||The XK100 never existed as a production model, but there had
been plans to produce it, and it was to have been powered by a 2 litre 4 cylinder
engine which had been developed as part of the engine development program that had taken
place in the war years. Apart from the engine, the car itself was to have been much the
same as the XK120. It was never produced because the cost would have been almost the
same as the XK120 due to the fact that initially the cars were largely handbuilt and this
accounted for the largest percentage of the total cost. .
The XK120 itself was almost
certainly never intended to be a volume production model either. At that time Jaguar had
an engine - the newly developed 6 cylinder XK unit, but the large sedan for which it was
intended was not ready. This car, the MK VII finally
appeared in 1950. In the meantime Jaguar badly needed to stir up some excitement, as its
range was still of pre-war design, so the XK Open Two Seater Super Sports as it was then
known was designed as a "show car" for the 1948 Motor Show. It utilized a
shortened version of the chassis designed for the MK VII,
which was already in use in the post war MK V, and the
brand new XK engine, the result of all the research done during the war, while Jaguar
could not produce any cars. It made extensive use of aluminum for the body panels, and
William Lyons had plans to market it as a fairly low volume "specialty car". Its
purpose was to maintain public interest until the introduction of the MK VII, and act as a
test bed for the new engine.
The rest is now history, the car was a sensation, and orders so overwhelmed the
production capability that it had to be redesigned with a metal, rather than an aluminum
body, so that it could be produced on a production line, rather than largely handbuilt as
the prototype and the first 239 cars were. Because of the need to redesign and retool,
volume production did not come onstream until 1950. Despite all the work done to
"productionize" the car, the outward appearance did not change much at all -
only some hard to spot panel curvatures reveal the difference.
Initially the car was called the XK Open Two Seater Super Sports, and was quickly
renamed the XK120. The name derives from the engine and the top speed. All the
engines types made during the war were "X" for experimental, and the next letter
was the sequence. "K" happened to be the sequence of the engine that was up to
The first model came to be known as the XK120 Roadster in retrospect, after the
introduction in 1951 of the Fixed Head Coupe (FHC), and in 1953 of the Drop Head Coupe
(DHC). The Roadster featured a hood and sticks approach to weather protection, along with
detachable side screens, whereas the DHC had a proper stowable hood, and wind up windows,
along with all the extra luxury inside that the FHC featured. This included extensive use
of wood in the dashboard and door cappings. The design of the roof on the FHC showed a
strong family likeness to the, then brand new, Mk VII
This split of models into two open and one closed type was to persist over all three
iterations of XK series sports cars until the introduction of the E-Type in 1961. (Note
however the XK150 Roadster did feature wind-up windows)
(Various sources differ, slightly and these numbers are most vague for the FHC. Those
numbers are accurate to around 80 cars)
|No details are available on the split of numbers between RHD
and LHD, but some sources do break out the numbers between home and export production. It
is interesting to see what a small proportion of these cars was sold in the home market.
At this time of austerity after the second world war, it was of vital importance to earn
export currency, and demand for this car was high in export markets.....
seem to be available on how many cars were produced in SE trim
All except 5 or 6 appear to have been exported.
|Total 7614 (includes 240 aluminum body cars)
|XK120 Fixed Head
|XK120 Drop Head
|Total, all models
||SE Model (known as XK120M in the USA)
gave power boost to 180bhp using high lift camshafts. Wire wheels and two foglights were
fitted as standard, as was overdrive. As an addition to the SE model an even more
powerful 210 bhp engine was an option by fitting the "C" type cylinder head and
larger 2 inch SU carburetors.
All models except where already fitted to SE
Wire wheels available after 1951 in body color or silver or chrome, Various radios, fog
lights, Heater (standard after 1951), various radios, bucket seats, to replace standard
bench seat. fitted luggage for trunk (boot), Luggage Rack. Various accessories
intended for the serious competition motorist were also available, such as aero screens on
the Roadster, auxiliary fuel tanks, etc.
When steel wheels were fitted, spats were fitted in the rear wheel wells. These were
omitted in cars equipped with steel wheels because of the extra width of the spinner.
Wheels were all 16 inch, and wire wheels had54 spokes.