This is the Jaguar XK140 as you may never have seen it before – re-clothed by Giovanni Michelotti with a unique, one-off body after the original was damaged in an accident.

The car is now being offered for sale direct from the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Division, in the hopes that it’ll be given a full restoration to return it to its former glory.

Fast Facts – A Jaguar XK140 By Michelotti

  • The Jaguar XK140 was released in 1954 as an incremental upgrade for the Jaguar XK120 – one of the most important cars in Jaguar’s history and the fastest production car in the world at the time of its release.
  • Jaguar engineers were careful not to reinvent the wheel when developing the XK140, they kept all the charm of the XK120 but added more interior space, improved suspension, rack and pinion steering, and better brakes.
  • Giovanni Michelotti is one of the most celebrated automotive designers of the 20th century. He’s best known for his work for the likes of Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, and Triumph however he also took on many one-off design jobs including the car you see here.
  • This car started life as a 1955 Jaguar XK140 in left-hand drive configuration with a standard factory body fitted. After an accident it was sent to Italy where Michelotti worked his magic on it, and it’s now in need of a restoration.

The Importance Of The Jaguar XK Series

The Jaguar Xk120 was unveiled as a show car and test bed for the then-new XK engine at the 1948 London Motor Show. The public response was so overwhelmingly positive it was given the green light for a full production run.

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Image DescriptionThis image was taken much earlier in the car’s life and it does a great job of documenting the design, along with the other images in the series (see below).

The first 242 cars were delivered to customers later that year, they had alloy bodies that had been hand-shaped over ash wood frames, a testament to the fact that Jaguar didn’t have the design ready for mass-production. The first mass-produced steel bodied examples wouldn’t appear until 1950.

At the time of its release the XK120 was the fastest production car in the world, the first one was delivered new to Clark Gable, and the car really helped put Jaguar on the map in the post-WWII world as a manufacturer of desirable sports cars.

The Jaguar XK140 Appears

By the mid-1950s the XK120 was beginning to show signs of age, and Jaguar’s competitors were nipping at its heels. Rather then release an all new sports car it was decided to develop an incremental update called the XK140.

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Image DescriptionThe car has a more modern design than the original XK140, with a high waistline and fastback styling that would become ever more popular through the 1950s and into the 1960s.

The Jaguar XK140 included a slew of improvements – the brakes were upgraded, as was the suspension, the earlier recirculating ball steering was replaced with rack and pinion, the body featured more interior space, and the XK engine was slightly more powerful.

The Jaguar XK140 was just the right car at just the right time, and the fact that it was fitted with a version of the Jaguar engine that was taking back-to-back wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955, 1956, and 1957 did its sales absolutely no harm at all.

The XK140 would be replaced with the XK150 in 1857, a larger, heavier, and more luxurious car that itself would be replaced with the wildly popular E-Type in 1961.

A Jaguar XK140 By Michelotti

The car you see here started life as a standard, factory-built XK140 in 1955. It was a cream colored example with two-tone blue interior and left-hand drive, and it was delivered new in France to its first owner, Madame Jeanne Gaymard of Paris.

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Image DescriptionThe Michelotti design was arguably more practical than the original Jaguar design, with more headroom inside and easy access to the trunk.

Two years later in 1957 the car was involved in a serious accident, possibly a victim of Paris’ famously temperamental traffic, and it was sent off to Italy where Giovanni Michelotti was tasked with giving it an all new body.

He developed a new body with a high waistline and fastback styling, he also turned his attention to the interior, instruments, and other a number of other details which were all changed to his own bespoke design.

Interestingly it was around the time of the rebuild that a Jaguar C-Type (XKC016) retired from racing, it’s high-performance engine was removed and installed into the new Michelotti XK140, and the car retains this engine today.

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Image DescriptionPerhaps the most controversial aspect of the design is the headlights, which seem to divide opinion.

The car has remained well-known in Jaguar circles ever since, it’s an unusual piece of Jaguar history and a car that has attracted a lot of attention over the years – so much so that it was acquired by the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Division

It’s now being offered for sale by Bonhams directly from Jaguar ownership, in the hopes that it’ll be given the restoration that it deserves. It’d due to roll across the auction block on the 2nd of February in Paris with a price guide of €400,000 – €600,000 or approximately $434,500 – $651,800 USD.

If you’d like to read more about this unusual Jaguar or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Bonhams

Published by Ben Branch -