Motor City

30 July 2016

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Lot 142

1955 Jaguar XK 140 MC Drophead Coupe

  • Chassis no. S 817884 DN
  • Engine no. G 5267-8S
  • Body no. P 4171

Sold for $187,000


210 hp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, five-speed Borg-Warner T-5 manual transmission, independent wishbone front suspension with torsion bars and anti-roll bar, rear live axle with semi-elliptical springs, and front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

  • One of just 1,455 drophead coupes built for the 1955 model year
  • Highly coveted MC specification model
  • Well-sorted example with extensive touring history
  • Matching-numbers example; includes JDHT Certificate


The XK 140 was launched at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1954. It was essentially a re-engineered XK 120 intended specifically for the North American market—a market becoming increasingly more important to Jaguar. Nearly 90 percent of all models were sold with left-hand drive and exported stateside during the model run from 1954–1957. All three body styles of the 120 were retained with styling similar to its forerunner, but most important was a roomier cockpit.

Jaguar moved the bulkhead three inches forward, affording more legroom for tall drivers. The dashboard was raised an inch to give extra room beneath the steering wheel, and roadsters were given an extra three inches of seat travel. These changes combined to make the XK 140 cockpit a more pleasing driving environment for American drivers. Lucas J700 headlamps, different front turn indicators and rear taillights, number plate mountings, and for the first time, a boot lid handle, would subtly change the exterior appearance over the XK 120.

Badging proclaimed Jaguar’s Le Mans wins, and the chrome strip that ran down the bonnet continued on the boot lid, which, like the bonnet and doors, would be skinned in aluminum. An improved cooling system with an eight-blade fan, rack and pinion steering, sturdier bumpers, and a single 12-volt battery replaced the twin 6-volt units that lived under the bonnet (rather than behind the seats). Many enthusiasts consider the XK 140 the pinnacle of the XK series of Jaguars, offering a combination of XK 120 style with the comfort and usability of the later XK 150.

This particular car carries the highly desirable MC designation (known as SE elsewhere) used only in North America; “M” denotes modified and “C” refers to the C-type cylinder head as used on the racing XKC. Horsepower is further increased to 210 in the MC version thanks to the C-type head option with its bigger valves and improved porting. Only the twin exhaust gives it away from the exterior.

This is one of just 1,455 drophead coupes built for 1955, and its JDHT Certificate confirms that it retains its original matching-numbers engine. Currently painted in classic British Racing Green with a black canvas top over sage green hides, it is equipped with blackwall tires on chrome wheels. It was purchased by JK Restorations, Oswego, Illinois, in 1997 from an owner who parked the Jaguar in his garage in the 1970s, where it sat unused for 25 years. A frame-off restoration to original commenced in 1998, during which time the consigner purchased the vehicle. It was completed in 2000.

Beginning in 2002, the Jaguar was enlisted in JCNA competition numerous times, with consistent scores of 99 points and higher. Since then, the car has been meticulously maintained and toured extensively all over the United States, Canada, and Europe, including Goodwood, during his ownership. The Jaguar’s most recent tour was the 1,500-mile Sun Rally in 2013. It is currently fitted with a Borg-Warner T-5 five-speed manual transmission, electric cooling fan, radial tires, and the bolt-on front disc brake conversion to add to its safety and reliability during touring, though the original four-speed overdrive transmission is included with the sale.

This is a wonderful automobile to drive and enjoy this summer in Michigan!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more