The Jaguar XK120 reaches another milestone in 2023 as it will be 75 years since the very first was produced in 1948.
This iconic British sports car was produced by Jaguar between 1948 and 1954, with a total of 12,055 being manufactured. It was also the first sports car made by Jaguar after production ended on the SS 100 in 1939.
The XK120 has become a very desirable car with some high prices being recorded. Back in 2016, Bonhams sold a matching numbers left-hand-drive alloy-bodied roadster for $396,000, a record price for an XK120 at auction, this particular vehicle also being just one of 184 made.
The XK120 was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show as an open two-seater, with the car on display being the prototype. The car caused a sensation and went into production soon after.
The first 242 cars produced had wooden frames with aluminium panels but in early 1950 production changed to the heavier all-steel version. The "120" in the car's name refers to the top speed it reached with an aluminium body, 120 mph, making it the world's fastest production car at the time.
The very first production car, chassis number 670003, was delivered to the actor Clark Cable in 1949. Other famous owners have included Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart.
The XK120 went on to be manufactured in three versions. First, the open two-seater (or roadster), then as a fixed head coupe (FHC) and finally, from 1953, as a drophead coupe (DHC). All were two-seaters and were made available as both left-hand and right-hand drives.
In the early years of its production, the XK120 set numerous speed and distance records on both the open road and track and would also become very successful in racing and rallying.
The technology and engineering of the XK120 helped it become the world's fastest car and its aerodynamic design meant it achieved top speeds that were unparalleled at the time, resulting in the car going down in history as a true classic.