- 1954 Jaguar XK140 Open Two Seater
- Built in November 1954
- The 3rd of 73 RHD OTS’
- In Current Ownership Since 1969
- Fresh from a nut-and-bolt restoration in its original colours
This Jaguar XK 140 Roadster has just emerged from a painstaking restoration and is beautifully presented in its original colour combination of Birch Grey with red interior.
Chassis number 800003 was completed on 26 November 1954 and was the third right-hand-drive XK 140 Roadster to be built. This variant was by far the most rare of all the XK 140s, with only 73 being built between 1954 and 1956. In contrast, 480 Drophead Coupés and 839 Fixed-Head Coupés left the Browns Lane factory in right-hand-drive configuration.
The XK 140 was dispatched on 15 December 1954 and supplied via Henlys London to the Halls dealership in Finchley, on the northern outskirts of the capital. The car’s original registration number of 505 EHX – which it still wears almost 70 years later – was issued in Middlesex.
Little is known of the XK 140’s early history, but it was acquired by the current owner in 1969. He then stored it for several decades until it was in need of a total restoration. This has been carried out over the past three years, with the Jaguar being returned to its former glory.
The bodywork was entrusted to Lee Thompson at ML Classics Ltd in Warwickshire and the car was then taken to T&T, which is based near Nuneaton, so that it could be resprayed in Birch Grey.
Hamptons Coach Trimming took care of the interior, which is superbly finished in red, and Classic Engineering Works did the engine machining work that was required. Photographs show that, at some point before the XK 140 had gone into storage, it had been fitted with a triple-carburettor set-up, but it is now running on the correct twin SUs.
Now at The Classic Motor Hub and offered for sale for the first time in more than 50 years, this Jaguar XK 140 Roadster is a very rare and extremely early right-hand-drive example. It retains its matching-numbers engine and is presented in original specification, down to its steel wheels and rear spats, with a wealth of receipts and photographs documenting its rebuild.
Introduced in 1954 as the replacement for the XK 120, the Jaguar XK 140 retained the outline of its famous predecessor while adding various refinements and updates. It holds a coveted place in the affections of marque cognoscenti, with many arguing that it’s the best of all the XKs thanks to its blend of 120 style and 150 practicality.
Among the external changes was a revised radiator grille with fewer vertical slats, plus more substantial bumpers. The engine was moved forwards and the interior was redesigned in order to give occupants a little extra room, but the two-piece windscreen remained. Mechanical revisions included telescopic dampers in place of lever-arm units, plus rack-and-pinion steering instead of the old recirculating ball set-up.
Beneath the bonnet was the same 3.4-litre engine found in the XK 120, but in a heightened state of tune. The standard XK 140 produced 190bhp, while the SE model gained a cylinder head to C-type specification and was good for 210bhp. The latter was designated XK 140 MC in North America, and it was to this vital market that most XK 140s were exported.
When Karl Ludvigsen tested an XK 140 in the US for Sports Car Illustrated, he concluded: ‘This latest revision of a time-tested machine is notably improved in the handling and braking departments, and this, together with its smooth and surging power, make it a delight to drive at high speeds over long distances on fast, winding roads.’
The same three body styles were offered as on the XK 120 – Roadster, Drophead Coupé and Fixed-Head Coupé – with production being split roughly equally between them. In total, 8937 XK 140s were built before it was replaced by the XK 150 in 1957.
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