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1958 Jaguar XK150 SE Open Two Seater

  • 1958 Jaguar XK150 SE Open Two Seater
  • Matching Numbers Special Equipment model
  • Body-off Restoration in 2014 – 2016
  • Engine rebuilt in 2020
  • Supplied new to New York

This Jaguar XK 150 3.4 OTS was built on 14 July 1958 and was dispatched from the Browns Lane factory on 28 July, bound – like so many XKs before it – for Jaguar Cars New York. Chassis number S830960 was a left-hand-drive 3.4 SE OTS finished in Cream with black interior and red piping on the seats, and it was fitted with engine number V4743-8, which it retains to this day.

The XK 150’s first owner was Charles Counts, and from at least 1965 onwards it’s thought to have lived in Pennsylvania until being imported back across the Atlantic in 2013. Once it arrived in the UK, it was treated to an extensive chassis-up, body-off restoration. Southern Axle Services rebuilt the back axle, Aldridge Trimming supplied a fresh interior, and a new wiring loom was installed. The brightwork was also refinished, a stainless-steel exhaust added, and new MWS International 60-spoke chrome wire wheels were fitted.

Further work was then carried out in 2020-2021, including an engine rebuild, a new hood, the extensive application of cavity wax, and the fitment of a battery isolation switch in the glovebox. Now being offered for sale by Classic Motor Hub, this XK 150 OTS is resplendent in its red livery, while the interior retains the original colour scheme of black with red piping. It comes with an extensive history file that details its restoration and recent work, and also includes a Heritage Certificate.

The XK 150 is perhaps the most usable of all the legendary XK range, offering style and performance in a surprisingly practical package. This matching-numbers 3.4 OTS provides plenty of open-top entertainment to the accompaniment of that refined six-cylinder exhaust note, and is ready to be enjoyed by its next custodian.

Model history

Introduced in 1957, the XK 150 was the last of the revered XK line that did so much to establish the Jaguar name around the world during the 1950s.

Although it shared the basic look of the earlier XK 120 and 140, the body was heavily modified, with a straighter wing line, wider bonnet, and shallower doors to give more room inside. There was also a one-piece windscreen, and the XK 150 pioneered the road use of the disc-brake system with which Jaguar had achieved so much competition success on the C-type and D-type.

Beneath the bonnet was the 3.4-litre version of Jaguar’s now-legendary twin-cam XK straight-six. This produced 190bhp in standard specification, but the SE model upped that to 210bhp. In top-of-the-range S specification, triple SU carburettors replaced the twin-carburettor set-up and – with a straight-port cylinder head and a compression ratio of 9:1 – helped to boost power to a claimed 250bhp.

When The Autocar road-tested an XK 150 3.4 S FHC, it demonstrated the engine’s amazing flexibility by recording a 0-100mph time of 33.5 seconds using top gear alone, and such was its overall performance that the magazine stated: ‘After driving the 150 S for many miles, the driver realises that he is in a class apart from ordinary traffic.’

The XK 150 was offered in three body styles – the OTS (Roadster), the Drophead Coupé and the Fixed-Head Coupé – and most were export models. In 1958, for example, Jaguar built 1921 left-hand-drive XK 150 OTSs, compared to only 19 right-hand-drive equivalents.

In 1959, Jaguar fitted the larger 3.8-litre straight-six, for which it claimed 265bhp in S specification – and it was this engine that would be carried over into the E-type when it replaced the XK in 1961.

In either 3.4- or 3.8-litre form, the XK 150 offered a recipe that Jaguar perfected during the 1950s and 1960s – performance that only limited-run exotica could match, but at a fraction of the price. It was a fitting swansong for the XK family.

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