Legendary Sports Cars


1951 Jaguar XK-120 Alloy Roadster



Sold for $133,335 on September 16, 2014

Bonhams Auction
Goodwood Revival

In 1951 William Lyons gave instructions for the creation of three very special XK120s to be raced at Le Mans. He was doubtful the completely new C-Type Jaguar would be ready in time, hence these as an insurance policy. The cars had lightweight alloy bodies and a subtly altered shape: outer sills and cut-down doors, one piece rear, cut-in bonnet, aero screens, etc. Numbered 'LT1', 'LT2' and 'LT3', they never raced at Le Mans as the C-Types were ready in time. Charles Hornburg, the US Jaguar importer for the USA's West Coast, spotted two of the cars at Browns Lane, bought them and shipped them to the USA where Phil Hill drove one in its first race in August 1951 to 3rd place overall and a class win.

Chassis number '671751' was manufactured on 31st October 1951 as a left-hand drive export model and dispatched to Hornburg in Beverly Hills, California. The car was re-imported from Alabama, USA in September 1989 and treated to a long-term restoration, which was only completed in 2011. Original parts needed for the rebuild were painstakingly collected over 15 years. The chassis was rebuilt by John Wood of Bridport before the decision was taken to build an exact replica of the alloy-bodied 'LT' Le Mans cars. Aubrey Finburgh of Classic Autos, Kings Langley faithfully recreated the one-piece aluminium body, which was mounted on a tubular steel 'birdcage' inner frame. The XK120 was then taken to Steve Grimsley of Phoenix Car Restoration - a many times winner of Jaguar XK concours awards - where no expense was spared to build the perfect car, a process that would take the next ten years. Noteworthy features include a newly rebuilt 'C' type engine, cast SU carburettors, overhauled running gear, rewired electrics, front brake air scoops, rebuilt original instruments, new Avon Roadspeed tyres, etc, etc.