Race Retro Classic Car Sale 2017

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1960 Jaguar XK150 3.8 SE Drophead Coupé

Lot No.: 910

Registration: 720 YUU
Chassis Number: S838801BW
Engine Number: VA1713-9
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 3781
Year of Manufacture: 1960
Sold for (£): 132,750

A car-starved Britain, still trundling around in perpendicular, pre-war hangover motors glimpsed the future in October 1948 with the launch of the Jaguar XK120 at the Earls Court Motor Show. Production commenced in 1949 in Coventry, and the XK's swoopy shape and stylish occupants would become a common sight on British roads over the next fifteen years with the car's international appeal and competition successes triggering the beginning of a hugely positive period for the company. The XK150 appeared in May 1957, replacing the 140, and was the final incarnation of the XK series being initially available in Fixed Head Coupé (FHC) and Drophead Coupé (DHC) versions with the svelte Roadster (OTS-Open Two-Seat) following in 1958. 

A more refined and capable machine than its predecessors, the 150 was noticeably different from its earlier siblings with a significantly higher scuttle and door line, whilst the radiator grille reverted to the thinner slats of the XK120 but was altogether wider. Larger wraparound bumpers were fitted, a curved windscreen replaced the divided one on the XK120 and 140, and powerful, servo-assisted Dunlop disc brakes all round were a welcome addition. However, the 150 retained much of the mechanical layout of the XK140, sharing the same 3.4-litre DOHC Jaguar straight-six until, in 1960, Jaguar increased the engine size to 3.8 litres providing the later cars with a class-leading 220 bhp.  

The car presented here is a 1960 XK150 3.8 SE DHC and is a fully matching numbers example (supported by inspection, corresponding paperwork and a Jaguar Heritage Certificate). It was destined for the US market and was naturally left-hand drive and specified with an automatic gearbox. The records tell us that it was manufactured on the 11th of April 1960 and was dispatched to Jaguar Cars, New York on the 29th of that month.  The car’s first owner was a Mr. R.J. Hamville of Wisconsin, whilst a petrol receipt discovered in the car shows it was in Hyattsville, Maryland in 1961. By 1973, a US Certificate of Title shows that a Mr. D. Weir of Midlothian, Virginia was the proud possessor of this lovely Jaguar.  

It was repatriated to the UK by a Mr. M.Brown in October 1988 and subsequently sold to our Jaguar-enthusiast vendor in November 1988. He and his brother, a qualified automotive engineer, set about fully restoring the car over the following 25 years. This fastidious process utilised the skills of numerous marque specialists, including a ground-up body restoration by M&C Wilkinson Ltd. The quality of the work is simply excellent, retaining as many original parts as possible and all major components were fully rebuilt and recommissioned. It was then superbly finished in a deep Indigo Blue with a delightful Cream interior. There is a photographic record of the whole process confirming the brothers' very high standards and attention to detail.  

The brakes have been upgraded and the fitting of a more modern Jaguar XJ automatic gearbox makes this classic particularly easy to drive. Importantly, the original automatic gearbox will be supplied with the car in the interests of preserving matching numbers status, and this would be relatively straightforward to refurbish and reinstate. “Better-than-new” is an expression we rarely use, but it would certainly apply to this XK150 and pleasingly, it drives and performs as well as you’d expect.

This extensive restoration was completed in 2013, with our vendor having used the car sparingly since, covering only a few hundred miles. Having always wanted to use his practical and project management skills with classic Jaguars, he fully appreciates what this particular car offers, and whilst he has greatly enjoyed owning it and being part of its story, a new project beckons.

‘720 YUU’ is a very special car.  It offers a new owner the very best-of-both-worlds – a 3.8 XK150 with matching-numbers and continuity of ownership and history – with a level of restoration and improvement that is hugely reassuring and confidence-inspiring. This car is ready to be fully enjoyed and appreciated.