1956 Jaguar XK140 MC Roadster
Editor’s Note: Jaguar XK120 and XK140 roadsters have a near and dear place in my heart. When I was a young man, I almost purchased an XK140 roadster from an actor, who played on the TV miniseries, Rich Man Poor Man. The problem was that I didn’t want to part with my 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible. Too bad I couldn’t afford both cars. I would have had the start to a most eclectic vintage auto collection. This XK140 will be auctioned off today, January 18, 2013, by the auto experts at RM Auctions. Enjoy reading about the history of this special sports car.
Photo Credit: Teddy Pieper ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions
210 bhp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, C-Type cylinder head, twin SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, double wishbones and anti-roll bar, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.
• Factory “MC” equipment car
• Recent restoration
• Ideal car for swift, sporty touring
From 1948 through 1954, the brilliant XK120 established Jaguar at the forefront of sports car manufacturers, with its graceful lines and impressive performance. While approximately 12,000 XK120s were built, its sound, original design could easily be improved and updated. The resulting XK140 arrived in late-1954, with a comprehensive list of improvements designed to maintain Jaguar’s appeal, especially in the all-important U.S. market.
Notable upgrades included the addition of precise rack-and-pinion steering, improved brakes and cooling, plus more cabin comfort and legroom, an improvement made possible by the relocation of the batteries. The most popular model in America remained the OTS (open two-seater), otherwise known as the Roadster, and of the 3,350 XK140 Roadsters built, only 49 were sold in England. At the U.S. price of $3,745, the cars continued to provide Jaguar’s characteristically excellent value. The bodywork was subtly updated, while the widely acclaimed, original stylistic elements were left intact.
The XK140 offered here is a desirable “MC,” or Special Equipment, model, outfitted by the factory with a high-compression cylinder head, as used on the C-Type racing cars, giving it the ability to produce 210 roaring horses; a crankshaft damper; a dual exhaust; wire wheels; fog lamps; and windshield washers, producing an ideal automobile for fast Continental touring. Restored only a few years ago, it is presented here in Carmen Red with a complementary red leather interior, and it has been driven only about 1,000 miles since. It promises numerous opportunities for exciting travel for its new owner.