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1954 Jaguar XK 120 drophead

Classic Motor Cars

1954 Jaguar XK 120 drophead
Classic Motor Cars
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SH ID

24-0102001

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FEATURED BY SPEEDHOLICS

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In Stock

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United Kingdom

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Dealer

First owned by French singer Gilbert Bécaud

 

Comprehensive body restoration to a high standard

 

Recent engine rebuild

 

Coopercraft disc brakes and five-speed gearbox

Description

Toulon-born singer Gilbert Bécaud would have cut quite a dash in 1950s France at the wheel of his newly acquired Jaguar XK 120 drophead coupé. Having been part of the Resistance during World War Two, Bécaud became a songwriter in 1948 and started singing himself a few years later following encouragement from Edith Piaf. He was still in his 20s when he bought this XK 120 – which is now being offered for sale at the Classic Motor Hub – and it would have been the perfect choice for the stylish young performer. Chassis number 678351 was dispatched from the Browns Lane factory in Coventry on 27 May 1954, and sold new to Bécaud via Parisian distributor Charles Delecroix. It was delivered in Pastel Blue with a blue interior, and the accompanying Heritage Certificate states that it was fitted with engine number F3194-8, body number P2616 and gearbox number JL23094. As the 1950s progressed, Bécaud began acting and an English version of his song Je t’appartiens became a hit for the Everly Brothers. It would later be covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Nina Simone, while another song of his, Et Maintenant, was recorded under the title What Now My Love by Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. The XK 120 was first registered in the UK in 1989. It was imported after being acquired by Trevor Scott-Worthington, who was ‘Total Quality Manager’ for Jaguar at the time, and kept the car for 19 years. Mr. Scott-Worthington had also set up Jaguar spares specialist Coventry Auto Components in 1969. Although the car was still attractive and driving well by 2016, the then- owner decided to commission a full restoration. The work was carried out by Clanfield Coachbuilding in Oxfordshire. The bodywork was stripped to bare metal and any repair sections were finished with traditional lead-loading – as would have been done at the factory. A full engine rebuild was carried out and a new clutch assembly fitted, while a specialist ash framer replaced any woodwork that was showing signs of deterioration. Inside, the seats were in good condition and had acquired a nice patina, so the decision was taken to leave them as they were. The rest of the interior was retrimmed, including new carpets and door cards, and the rare ivory steering wheel was retained as a nice touch of European chic from the car’s time in France. The restoration process took five years, and a full photographic record is part of the history file. Coopercraft front disc brakes and a five-speed gearbox are both popular modifications that make the XK 120 a much more useable proposition in modern conditions, and this drophead coupé is now ready to be enjoyed by its next owner.