From the moment it made its world debut at the 1948 London Motor Show, the Jaguar XK120 redefined what a proper sporting automobile could be both in Britain and throughout the world. It also represented a major step into the future both for Jaguar and its boss, Sir William Lyons, as the Coventry marque hadn’t built a proper sporting machine since the SS100 ceased production in 1940. Grainy, black-and-white photographs of early road racing both here and abroad depict hordes of amateur racing drivers horsing their XKs for all they’re worth.
Jaguar is a very different car company today, even making forays into electric propulsion, but never lket it be suggested that Coventry’s forgotten its roots. At its headquarters in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Great Britain, Jaguar Classic experts have built and modified the car above for the British male model David Gandy, a noted Jaguar enthusiast, who wanted Jaguar to build him a “new” XK120 that would be a little more than the original. As raw material, Jaguar Classic selected an original 1954 XK120, from the final production year of that particular model. While an original California car, this XK120 was intended from the start for vintage motorsport, and took its inspiration from the original XK120 Lightweight of 1949.
Besides reduced weight, the Jaguar benefitted from a 5 1/2-month rebuild and massaging of its landmark twincam straight-six that saw its output boosted from 180hp to 225, from the as-built 3.4 liters of cylinder displacement. The revived engine was coupled to a race-spec close-ratio gearbox. Four-piston disc brakes stop the front wheels, while the car retains its original drums at the rear. The redone interior saw its seatbacks finished in raw aluminum, while twin aero windscreens were fitted, both in keeping with the Lightweight theme.