1955 Jaguar XK140 FHC
One of only 738 UK market cars; original engine and Moss 'box; later B-type head and twin 2" HD8 SU carbs; sold new in Malvern; useful upgrades including MkIX front disc brakes and Koni shocks; wonderful patina
Launched at the 1954 London Motor Show as the successor to the sensational XK120 which had appeared in 1948, the XK140 was broadly similar to the outgoing model but considerably more refined with a host of mechanical improvements.
Under the bonnet the XK140 retained Jaguar's well-proven 3.4-litre twin-cam six, which now produced 190bhp in standard trim thanks to higher-lift camshafts and revised porting – up 30bhp from the standard XK120 and now capable of 140mph (hence the name). A close-ratio gearbox enabled better use to be made of the increased performance, as did stiffer torsion bars on the front suspension and new telescopic shock absorbers to the rear. Steering was also improved with the adoption of the rack-and-pinion set up from the Le Mans-winning C-Type racer.
The luxuriously trimmed cabin was also notably roomier as the engine and bulkhead were now three inches further forward, a modification which also improved weight distribution and handling. External changes were limited to a wider radiator grille, rear lights incorporating flashing indicators, and larger bumpers front and rear.
Three body styles were offered, fixed-head, roadster and drop-head. A total of 8,956 XK140s were made before it was replaced by the larger XK150 in 1957, of which just 738 were home market right-hand drive fixed-head coupes.
This particular XK140 is one of those 738 machines and was supplied new via Rothwell & Milbourne of Malvern in July 1955. The first owner was Richard Bright of Leominster, a family of Butchers who are still in the town today - the logbook suggests it has only had four further owners since.
According to the Heritage Certificate on file, the car was originally finished in Suede Green with matching Suede Green interior. This original home market XK140 Fixed Head Coupe is an increasingly rare example of the unmolested, unrestored Jaguar XK, still sporting its original Herefordshire number plate ‘MVJ 915’. Finished in BRG with a Suede Green interior, it still wears its original steel wheels with removable spats.
It has its original engine block, (G3938-8) with a later B-Type head and two 2-inch HD8 SU carburettors, making it the equivalent of an SE engine fitted with the C-Type head. The steel wheels at the front hide uprated disc brakes lifted from a Mk IX Jaguar while the handling has been improved by fitment Koni shock absorbers all round – useful upgrades in an increasingly fast-paced and busy driving world.
Purchased by our vendor in 2016, it was supplied to him by Pendine who noted that it drove ‘very well with excellent door shuts’ – this still very much being the case. The paint is old, but very appealing in its patinated, slightly shabby appearance, it is all the more likeable and honest as a result; the kind of lovely XK that was common 20 years ago, most having since been sacrificed to the God of Restoration.
It is thought to have some sprint and hill climb history, the vendor showing us a shot of the car racing in period (photo-copy included in the file) During our vendor’s tenure, he has given it regular, gentle exercise and also had the radiator re-cored in 2019, a stainless exhaust fitted and new clutch kit installed in 2016 with skimmed flywheel.
The history file also includes the V5C, copy old V5C, 2 old style V5’s, Buff continuation log book, 9 old MOTs dating back to 1987 at 84,893 miles (currently showing 91,732 which could be entirely accurate), aforementioned Heritage Certificate and correspondence from previous specialist dealer owners (who are no doubt reading this, recognising the car as two of them are regular clients!). There are invoices for works undertaken in early 2016 including £800 spent on recommissioning works, £726 spent on supply and fitment of the stainless exhaust system and few other invoices for recent parts purchase plus historic invoices dating back to 1992 for parts and works undertaken. The file also includes leather samples and info, a period road test and note from the vendor advising the new owner a battery isolator switch has been fitted and location of the automatic choke switch.
It’s hard to find Jaguars of any kind like this anymore. Use it as it is and upset the chap in the blazer on the concours lawn!
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