Unique Pininfarina Jaguar XK120 unveiled
One-off Jaguar resurfaces at Pebble Beach after 6725 hours of restoration work by UK specialist CMC
A one-off, painstakingly restored Pininfarina-bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE has made its first post-restoration public appearance at California's Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The freshly prepared big cat has apparently taken UK-based Jaguar specialist CMC (Classic Motor Cars) in excess of 6725 man hours to restore.
First delivered to Austrian-born car importer Max Hoffman in 1954, the unique XK120 made an appearance at the Autocar show held in April 1955. Scheduled for static display during the 1956 Turin motor show, the Jaguar never arrived – the owner couldn’t wait for delivery any longer.
However, this is where the trail runs cold. The chairman of CMC’s operation board, David Barzilay, has said there is little trace of the car’s history. However, they are certain Hoffman was the supplying dealer and first owner of the car. ‘We are certain that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence’.
CMC sourced and purchased the Jaguar from a German collector, who had imported the XK120 from the USA with a mind for restoration back in 1978. Sadly, after 37 years of languishing in a dilapidated state, the owner then decided to sell.
‘Some of the parts were impossible to find so we had to remake items such as the bumpers and chromework by hand from photographs,’ Barzilay said. ‘We had to scan the front and rear ends of the car and make mock-ups of the lights, which were then scanned and 3D printed. Smaller missing parts were also 3D printed in-house.’
Other parts had to be crafted from scans, too – including the rear window – while stripping the Jaguar brought clues about the cars development to the attention of the restorers. It was during this process the team discovered Pininfarinia had used the original XK body as a basis for the new shape.
The interior proved to be a problem, until a small sample of original ochre tan leather was found during the removal of the damaged cabin. This was then used as the basis for the new hide re-trim and doorcard work.
The bodywork and mechanicals were then completely rebuilt, with the original chassis repaired where necessary before being lavished with underside protection and new paint, while the suspension was given the full refurbishment works alongside the original gearbox.
The straight-six, 3.4-litre engine was rebuilt, using a C-type cylinder head and twin SU carburettors, giving 180bhp and a top speed of 130mph.
Well received by aficionados and Jaguar enthusiasts at the Pebble Beach event, the Pininfarina-bodied XK120 received second place in the O-2 Postwar Closed class.
There is speculation that the XK120 could be offered for sale in the near future, although with such a rarity factor experts say it is impossible to place an asking price on it. Whatever the result, it would certainly prove to be the most expensive XK Jaguar ever to hit the market, far outstripping the estimates for the last XK to cause a fuss – Donald Campbell’s XK150.