William Lyons wanted a brand new sportscar to take on the competition, and the car that the design team at Jaguar's Browns Lane plant came up with was the legendary XK120 sportscar of 1948, so-named for its advertised maximum speed of 120mph. Power came courtesy of a new 6 cylinder powerplant that would go on to be used in many different Jaguars in years to come, the alloy-headed twin cam XK. Twin overhead camshafts featured; the capacity of the new engine was 3442cc. Quoted power for the XK120 was 160bhp at 5000rpm, power being transmitted to the rear axle via a 4 speed manual gearbox. The chassis was derived from the new Mk5 saloon, shortened to suit the XK's alloy bodywork (changed in 1950 to mild steel). |
The new XK roadster was presented to a public still recovering from the war, at the 1948 motor show, and wowed the crowds like nothing else. Lyons envisaged the 120 roadster to be a stop-gap model until a proper sporting car could be created. However interest from day one was so great, that he realised he might just be onto something with the XK120 as it was. In 1951 my favourite XK of all, the fixed head XK120 (fhc), was introduced, with a drophead (dhc) joining the party in 1953. Production of the XK120 would continue until 1955, by which time the XK140 was ready to take over (itself a revised and reworked version of the earlier car).
A full website featuring the Jaguar XK120 in its various guises will feature at this address in due course!