The Jaguar XKs

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When it was first launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, the Jaguar XK120 caused a sensation, not only for its sleek looks and curvaceous lines but also the startling performance of the new XK engine. As the author explains, this was the first production unit to feature twin overhead cam-shafts and an alloy cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers. All this added up to the stunning speed of 132 mph. In keeping with Jaguar’s principles, the car was comparatively affordable when compared to other contemporary "super cars." This highly readable and informative book tells the story of the development of the Jaguar XK series of cars as both the body and engine design were adapted to improve performance. When the XK120 reached the end of its production in 1954, having sold 12,000 units, the new XK140 was launched in 1954 with more space, better handling and even higher performance. The car was also now offered as an open two-seater, a fixed-head coupe or a drop-head coupe. Following the continuing success of the XK model, the book describes how, despite the devastating fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory in February 1957, the new XK150 was launched with revolutionary all-round disc brakes by Dunlop—all the more necessary in a car that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds and achieve a top speed of 136 mph.


John Nikas is the author of The British Sports Car Companion and Rule Britannia - When British Sports Cars Saved a Nation, which has been designated as the Chairman’s Selection for the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. He has authored dozens of articles on automotive topics for various publications and was the 2011 Recipient of the Denise McCluggage Award. He currently serves as the Director of Communications for Moss Motors, which is the world’s oldest and largest supplier of British sports car parts, and is the Director for the British Sports Car Hall of Fame.