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February 8th 2018

Five reasons why Jaguar’s XK is worth celebrating

Why all the fuss about the Jaguar XK120’s 70th birthday?

 

The simple answer is that the seductively swoopy XK120 still turns heads, still wins hearts, and still makes people smile. But there’s more. After making a splash on its debut at the London Motor Show in 1948, for decades afterwards the XK120 and the XK engine continued to send ripples far and wide. Here are five good reasons why.

 

1) The XK symbolised national pride  

Britain was still on its knees in 1948, struggling to rebuild infrastructure and industry in the aftermath of the Second World War. The nation needed foreign revenue so badly that a slogan of the time warned businesses they should “export or die.” In this shattered grey world the XK120 arrived shining as brightly as a zillion-watt rainbow. Dazzled admirers lusted after the Jaguar on both sides of the Atlantic, exports accounted for the majority of sales, and dollars flowed into British coffers.

 

2) The XK made accountants look like film stars  

Great performance and great looks were complemented by great value. The XK120 carried a price-tag at launch of just £998 (equivalent to about £36,000 today). To match the Jaguar’s pace and style required something as exotic as a Ferrari at three times the price. So while film stars Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart dashed around in XKs, upper-middle-class professionals could do so too.

 

3) The XK gave speed addicts a big fix

The XK120 had the most powerful production engine you could buy. Oozing 160 horsepower, its 3.4-litre twin-cam straight-six made this the fastest production car in the world - able, as its name affirmed, to reach 120 mph, but capable also of even greater speeds. In 1949, on a closed section of Belgian autoroute, an XK120 roadster zinged through the flying mile at 132.596 mph. In 1950, at the Autodrome de Montlhéry in France, an XK120 roadster whistled around the steeply banked oval track for 24 hours at an average of 107.46 mph. In 1951, also at Montlhéry, an XK120 roadster ate-up 131.83 miles of track in an hour. And in 1952, at Montlhéry once again, an XK120 fixed head coupe averaged 100.31 mph - unbelievable though this seemed - for seven consecutive days and nights. An entire and entirely fantastic week of speed!

 

4) The XK won competitions it wasn’t meant to

The XK120 was conceived as a long-legged touring car without any serious forethought given to a competition career. Yet this model distinguished itself as a winner in racing and rallying. Most notably, Stirling Moss led an XK120 1-2-3 in the 1950 Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, and Al Keller’s victory in a 1954 NASCAR road race at Linden Airport, New Jersey, caused such an upset among American automakers that foreign cars were subsequently banned from the series. Out on the stages, Ian Appleyard and his wife Pat (daughter of Jaguar co-founder and chief William Lyons) triumphed in the Tulip Rally and twice won the six-day Alpine Rally, a gruelling and perilous event which traversed many of central Europe’s highest mountain passes.

 

5) The XK’s magical powers lasted for 38 years

The XK120, it turned out, was just the start of the XK story. The XK engine, a standard-setter at the outset and gradually improved over time, powered Jaguar’s legendary C-types, D-types, and E-types, and was the beating heart of five 1950s Le Mans winners. The XK also propelled Mk 2 saloons, XJ6 saloons, and . . . and, well, most Jaguar models right up until 1986. The XK had given a much-needed morale boost to post-war British industry, put Jaguar on the international map and, for nearly four decades, kept it there.

 

By Phillip Bingham

 

 

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XK70 Jaguar Festival logo

Saturday 9 - Sunday 10, June 2018

9.00am - 5.00pm

Visit the International Jaguar XK Club website
Jaguar E-type Club logo
Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
International Jaguar XK Club logo
Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.
XK70 Jaguar Festival logo
Visit the International Jaguar XK Club website
Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page

Saturday 9 - Sunday 10, June 2018

9.00am - 5.00pm

Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
Jaguar E-type Club logo International Jaguar XK Club logo

Visit the Jaguar E-type Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the E-type Club Youtube Channel Visit the E-type Club Twitter page
Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.

Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page

Prostate Cancer UK Facebook Prostate Cancer UK Youtube Channel Prostate Cancer UK Twitter page
International Jaguar XK Club logo
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Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel
International Jaguar XK Club logo
Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page
Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
Jaguar E-type Club logo Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.
Visit the Jaguar E-type Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the E-type Club Youtube Channel Visit the E-type Club Twitter page Prostate Cancer UK Facebook Prostate Cancer UK Youtube Channel Prostate Cancer UK Twitter page

 Copyright 2017 Porter & Porter Ltd

Terms & Conditions Cookie Policy   |  Privacy Policy

Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page
Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
Jaguar E-type Club logo International Jaguar XK Club logo

Visit the Jaguar E-type Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the E-type Club Youtube Channel Visit the E-type Club Twitter page Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page
Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.

Prostate Cancer UK Facebook Prostate Cancer UK Youtube Channel Prostate Cancer UK Twitter page

 Copyright 2017 Porter & Porter Ltd

 

Terms & Conditions  |  Cookie Policy   |  Privacy Policy

Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page
Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
International Jaguar XK Club logo

Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel
Jaguar E-type Club logo

Visit the Jaguar E-type Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the E-type Club Youtube Channel Visit the E-type Club Twitter page
Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.

 Copyright 2017 Porter & Porter Ltd

 

Terms & Conditions

Cookie Policy

Privacy Policy

XK70 Jaguar Festival logo
Celebrating 70 Years of the Jaguar XK & XK engines.
International Jaguar XK Club logo

Visit the XK Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the XK Club Youtube channel Click here to visit the XK Club Twitter page
Jaguar E-type Club logo

Visit the Jaguar E-type Club RBCD Facebook page Visit the E-type Club Youtube Channel Visit the E-type Club Twitter page
Visit the Prostate Cancer UK website by clicking here.

Prostate Cancer UK Facebook Prostate Cancer UK Youtube Channel Prostate Cancer UK Twitter page

 Copyright 2017 Porter & Porter Ltd

 

Terms & Conditions

Cookie Policy

Privacy Policy