2013 JAGUAR FIND - DAILY MAIL
A classic Jaguar which has been left to rot in a garage for more than 40 years is expected to fetch between £15,000 and £25,000 at auction.
The Jaguar XK120 Competition Roadster was one of the world's top sports cars when it left the factory in 1953.
But over the past 43 years the car has been left abandoned in a Surrey garage, where it transformed from a stunning racing car into a heap of rust.
Discovered by auction house Coys, the find will come onto the open market for the first time when it goes under the hammer at the auctioneer's Ascot sale on Saturday.
Although the guide price is a reasonable £15,000 to £25,000, experts believe whoever buys the Jaguar will have to spend between £50,000 and £100,000 to return the car to its former glory.
The XK120 Competition Roadster was supplied new in 1953 to a Lieutenant in the army, who sold it to mechanic Douglas Potter in 1961.
Mr Potter worked for a number of racing teams and competed in various cars before getting his hands on the XK120.
The engineer then used his knowhow to turn the Jaguar into a competition car, racing it around the UK at circuits including Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
Under the bonnet of the Sir William Lyons-styled roadster was a 3.4-litre engine which developed 160bhp - giving the car a 0-60mph time of 10 seconds and top speed of 126mph.
Both the car and its driver became well known in Jaguar and racing circles, but Mr Potter stopped his competition career in the 1970s to focus on aeronautical engineering.
Remarkably, the Jaguar then remained undisturbed at storage at his home in Surrey for the next four decades.
Graham Searle, from the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club, expects there to be a lot of interest when it goes under the hammer.
He said: 'It has got a good recorded history which helps prices and when it has been restored it could easily be worth £150,000.
'The key thing is the history and this car will help the owner get into all the events like Goodwood and that is important.
'The XK120 was a very important car in the history of Jaguar, it was their first ever genuine sports car and helped put them on the map.
'There will be a lot of excitement about this. It will probably cost around £100,000 to restore professionally or at least £50,000 if the buyer does it themselves.'
The Jaguar will be sold alongside a number of other classic cars including a Ferrari 512BB and Aston Martin DB2.
A spokesperson for Coys said: 'We are proud to offer this unique piece of Jaguar's competition history to the open market for the very first time.
'Complete with its original Buff Log book, and with a variety of period racing shots, bills and receipts this must be the most exciting XK discovery this decade.
'Here was a car with incredible style and looks, a powerful six cylinder engine installed in an outstanding chassis and a remarkably low price - a quarter that of a V12 Ferrari, of similar performance.
'The combination was unbeatable and the XK120 represented without doubt a significant milestone for both Jaguar and the motor industry as a whole.
'Highly original and unmolested, there will not be a more significant XK120 available anywhere in this condition.'
The Jaguar XK120 is a sports car which was manufactured by Jaguar between 1948 and 1954. It was Jaguar's first sports car since the SS 100, which ceased production in 1940.
The XK120 was launched in open two-seater or (US) roadster form at the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 670001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production.
Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to the 1cwt or 112 lb (51 kg) heavier all-steel in early 1950. The "120" in the name referred to the aluminium car's 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed (faster with the windscreen removed), which made it the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch. In 1949 the first production roadster, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable.
The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, in America), then also as a drophead coupé (DHC) from 1953; and also as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951.
A smaller-engined version 2-litres, 4 cylinders, intended for the UK market was cancelled prior to production.
On May 30, 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aeroscreen and a catalogued alternative top gear
ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in
place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week.
Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying.
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