stunning and shows just how ‘right’ they got it back in the day. An ideal and eligible entrant for a whole host of rallies such as the Mille Miglia, 6701163 still has an abundance of beauty and performance, good value too!