Jaguar XK120 OTS
Refreshingly inexpensive, this roadster may be an unusual, non-original colour but it drives beautifully, says Paul Hardiman
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