Jaguar Classic has produced yet another beautifully restored car, this being the 1954 Jaguar XK120. The restoration project, which took 11 months and 2,700 man-hours to complete, was commissioned by renowned British male model and life-long Jaguar enthusiast David Gandy.
A dedicated sourcing team was deployed to track down a suitable base car and found one in California, US, which retained much of the original car. Its 3.4 litre in-line six-cylinder engine was painstakingly rebuilt over five and a half months, with the final objective to use the car for racing (hence why it’s modelled after the XK120 Lightweight).
The rebuild also brought the engine output up from the original 182 hp to 228 hp, with increased durability for higher speeds. This calls for steel bracing for the core plugs so they don’t dislodge during high-performance driving. There’s also an all-new, upgraded exhaust system with dual pipes instead of the usual single pipe.
Further improvements include the fitment of a faster-shifting racing-style gearbox which is more durable under high stresses and uprated brakes, with the front setup now featuring disc brakes with four-pot calipers. The rear retains the original refurbished drum brakes. The suspension features fully adjustable dampers, allowing the Classic team to fine tune the handling for specific events.
In terms of the design, David was in charge of choosing the colour and materials at every phase of the renovation. The exterior is finished in solid black, made up of 13 litres and four coats of paint, while additional exterior features include a racing-inspired flip-top fuel cap. The original split-screen windscreen has been replaced by twin aero screens, another feature synonymous with the XK120 Lightweight.
The cabin is beautifully contrasted against the black paint. Finished in an Aged Saddle tan leather, the seats feature a bespoke lattice design with the seatbacks finished in aluminium instead of the usual fabric material.
While two batteries would usually sit behind the driver’s seat, for this car the Classic team put a single battery behind the passenger seat to free up space behind the driver, to enhance comfort for David, who is 188-cm tall. This was also a consideration for the choice of steering wheel, which is slightly smaller (15-inch diameter) to provide more legroom.
“Having driven a Jaguar XK120 at the Mille Miglia in 2013 and 2014, I knew that I wanted to own one of these incredibly special cars. The team at Jaguar Classic have done such a remarkable job engineering this car and executing everything that I asked for and it was amazing to have such an in-depth involvement in its creation,” David remarked.
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