Launched in Roadster form at the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine, the eruption was such that Jaguar founder and design head, William Lyons, put the XK120 into production. The "120" in its name referred to its 120mph top speed which made the XK120 the world's fastest standard production car at the time of its launch. Success in motor racing secured the cars future and an icon was born. Development continued through the 120 with the introduction of the Special Equipment, or SE, in 1951 which boasted an extra 20bhp, meaning the fastest production car of the time now delivered 180bhp, and some handy styling cues to boot. Today, Jaguar XKs, and particularly 120s, remain well sought-after and highly desirable models.
This XK120 was despatched from the Jaguar factory in December 1949, finished in Silver with a Red interior. It was destined for South East Asia and was prepared at the factory with modifications to enable it to operate at an air temperature of 84 degrees and high humidity. Consequently, it had very high lift cams, a low compression ratio and no thermostat fitted. These features were crucial to the cars notable success in the world famous Johore Grand Prix. This is an incredibly rare example, being the 25th of only 58 RHD Aluminium XK120 Roadsters built. Upon arrival in Malaya, it was delivered to Brinkman's, who at the time were the Jaguar main agents in Singapore. In the 1950's, the car was purchased by the Ferguson brothers, who were successful rubber planters in Singapore.
The car competed in the illustrious 1950 Johore Grand Prix, where it finished in a credible second place behind a supercharged MG TC. In addition, it won the Unlimited Sports and Touring Class of the Lorney Mile Sprint in Kuala Lumpur and again came first in class at the Malacca Hill Climb Event. In 1951, the car again finished 3rd in the Johore Grand Prix, competing for the second year running. That particular event was extremely significant and was attended by approximately 50,000 spectators; the largest crowd seen at any sporting event in Malaysia. It was noted that the car won everything in Malaya and was admired as one of the fastest sprint cars in the Far East at the time. Colonel T.H Trevor acquired the car from Penang (Malaysia) and returned it to the UK via Hong Kong and the Cape of Good Hope and immediately drove it to the South of France. The car was then taken to Portugal, where Col. Trevor used it whilst he was a Nato advisor in the Portuguese Army. It returned to the UK in 1960 and ownership transferred to Col. Carew-Jones. In the late 1960s the car passed into the hands of Mr G.R.C.A. Harvey, who used the car on a regular basis and competed in several Hill Climbs and Sprints, including the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy.
The current owner acquired the car in the early 1990s and it was completely restored during 1993/1994 by DK Engineering. During the restoration, an outside fuel filler cap was fitted of the type used on the Works Le Mans cars. Currently, the car is finished in the traditional colour of British Racing Green, accompanied by a Suede Green leather interior. The car is fitted with a 3.8 Litre engine, C-Type cylinder head and 2" carburettors, mated to the original gearbox. The complete and correct original engine accompanies the car and has been fully overhauled. The history file that comes with the car is both fascinating and detailed, with numerous letters from Jaguar, the original Buff Log Book, period racing photographs and a magazine article featuring the car from 1979. This presents a very exciting and incredibly rare opportunity to acquire a genuine aluminium-bodied XK120 with an illustrious competition history. Having travelled to Asia and back in its life, amassing a great pedigree in the process, this XK120 is a truly special car and forms a significant part of Jaguar's early competition history. Cars such as this do not come around often and DK Engineering are delighted to be able to offer this iconic motorcar for sale.