This Jaguar XK120 Is All About The Challenge Of Driving Well
Story by Jordan Harris, photography by Emerson Harris
I’ve had a car in my hand from my earliest memories; my father took me to road races when I was a kid, also. (He taught he me to drive in a 1969 Alfa.)
Anyway, having always loved the elegant simple lines of the Jaguar XK120, I found a project car that was being prepared for the Pan-American race across Mexico. Two things: first, I just loved how the car looked and second, having driven modern Formula racing cars for some time, I was excited about the challenge of driving a more primitive vehicle well. I had a long career racing Formula Atlantic as well as FIA F2 series in Europe. Although I have several other special cars, this one has a special place in my heart as my wife and I fell in love in this car on our first California Mille when we had barely known each other a month.
It is a 1953 Jaguar XK120 SE in British Racing Green with a light green interior. “SE” stands for “Special Equipment” and represents the higher performance version of the car. Under the hood is a 3.4-litre 6 cylinder engine with a 4 speed gearbox; the car was in pieces when I bought it, and I had it built to my specifications.
My wife and I have done several California Mille’s, and the Copperstate Classic. Here in Marin County, we have some of the most amazing roads with stunning views that you can really experience while driving in the low open cockpit of the Jag. Between Highway 1 and the great roads over Mt. Tamalpais we have it all right here in our backyard. (We’ll join you sometime!–Ed.)