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Sir William Lyons’ inspired design of the XK120 represents the initial spark that led to the marque’s legendary success in the sports car racing world throughout the 1950s. A highly capable sports car in its own right, enthusiasts have for decades modified XK120s to varying degrees in order to enhance their performance at speed.
According to a written account from the consignor on file, this XK120 was purchased new in 1950 by Sandy Schlieper of York, Pennsylvania. Always an avid car enthusiast, Mr. Schlieper still owned his prized Jaguar when he retired some 35 years later. He then set about converting it to a more competition-ready specification, in homage to the privateer XK120s that raced at Le Mans in the early 1950s. Adding a fuel cell and fire system for safety, Mr. Schlieper entered an event at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin, and unfortunately quickly realized that driving on the limit was simply not for him.
In more recent years, the XK120 made its way to a collector in Southern California who had plans to compete with it at the Goodwood Revival, but sold it before those plans came to fruition in favor of a modern F1 car. Joining the consignor’s collection in late 2006, the Jaguar received further enhancements, including a close-ratio Tremec five-speed gearbox and a front disc-brake setup. An auxiliary fan and oil cooler have been fitted as well. The XK120’s lightweight competition-style seats are comfortable for both driver and passenger, offering increased legroom. The Plexiglas windscreen, Raydyot-style mirrors, and streamlined head faring contribute a sporting flair to its sleek, bumperless body. The three 40 mm Weber sidedraft carburetors and competition-style exhaust combine for an intoxicating sound.
Whether intended for spirited road outings, or prepared once again for the track by its next owner, this competition-focused XK120 is a superb reminder of a golden time in the history of sports car racing.