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Lot 126

2013   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2013

1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Super Sport

SOLD $451,000

Estimate

$350,000 - $550,000

Chassis

670005

Engine

W 1011-8 Body No. 1007

Car Highlights

The Only XK120 Originally Finished in Blue Sheen
Used by Max Hof fman for Promotional Purposes
1949 Watkins Glen Grand Prix Parade Car
Matching-Numbers Example Throughout
Multiple Award-Winning 100-Point Restoration
Recipient of the Prestigious XK60 Diamond Award for Excellence
JCNA Slalom Record Holder for 1949–1961 XK120, 140, and 150
One of the Most Significant XKs in Existence

Technical Specs

3,442 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU H6 Carburetors
160 BHP at 5,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Front Suspension
Rear Semi-Elliptical Spring Suspension

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that this car is titled as a 1950.

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The First XK120 Imported Into The US

This Car

The Jaguar presented here, 670005, is an XK120 of particular distinction. Not only is it one of just 240 hand-built, alloy-bodied roadsters, it was the first XK120 imported into the US and is one of the oldest surviving examples.

Considering that the first group of XK120s includes the Jabbeke record car, the Silverstone race cars, and various press cars, it would be reasonable to assume that this earlyproduction roadster would also be destined for an exciting future.

While being constructed, the alloy bodywork was finished in the special, non-standard color of Blue Sheen – the order was so exceptional that no other XK120 left the factory in this alluring shade. When the completed car was finally dispatched on August 17, 1949, it was just the fifth left-hand-drive XK to leave the factory.

As was the case for many of the Jaguar sports cars that followed, 670005 was first delivered to the legendary Manhattan car dealer Max Hoffman. From his Frank Lloyd Wright-designed showroom on Fifth Avenue, he encouraged the great European marques to produce daring sports cars for the American market. The BMW 507, Porsche Speedster, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL may never have existed, were it not for Hoffman’s influence and steady stream of orders.

When his gleaming blue Jaguar arrived on the docks of New York in summer 1949, it quite literally signaled the introduction of the post-war sports car revolution.

Shortly after taking delivery, Hoffman made plans to attend the second annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix. At the time, Watkins Glen was the epicenter of the sports car movement in the US and the thrilling road race attracted the country’s 5 best drivers, the most exotic automobiles, hordes of eager sports car enthusiasts, and the entire motoring press. Hoffman, who never failed to seize a marketing opportunity, decided to bring two brand-new XK120s.

This would prove to be the first appearance of the XK120 at an American sports car event and the reputation of the British car preceded it. Although the new Jaguars had been featured in international motor magazines, when 670005 roared into town, it was the first example that most Americans would have actually seen. It is interesting to note that Jim Kimberly, a founding member of the SCCA, purchased the other early-production XK120 that was brought to Watkins Glen by Hoffman.

After showing the new Jaguar around town, Hoffman used his lovely blue roadster as the official parade vehicle prior to the start of the weekend’s main event. While 670005 was leading parades and being used to generate orders for new Jaguar sports cars, Kimberly’s XK120 received the Class 1 prize at the Concours d’Elegance held in conjunction with the races.

During the course of the Watkins Glen proceedings, 670005 was sold to Austin James of New York, a wealthy sportsman with an interest in high-performance automobiles. In addition to his new Jaguar, Mr. James also owned one of Frank Kurtis’ Mercury-powered Sport Roadsters.

At the inaugural Palm Beach Shores roundthe- houses road races in January 1950, James enlisted famed racing driver George Weaver to pilot his Mercury-Kurtis. In addition to its duties at Watkins Glen, it is believed that 670005 made the journey south to serve as the parade car for the race in Florida.

After several years, Mr. James decided to sell the Jaguar and it eventually caught the attention of Donald Batchelder, an Indiana resident. In 1957, the Brockman family, who lived in Ohio before moving to Florida, acquired the alloy XK and kept it for the next three decades.

It wasn’t until 1985 that Tom Wright first learned of this significant alloy-bodied Jaguar. At the time of its discovery, it was the South Florida equivalent of a barn find. Sitting under a tarp in a freight yard near downtown Fort Lauderdale was a true piece of history – America’s first Jaguar XK – very complete but in need of a sympathetic restoration.

After years of tireless research, the decision was made to return 670005 to its original splendor. Between October 2005 and June 2008, one of the foremost Jaguar specialists in the US, J.K. Restorations of Oswego, Illinois, performed a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration of this most deserving XK120. Given their reputation for conducting detailed research regarding the earliest examples and extensive experience in restoring alloy-bodied XK120s to a national concours standard, it was fitting that this relatively small restoration firm was selected for the work.

