The Jaguar XK150 was a sports car produced by Jaguar Cars between 1957 and 1961. It replaced the previous Jaguar XK140.
Initially it was available in Fixed Head Coupe (FHC) and Drop Head Coupe (DHC) versions. The Open Two Seater (OTS) Roadster model was not launched until 1958. Token rear seats were fitted in the coupes.
Although having a family resemblance to the XK120 and XK140, the XK150 was radically modernised. For the first time a one piece windscreen was used and the wing line no longer dropped as much over the doors. The bonnet was widened and opened down to the wings and on the OTS the bulkhead was moved back to make it longer.
Inside the car the walnut dashboard went, to be replaced by one trimmed in leather. The doors were thinner giving more interior space.
The standard engine, the same as fitted to the XK140, was the 3.4 litre DOHC Jaguar straight-6 rated at 180 bhp at 5750 rpm but most cars were fitted with the SE engine that had a modified cylinder head with larger exhaust valves rated at 210 bhp at 5500 rpm. Twin 1.75 inch SU HD6 carburettors were fitted. In 1958 the S model was launched with three 2 inch SU HD8 carburettors and a modified cylinder head giving a claimed 250 bhp. The engine capacity was increased in 1958 to 3.8 litres by increasing the bore. Claimed output was now 220 bhp for the standard and 265 bhp for the S version.
Four-wheel disc brakes appeared for the first time although it was theoretically possible to order a car with drums. Either wire wheels or disc wheels could be specified. Suspension and chassis were very similar to that on the XK140. Steering was by rack and pinion and power steering was not offered.
Production totalled 2265 Roadsters, 4445, Fixed Head Coupes and 2672 Drop Head Coupes. The 3.8-litre 'S' is one of the rarest of the family with only 282 built out of a total XK150 production of 9395 cars.
This car is an in period converted 3.8 SE into the rarest 3.8 S version, of which only 282 examples were built and only 167 out of them were left hand drive. Timeless and elegant, this black left-hand-drive Jaguar XK150 SE has spent its life in the United States of America. It has been converted to ‘S’ specification, and it is believed to have been done by Hoffman’s of New York when it was new! Now sporting the much sought-after ‘Pumpkin’ cylinder head, the three SU carburettors are certainly present and correct and have been recently tuned.
The subject of extensive restorative work in 2016, the last owner describes himself as “not a paint and chrome man”, which means this wonderfully preserved Jaguar XK150 is utterly solid and fighting fit yet patinated enough that you could use it without fear of accidently picking up the odd stonechip or mark.
Now being offered after huge expenditure (“I can’t stand even a switch not working”) this is your opportunity to buy one of the most charming cars we’ve seen all year.
The black coupé exudes a menace that is missing from XK150s finished in one of the brighter colours. It also sits on the iconic wire wheels, and the overall result is utterly beguiling.
It’s in decent shape, too. We love the combination of patina and rock-solid mechanicals that make this a driver’s car you could use with worry.
The panels are straight and free of rust, and it all fits together very nicely. The chromework is generally straight and free of damage, and while there is some light pitting and scratches, there’s nothing there that should bother.
The wire wheels are straight and free of damage, and they’re fitted with matching 185R16 tyres, all of which have good tread.
As we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly.
The red leather seats have been refurbished in 2016 with some new foam and webbing, but the last owner chose – wisely, in our opinion – to leave the leather alone bar cleaning and feeding it.
The result looks terrific; a large part of the appeal of classic cars is their history and provenance and it saddens us a little when this is ruthlessly eradicated.
The matching red carpets seem surprisingly good to still be the originals too, and we suspect they’ve been replaced at some point. But the door cards look like they might be the ones the car left the factory with; again, preservation of a classic car of this age is a balance between leaving ‘as is’, refurbishing, and replacing and we applaud the owner for the balance he’s achieved.
Speaking of which, the dashboard has been left alone and looks all the better for it. And the huge vintage-style steering wheel conspires with the stubby, forward-facing gearlever and the flat, floor-mounted seats to give the XK150’s unique ergonomics.
The boot contains a spare wire wheel, and lifting the carpets shows solid metalwork, which is no surprise given its West Coast history.
The work in 2016 included many new mechanical components including a refurbished steering rack, new suspension components, shackles, bushes and other items; please see the attached invoices for the full details.
Upgrades to make it better-suited to modern roads and traffic conditions include an alloy radiator and case-hardened driveshafts. The engine was compression tested and found to be sound, so the only work it needed was servicing and the third SU carb tuning.
The owner says it drives superbly.
The underside, which is as solid as you would expect of a car that has lived the overwhelming majority of its life in the salt-free climes of the west coast of America, was the first thing that drew the owner to the car; after all, if the chassis and bodyshell are solid, the rest is easy.
The XK150 comes with some of its American paperwork plus a neatly organized folder stuffed full of invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years. It also comes with an Operating, Maintenance and Service Handbook and a period grease gun.
The car has spent some time on the Beverley Hills Car Club fleet in California, so who knows who’s driven it?
The car’s rock-solid chassis and recently refurbished mechanical components make this more of a driver’s car than a trailer queen, and that combination also makes it a great candidate for a historic rallying.
Or, and this would be our choice, it could be used as a supremely capable fast road car for inter-continental touring, a role its left-hand-drive cockpit would facilitate – and can you imagine arriving in Switzerland with a set of snow tyres and a pair of skis strapped to the roof? Effortless cool really doesn’t come any more accessible than this!
The car offers a very good value for such a solid, unmolested example of one of the best sportscars of its generation.
|Engine||3.781 ccm, 269 PS, I6|
|Steering||Left Hand Drive|
|Layout||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Color - exterior||Black|
|Color - interior||Red|
|Miles/Kilometers shown||34.880 mls|
|Chassis / VIN||S836695|
|Location - Country||Czech Rep.|
|Location - City||Hradec Kralove|
2-door coupe body type RWD (rear-wheel drive), manual 5-speed gearbox gasoline (petrol) engine with displacement: 3781 cm3, advertised power: 198 kW / 265 hp / 269 PS (max), torque: 353 Nm; characteristic dimensions: outside length: 4496 mm, width: 1638 mm, wheelbase: 2591 mm; reference weights: estimated curb weight: 1480 kg; top speed: 208 km/h (129 mph) (SE version); accelerations: 0-60 mph 7.4 s; 0-100 km/h 7.8 s (SE version)
Hradec Kralove, Czechia