Sunday, 4 December 2011


Choice of colour has been an ongoing consideration since starting this project in earnest in spring.  Although many months away from painting the car, I need to make the decision now so that the door hinges can be painted prior to the wing sides being re-fitted.    Main contenders being British Racing Green, (BRG) Metallic Silver and White.  Each has its plus and minus points:

British Racing Green
Definitely my favourite classic car colour.  After a nut and bolt 3 year restoration of a Healey 3000 around six years back, I thought it looked fabulous in BRG but strangely, I didn't really enjoy driving it.  After all that work this was a bit of a disappointment.  Very subjective, I know, but I can only deduce that Big Healey devotees have never tried XK's!
Ralph Lauren had a early works aluminium 120 OTS in BRG in his L'arte De L'automobile exhibition in Paris this summer  and it easily held its own in the style stakes in the company of multi-million pound Bugattis, Ferraris and Alphas.

My gorgeous looking but disappointing to drive Healey 3000
BRG scores a big minus however, because apart from it not being the cars original colour, it was not available until March 1952 so effectively a non original colour for any 1950 XK120. 
Also, I already have an XK in BRG all be it a rather unusual shade and referred to by our local Jaguar Drivers Club Chief, Mr Geoff Mansfield as DMO (Drab Military Olive)  However, this BRG/DMO 140 FHC, unlike the Healey 3000 makes up for any cosmetic shortfall with its superb performance, handling and amazing high speed - easy 90MPH - cruising ability (considering its 1955 build date)

The ultimate classic touring car.  In BRG or DMO.  I doesn't
really matter.  If you want to get places quickly, in relative
comfort and subtle style , this is THE car to do it in.  
Final nail in the coffin for BRG however came from wife Angela who simply proclaimed one old green banger is already one too many!   Many years ago, I was confident that I'd won her over on our first (blind) date, after arriving at the pub in my newly restored (BRG would you believe) flat rad Morgan, looking like a total prat, replete with flying helmet and goggles. Could it be that she has never forgiven me after the oil pressure gauge quietly dripped black oil onto her new white pleated mini skirt.  At the time, I saw the oil stain as an appropriate initiation into my old car world, but I am starting to wonder if after 37 years, this was a youthful misjudgement.

Metallic Silver.
It took a while to convince Alex, from Auto-Bodycraft that metallic paint even existed in 1949. Obscure plus point but curiously satisfying.  It was a factory option standard colour from the launch of the 120 but was discontinued in November 1952.  I wonder why - lack of orders, difficult to get right perhaps?

Silver 120 takes on a strange hue under the lights of the NEC
Body may actually be sterling silver at this price!
It seems there are literally hundreds of versions / hues / tints / shades of metallic silver.  It doesn't help the case for silver that it apparently accounted for 26% of all cars produced in 2010

White / Old English White / Cream
The Heritage certificate lists my car as cream, but the old brown log book says white.  The first owner, Vernon Maitland (See Post 12) in an email to me says the Heritage certificate is incorrect, and states very positively "My car was not cream, it was white"
According to some knowledgeable sources these are simply name variations for one and the same colour but they do look different to me from period pictures.  This could of course be down to photographic processing or  fading of white / cream to another shade or even variations in factory paint.  I guess after 60 plus years  its difficult to be sure.  What is certain is that it would be good to retain the original colour.  This is further enforced when respected XK expert Ian Mills of Twyford Moors tells me that White (Cream) with red upholstery is the the top spec when it comes to selling 120 OTS's.  - Executor take note!

Then I come across this picture. Decision made.

I don't know why this is so intrinsically right, but it absolutely is!
And this is exactly what I hope to achieve.
Image from XK Data
Post script.  I have since discovered that this is the car once owned by Daily Express cartoonist Giles.

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