The Jaguar XK120 holds special significance for the British luxury brand, as it was its first post-WW2 sports car.
Though not extremely rare (more than 12,000 of them were made in coupe and roadster body styles), it’s always a special occasion to see an XK120 brought back to its former glory — especially when the work is performed by Jaguar Classic.
The company’s vintage car division recently completed a bespoke XK120 sports car restoration for British male model and Jaguar enthusiast David Gandy. The project took 2,700 hours to complete over the course of 11 months.
The owner wanted the car to be race-ready for classic motorsport events, such as the Jaguar Classic Challenge, so the specification is inspired by the original XK120 Lightweight. Jaguar found a suitable 1954 base car in California, U.S., shipped it to its facility in Warwickshire and started working on it with the goal of retaining as much of the original car as possible.
Jaguar Classic specialists painstakingly rebuilt the 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder over five and a half months and applied a performance upgrade, taking it from 180 hp to 225 hp. Additionally, they modified it to withstand higher speeds by adding steel bracing to the core plugs so they won’t dislodge during high-performance driving. Another upgrade is a new exhaust system with dual pipes instead of the usual single pipe.
Performance modifications also include a new, faster-shifting racing-style gearbox, uprated brakes with discs and four-pot calipers at the front (the rear retains the original, refurbished drum brakes) and fully adjustable dampers.
As for the car’s looks, the owner went for a solid black exterior that required 13 liters and four coats of paint and a racing-inspired flip-top fuel cap. He also opted to replace the original split-screen windshield with twin aero screens.
The classic open-top Jag welcomes passengers with an Aged Saddle tan leather interior and seats in a bespoke lattice design with the seat backs in aluminum rather than the original fabric material. The car also features a smaller than normal (15-inch) steering wheel and no battery behind the driver’s made-to-measure seat to free up space for the owner who is 6ft 2in (1.88 m) tall.