classic cars, historic vehicles, jaguar, Motoring News, motorsport, sport cars

Creating beauty: 65-year-old Jaguar XK reborn for racing

  • 1954 XK120 back to ‘bespoke’ specification
  • 2700 man-hour job makes race-read beauty
  • Original 3.4-litre six-cylinder XK engine rebuilt
RESTORED JAGUAR: Image: Jaguar Classic/Newspress

LONDON, England – Jaguar Classic has completed restoration of an XK120 sports car restoration commissioned by British life-long Jaguar enthusiast David Gandy.

The 11-month project, which was a close collaboration between Gandy and Jaguar Classic’s experts at its Classic Works facility in Warwickshire, central England, took 2700 man-hours.

The car is intended to be used for motorsport events such as the Jaguar Classic Challenge so the specification was inspired by the original XK120 Lightweight model.

RESTORED JAGUAR: Owner David Gandy takes delivery of the new love of his life. Image: Jaguar Classic/Newspress

Gandy said: “I knew I wanted to own one of these incredibly special cars after driving a Jaguar XK120 at the Mille Miglia in 2013 and 2014,


”The team at Jaguar Classic has done a remarkable engineering job – they executed everything for which I asked. It was amazing to have such an in-depth involvement in its creation.”

Jaguar Classic’s dedicated sourcing team tracked-down a suitable 1954 base car in California and has retained as much of the original car as possible.

The in-line six-cylinder unit was meticulously rebuilt over five-and-a-half months and tuned for racing. ”The result,” Jaguar says, ”is a performance upgrade from the original 135kW to 168kW and with enhanced durability for higher speeds,.

”Items such as the core plugs with steel bracing so they don’t dislodge during high-performance driving… an all-new, upgraded, exhaust system features dual pipes instead of the usual single.”

RESTORED JAGUAR: Image: Jaguar Classic/Newspress

Further improvements included a faster-shifting racing gearbox capable of absorbing high stress, and uprated brakes. The fronts are discs with four-pot calipers, the rears are the original, but refurbished, drum brakes.


The suspension has adjustable shock-absorbers to accommodate settings for various sport events.

Calum McKechnie, head of Jaguar Classic, told The Corner in a media release: “This unique XK120 showcases the expertise, skill and craftmanship that Jaguar Classic has available for every customer. Not only were we able to bring this iconic sport car back to life mechanically but also the attention to detail and the bespoke design of the interior sets Gandy’s car apart.”

RESTORED JAGUAR: Image: Jaguar Classic/Newspress

The design and finishing touches were created in collaboration with Gandy: he chose the colour and materials at every step of the renovation. The exterior is  solid black – 13 litres and four coats; extra exterior features include a racing-inspired flip-top fuel cap and the original split-screen windscreen has been replaced by twin aero screens – ”another feature synonymous with the XK120 Lightweight”.

READ MORE Jaguar features on Carman’s Corner

The cabin, Jaguar said, was also unique: tan saddle leather with a lattice design, the seat backs aluminium rather than fabric. Two batteries, as original, should sit behind the driver’s seat but the Classic team mounted a single battery to make space behind 1.88m-tall Gandy.

This was also a consideration for steering-wheel: it’s smaller than the original.

The finished car was handed over to its owner who intends to use it for everyday driving and for competition.

  • For more information about restoring a classic Jaguar click here .
RESTORED JAGUAR: Image: Jaguar Classic/Newspress

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