Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 145

1954 Jaguar XK120 SE Roadster

  • Chassis no. S 674498
  • Engine no. F 1410-8S
  • Body no. F 6858

Sold for $258,500

Est. 250 bhp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, “C-Type” cylinder head, twin two-inch SU HD8 carburetors, custom five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, double wishbones and anti-roll bar, rigid rear axle with adjustable coil-over spring system and dual-action tubular shock absorbers, and front disc/rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 102"

• Highly desirable late-production, LHD US-delivery Special Equipment model

• Complete historical file; JDHT Certificate included

• Proven show winner; careful upgrades for fast, trouble-free touring

Blessed with exceptionally well-documented history, this XK120 is an original left-hand drive Special Equipment model that was completed on December 18, 1953, dispatched to the USA on January 1, 1954 and purchased new by Charles E. Gifford of Burbank, California. The Jaguar was sold to John Canepa, Jr. of Saratoga, California, under whom it was restored between 1969 and 1971. Once completed, it was shown at the 1972 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and placed second in class.

The following summer, the XK120 was acquired by noted Jaguar collector Walter Hill, under whom it took Best of Show at the 1974 AACA South Florida Regional meet, and it enjoyed climate-controlled storage with him until August 2005 (over three decades!), when Gary Bartlett acquired it. In his ownership, the engine, brakes, cooling system and instruments were rebuilt and a fresh set of tires was installed. At this point, only about 30 miles were traveled since 1973.

In early 2007, the XK120 was acquired by the current owner and carefully prepared for reliable, comfortable and fast long-distance touring as well as the show field. Following successful completion of the 2,000-mile Pebble Beach Motoring Classic and an appearance at Quail Lodge in 2007, the Jaguar received a complete restoration far above typical standards. Work included a single-stage ICI Polyurethane finish over treated bare metal without clear-coat to obtain an extremely deep and wet-looking effect. When the body was stripped in preparation for paint, an exciting discovery was made in the form of a quick-release panel on the front fender, a modification to release heat during competition. This is certainly a clue to the car’s track days with the original owner during the 1950s and 1960s in Southern California.

Thoughtful mechanical upgrades included front disc brakes, brake-proportioning valve, secondary electric fuel pump, larger fuel tank, under-dash manual choke control, carburetor air trumpets, custom exhaust system with powder-coated headers, custom aluminum radiator with a coolant expansion tank and custom-made five-speed gearbox. Original-type yellow Lucas fog lamps were obtained at great expense, and the seats were custom-made for improved comfort on long journeys with larger drivers.

The Jaguar again completed the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic in 2008 and 2010, performing strongly and without a single fault. Other show entries included the Winterpark Concours, the 2009 Cavallino Classic and the invitation-only Mar-a-Lago Concours in January 2009, where the XK120 earned Best in Class. Most remarkably, the XK120 created a sensation at a late-2010 Porsche Club of America (PCA) regional event, where it was awarded People’s Choice and very nearly won the Challenge Rally at the same event!

Complete with an additional windshield, a custom-made center piece that clips between and joins the rakish Brooklands screens, an extensive historical file with correspondence, concours memorabilia and awards, the aforementioned JDHT certificate and more, the XK120 also includes a tool kit, the original jack and handle, the original tire pump and the original owner’s manual. Fast, very handsome and well-sorted, it ticks all the boxes for classic sports car desirability, combining the finest original elements of Jaguar’s legendary XK120 in its top-specification SE form with thoughtful improvements to vastly improve the overall driving experience.


This event-prepared XK120 will be sold with its original gearbox, radiator, seats, steering wheel, top with side curtains and canvas, zippered storage bag, and offered with a fresh service. All extra items are available FOB from South Florida.

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

+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

+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

+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

+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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

+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

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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

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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

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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

+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

+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