1958 Jaguar XK150 Roadster
The Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in 1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley. In 1934 Lyons formed SS Cars Limited to effectively take over the operation from Walmsley. The SS brand was quite successful; though they had a reputation for having ‘more show than go’. The Jaguar name first appeared as a model name on an SS 2½ Litre Sports Saloon introduced in 1936. For political reasons, Lyons changed the name of his company to Jaguar Cars in 1945.
Whilst the SS100 is indeed a fabulous car, it was the launch of the legendary Jaguar XK120 at the London Motor Show in 1948 that really put Jaguar on the map. The car caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. The “120” in its name referred to its 120 mph top speed, which made the XK120 the world’s fastest production car in its day. It was available in two open versions, first as the roadster (designated OTS, for open two-seater), then also as a drophead coupé (DHC) from 1953. The car was also available as a closed or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951.
The XK120 was succeeded by the XK140 which was launched in late 1954 and sold through until 1957. Whilst the XK140 looked similar to the XK120 there were in fact many subtle and indeed important differences. The XK140 featured a more spacious cabin and had improved brakes, suspension and steering. Visually the car had American style bumpers with overriders, a different grille (that had fewer, thicker vertical bars), a chrome strip on the bonnet & boot and an emblem “Jaguar Winner Le Mans 1951-3” on the boot also.
The final iteration of the XK was the XK150 that was released in 1957. Whilst its family resemblance to its forbearers is obvious the XK150 was in fact a very different car. Most noticeable was the change to a one piece windscreen and the smoother ‘wing line’ from the front to the rear of the car. Cabin space was significantly improved making the XK150 a far more comfortable car to drive. Mechanically the first XK150’s were similar to the XK140’s, however, an ‘SE’ variant with a modified cylinder head giving more power and an ‘S’ variant with triple SU carburettors giving even more power were soon available. In 1959 engine capacity was increased from 3.4 litres to 3.8 litres.
Like the XK120 both the XK140 and XK150 were offered in three body style being the roadster, drop head coupe and fixed head coupe.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an absolutely stunning, fully restored Jaguar XK150 Roadster / Open Two Seater (OTS).
This particular car is a North American delivered, factory left hand drive example. According to the Jaguar Heritage Certificate on file this particular car was completed on the 9th October 1958 and despatched on the 21st November 1958 through Jaguar Cars in New York in the USA. The car was originally finished in black with a red interior and a black soft top. The car’s first owner was RJ McLeod from New York City, USA.
The car is documented in the following book: The Jaguar XK in Australia (1985) by John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath. The car’s history stated below is an extract from that book:
Owner: Jim Byrne, Lane Cove, Sydney, NSW
Despatched 21st November 1958 to Jaguar Cars, New York and sold to RJ McLeod of New York on 16th July 1959. Nothing is further known until purchased in Los Angeles in 1982 by Jim Byrne and then imported into Australia.
The car was in need of restoration and it was sold to Jaguar restorer Terry Hilton who on sold the car to the current owner in 1992 with a view to restoring the car for him. For a number of reasons the restoration did not start for many years and when it did, progress was extremely slow. Hilton moved towns at some stage and due to ill health most of his projects ground to a halt. In 2013 the car was given to Wolf Grodd’s Sleeping Beauties in Brisbane who basically ‘started again’. Sleeping Beauties is one of Australia’s leading high end restoration shops and they have restored cars that have been exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car was completed and exhibited at Motorclassica, which is Australia’s leading concours d’elegance and classic car show in 2015. The car has been used sparingly since and only travelled 1,494 miles since the restoration was completed.
Today the car presents and drives like a freshly restored car. It is STUNNING! The only thing we can fault is that the soft top is not a perfect fit.
In consultation with Sleeping Beauties, the owner chose to finish the car in a dark blue with a grey upholstery, blue carpets and a dark blue soft top. As you will see from the photographs this was a spectacular choice. The paint is fresh with a strong depth of colour and unmarked, with the exception of some very light scratching where the soft top sits once installed. The chrome is also vibrant and contrasts the dark blue paint perfectly. All of the external trim, badges, lights/lenses and the glass present like new.
Inside the cabin, the car also presents like new. The leather is unmarked and it remains supple. All of the instruments and controls are in excellent condition and everything looks to be in working order. Even the carpets are like new, as is the soft top which has probably never been used.
The owner chose to have a number of modern improvements fitted to the car when it was restored, including a Tremec T5 gearbox, EZ power steering, an all aluminum radiator with electric cooling fans, modern air conditioning and a Retrosound radio. He also chose to have the car upgraded to ‘S’ spec and when you open the bonnet you immediately notice the triple carburettor set up.
So what’s it like to drive? It’s fair to say it drives every bit as good as it looks . . . and perhaps even better! The engine starts easily at the first push of the starter button, even from cold. There’s no fuss, it’s just very easy and incredibly smooth. You want to drive it, but resist the temptation for a few minutes whilst the car warms up. After only a few hundred meters you immediately realise that this is not your ‘everyday Jaguar XK’! The throttle response is incredible and the car has loads of power on tap. The gearbox is smooth but precise and the EZ power steering makes the car so easy to manoeuvre at low speed. Importantly once you are fully motoring the steering is precise and direct. The suspension feels firm but balanced and there are no rattles or squeaks. The brakes are certainly 1950’s but they more than adequately get the job done driving the car at legal speed.
The car is accompanied by a Heritage Certificate, a thick file of restoration receipts, photos of the restoration, an owner’s manual, a tonneau cover, a jack and a (sparse) tool kit.
- A fully restored and immaculately presented Jaguar XK150 Roadster.
- Restored by world renowned specialists – Sleeping Beauties.
- Restored with a number of modern improvements to make this a more usable classic car.
- Finished in an ‘absolutely perfect’ and STUNNING colour combination.
- Exhibited at Motorclassica 2015.
- Fully sorted and ready to enjoy.
This classic Jaguar has just been serviced and it is ready for Summer and its next keeper.
- Jaguar XK150 Roadster
- 1,494 miles
- 3442 cc