The goals of this particular restoration were to maintain the originality of 670005 to the maximum extent possible, achieve a national concours standard of perfection, and to produce a car with a great deal of reliability for international tours, rallies, and slaloms.

Beyond the major components of engine, gearbox, chassis, and body, this XK also retained a surprising number of rare, original features, many of which cannot be found on other surviving examples. Among other minute details, 670005 still featured the original ENV rear-axle assembly, brake drums, brake shoes, tall dashpot SU carburetors, five-blade fan, guide for the engine starter crank, bonnet medallion, windshield frames, spats, bonnet hinges, Girling rear shock absorbers, dashboard, gauges, and chrome-plated hardware.

In addition, the seats and boot lid inner liner were confirmed as original as they still had the body number written on them in factory chalk. Even the original distributor and the factory-delivered, special-equipment starter and dynamo feature date stamps from March and April 1949.

Fortunately, an untouched section of the original Blue Sheen paint was discovered during the disassembly process. Using this clear sample, the one-off color was faithfully duplicated and applied to the meticulously prepared aluminum bodywork. Inside, the dramatic exterior finish was complemented by the correct, duo-blue interior.

During the three-year, no-expensespared restoration, every detail of the car was addressed and great emphasis was placed on originality and authenticity throughout the entire process. For example, the original data plate and the vast majority of components were retained, the front shock absorbers were painted gray per the original Newton dampers, a correct “Cat’s Eye” cigar lighter was utilized, and the correct Dunlop Road Speed RS5 tires were outfitted with stickers as they would have been when new.

Just days after the restoration was completed, 670005 was carefully placed in a container and shipped overseas to take part in the exclusive XK60 Diamond Tour of England and Wales.

Despite having just been released from restoration, the XK successfully completed the extensive 1,500-mile tour, with stops at a number of historic locations including the home of Sir William Lyons. Eventually, 670005 was displayed in a special, historic Jaguar lineup at the legendary Goodwood Motor Circuit. There, this exceptional XK120 was presented with the XK60 Diamond Award for Excellence, a tremendous honor considering the quality and significance of other participants in the event.

While the Alloy roadster was being admired at the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club event at Cowdray Park, it caught the attention of noted marque historian Paul Skilleter. Mr. Skilleter later reported on his exciting find in Jaguar World Monthly stating that, “I also spent time examining 670005…It has all sorts of intriguing early details…A superb example of an authentically restored aluminum-bodied XK120.”

Upon its return to the US, 670005 began making the rounds on the show circuit beginning at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2009.

At the JCNA biennial Challenge Championship in San Antonio, Texas, this XK was hailed as the 2009 Concours Champion in Class C02 (Champion Class). At its next appearance, at the 2009 Jaguar Club of Florida Concours, the XK was bestowed with Best of Show and Best of Class honors, scoring a perfect 100 points. At the Suncoast Jaguar Club Concours later that year, it received yet another 100-point judgment and received First Place in the Champion Class. 670005 was judged at an average score of 99.99 points by JCNA for the 2009 concours championship season.

Not only did the Alloy present well, 670005 won the JCNA award in both 2009 and 2010 for First Place in Slalom Class B (1949–1961 XK120, 140, and 150) and, in so doing, recorded the fastest time in JCNA history, eclipsing the previous record set in 1997.

These astounding accomplishments earned this extraordinary car the 2009 Fred Horner Award for Best Overall Record in all three JCNA competitions – Concours, Slalom, and Rally – with the same car. Most recently, at the 2010 Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, this car received First Place in the Vintage Jaguar class.

In July 2010, the XK120 returned to J.K. Restorations for a cosmetic freshening and service. In early 2011, the Jaguar joined a noteworthy West Coast collection where it received regular care and a fine-tuning of the restoration by Antique Auto Restoration of Seaside, California. To date, the car remains in exceptional condition in every facet.

In addition to a spare set of correct notched brake shoes, and a tool roll with a rare, datecoded jack, this car is offered with extensive documentation regarding its provenance and the impressive restoration work.

The alloy-bodied XK120s are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after post-war sports cars of the era and rightly so. They are eligible for countless driving events, including the Mille Miglia and the Colorado Grand, as well as the most prestigious concours. In recent years, these rare Jaguars have been seen at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, and Villa d’Este. Not only are they a ticket to the best international venues, the alloy XKs successfully introduced Jaguar sports cars to the world stage and represent the purest expression of one of the all-time great automotive designs.

In the words of the respected author and Jaguar historian Philip Porter, 670005 is “a truly exceptional XK120, both with regard to its history and condition…in my opinion, it is without question one of the most important Jaguar XKs still in existence.”

For the collector who seeks only the very best, the magnificent XK120 offered here presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.