Wednesday, 29 December 2010


As the least likely person I could think of to "blog" and never knowingly having visited one, it came as some surprise to conclude that it was probably the ideal medium to fulfil my requirements, specifically:
  • To produce a permanent photographic and written record of my 120 OTS restoration.
  • Make this available to any one interested in following the project.
  • Allow some level of comment and discussion from other owners / enthusiasts.
For those unfamiliar with the workings of this amazing facility (as I was) the most confusing aspect is that the posts are reverse order i.e. the last (most recent) post appears first.  It's a learning curve for me, so the content will hopefully improve with time.

The following pictures illustrate the condition of 1950 XK120 OTS  Reg KRU600 offered for auction 15th December 2010.  Three owners from new, the first being Mrs V Maitland of Bournemouth who drove it in the Exeter Trial within a few days of taking delivery towards the end of December 1950 - around 60 years to the day of my acquisition from Bolden Auctions near Sunderland.  The previous owner, a Mr Crosby bought the car in May 1965 and quickly embarked on a light restoration including a respray, but first removing the boot lid, bonnet and chrome .  Unfortunately the project stalled and the car was stored in a very small garage which was also home to the central heating boiler of the adjoining bungalow.  This warm dry location I believe prevented any further deterioration.
I understand Mr Crosby was taken into care in 2010 and despite great efforts by relations to discover where the parts previously removed were stored, his memory had failed him.
Looks dreadful but is actually very straight and solid.
No obvious evidence of accident damage.
Nice rare colour combination - Old English White with Cream / Brown trim
Passenger seat squab missing - Anyone out there got one - same colour
and degree of patination?
Plate agrees with Heritage Certificate.  Chassis # 660295
 but engine # W2142/7 replaced with W3380/8 at some point.
Tyres maintained pressure when re inflated - after 45 years !
Boot Lid, Bonnet, Windscreen and bumpers missing.

Head Light Pods were stuffed with News Paper - Sporting Life 2nd April 1966

Lot 309 – Water colour, Bird of Prey.   Lot 310 Jaguar XK120 Roadster.   Lot 311 A Rocking Horse.
As Lot 310 appeared on the TV screen, four members of the Auction Room staff moved into view of the auctioneer, presumably to take phone bids.  Apart from a man in an Arthur Daley Camel Coat and another, the epitome of a car dealer character opposite, every other person in the room looked typical “antique dealer”.   The Auctioneer briefly explained that contrary to the listing, Chassis Number 660295 contained Engine Number  W3380-8 not W2147-7.
The bidding opened at £16,000. 4 minutes later it slowed and stopped at £27,500 and I was the new owner of KRU600 and incredibly I had not reached my final cut off figure.  Did somebody know something I didn’t?  Apparently not, because within an hour of arriving back home, I received a call from the Auctioneer asking if I would like to take an immediate and significant profit from a very well respected top end Southern based Classic Jaguar Specialist who had somehow missed the auction.
 I am sorry you missed it fellas, but if you’re reading this, thanks for the offer.  You made a good day perfect.
This story really starts in December 2007 with the fulfilment of a long term ambition – the purchase of a well worn but very straight XK140FHC. The restoration took me two years and I enjoyed last summer driving around 6,000 miles in the UK and Europe.  After a series of 50’s and 60’s sports cars, the XK was revelation, but a little warm inside in the 36 degree heat of the Le-Mans Classic.  I decided that my next project should be an XK roadster to make the ideal “pension plan” pair. 
KRU600 came up for sale at a Fine Arts Auction at Bolden, County Durham on December 15th 2010.  Part of a house (and garage) clearance it had been taken of the road in 1966 apparently for a cosmetic makeover.  It looked dreadful, in multi-coloured primer, flat tyres, old masking tape and the head lamp pods still stuffed with 1966 copies of Sporting Life!  For some reason the re-paint stalled and the car had been dry stored ever since.  At some point the bonnet, boot lid, passenger seat squab Windscreen rear lights and Bumpers had been removed and lost.  The previous owner (since 1965), due to illness has no recollection of where they went.  In all other respects it appeared to be remarkably straight and solid, certainly a good deal better (but noticeably less shiny) than my 140 when bought.  
Three days after the auction and we collect the car from Bolden along with a few boxes of assorted bits included in the lot and all part of the same garage clearout.  Mostly scrap except for a pair of Twin Choke 40DCO Webers, a pair of very good Daimler V8250 heads and a new looking or just re-conditioned Laycock overdrive box.  Sorting through a box of air line connectors and masses of spray gun spares, I come across the original bonnet badge which makes the time spent worthwhile.
Closer inspection of the car on a lift reveals a virtually rust free body and chassis and every fastener I’ve so far attempted to undo has given up more or less without a fight.  The body off “nut and bolt” restoration will start in earnest this spring with completion planned for May 2013 just in time for it’s 63rd birthday and my 65th.   Birthday presents for the 120 will definitely include the two most beneficial upgrades so far fitted to my 140, a CJ 5 speed (TremecT5) box and front brake upgrade.
If you have some of my missing parts tucked away in your loft and would like to exchange them for cash, then would really appreciate an email.
Post Script : The local paper ran a short article about the auction sale which prompted a contact from Mr Fred Gill of Sunderland.  Fred tells me he owned a 1950?? XK120 roadster Reg No CBR 395 from 1955 to around 1980 when he sold it he believes to an Austrian gentleman.  Fred raced the car extensively during his ownership and tells me he has some excellent pictures and also some cine-film of the car in action.  Does David Bentley or anyone else know of its whereabouts?  If so, Fred would love to have an update on the car, which having made it to 1980, must surely still survive.  Any information to me please at the aforementioned email address.