Jaguar XK120 OTS

Re­fresh­ingly in­ex­pen­sive, this road­ster may be an un­usual, non-orig­i­nal colour but it drives beau­ti­fully, says Paul Hardi­man

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This charm­ing road­ster was supplied new to the US via Max Hoff­man in New York, but has spent the last decade in the south of France. After leav­ing its first owner in Toledo, Ohio, it spent 40 years in Michi­gan and was even­tu­ally re­stored in 2006 for the pre­vi­ous owner by Pis­cazzi Auto Body in Akron, Ohio. The orig­i­nal pas­tel green gave way to a fan­tas­tic pe­riod Ford Poly­ne­sian Bronze.

The paint is still very good – with just a few mi­nor stonechips up front and a lit­tle light rub­bing un­der the bon­net strap – over a very straight body. The door fit is above-av­er­age for an XK – they both close eas­ily and the pas­sen­ger’s side is spot-on for gaps and align­ment, the driver’s only slightly out of step at the bot­tom. The spats fit well and the chrome is ex­cel­lent on the bumpers and grille, and good on the head­light rims. The rear light plinths are smooth and un­cor­roded so they could be re­pros. Well-treaded tyres (185s) look like Dun­lop SPS but turn out to be Mex­i­can­made Uni­ver­sal copies, new at the time of restora­tion, with a match­ing spare. The MV Agusta sticker on the bootlid is a mys­tery.

In­side, the leather was re­newed in the orig­i­nal suede green and is still per­fect to the dash and door cards, just set­tling in nicely on the seat. Carpets are un­worn and the vinyl boot trim is all good. The sidescreens are orig­i­nal but ser­vice­able and still in their orig­i­nal bag, and the hood is said to be new (though we didn’t see it for our­selves) plus the ton­neau cover is suede green to match the leather. There are seat belts hid­den be­hind the seat backs.

The chas­sis is straight and solid and the stain­less ex­haust is still in good shape. The mo­tor is tidy, with well-pol­ished car­bu­ret­tors and cam cover, and the only leak ap­pears to be at the block union of the oil gauge pipe, which is com­mon. Oil is clean­ish and just over the min­i­mum mark, coolant full and green. It wears an elec­tric fan but the rest is re­fresh­ingly stan­dard, from air fil­ters to dy­namo, and the ex­haust man­i­folds’ re-enam­elling hasn’t cracked yet, sug­gest­ing it’s done rel­a­tively few miles since restora­tion – the mileome­ter cur­rently reads 95,550. Early in 2017 a new alu­minium fuel tank was fit­ted in France.

The twin-cam six fires in­stantly on the but­ton, steer­ing is fluid and light­ish, and the gearchange is sweet for a Moss box with easy changes both up and down to sec­ond. The whole plot ex­udes a gen­eral litheness that’s of­ten lack­ing from a tired XK. It goes well, with a lovely fruity war­ble from the ex­haust and the brakes pull up straight. This is a car that lends con­fi­dence, bol­stered by a healthy oil pres­sure of 55psi on the move. The tem­per­a­ture gauge works – though we didn’t get the engine prop­erly hot – but the rev-counter doesn’t.

It comes with a huge file of mostly old bills dat­ing back to 1972, plus restora­tion pho­tos, and is be­ing Uk-reg­is­tered.

Ford paint colour works so well it could be a fac­tory hue; body is ex­cep­tion­ally straight

Leather re­cently re­freshed and in orig­i­nal shade

Six-cylin­der engine per­forms well

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