1955 Jaguar XK140 SE FHC - $89,900
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There are no questions in its pedigree, as this is also verified with the included Heritage Certificate.

If there’s one company that has consistently built the prettiest cars on the road, my vote would be for Jaguar. From the first Jaguar in the 1930s (when the company was called, simply, SS) to the latest F-Type, few other automakers have been able to consistently create art on wheels as effortlessly as the gentlemen from Coventry. Perhaps the truest measure might be the ease with which they create closed cars—anyone can make a gorgeous convertible, but making a coupe or sedan look sexy is something altogether different. But there are many who would argue—myself included—that Jaguar coupes are perhaps even more appealing than their open-air siblings. Add a bit of practicality to the rakishness, all-weather comfort, and equal performance, and suddenly you have a car that should be on anyone’s short list of must-haves.

Which brings me to this gorgeous 1955 Jaguar XK140 coupe, or fixed-head coupe (FHC) in Jaguar parlance. There’s simply not a bad line on this car, and the 140 perhaps best embodies the early XK for the enthusiast: a bit more comfortable and spacious than the XK120 for today’s driver but still dramatic and curvaceous in a way that the XK150 was not. The roofline completely transforms the shape but it’s still instantly recognizable as a Jaguar, both from the front and from behind, as the roofline seems to parallel Jaguar’s larger saloon cars of the period. Finished in lovely Carmen Red, it is anything but subtle, but in typical British fashion, it is not extroverted. It attracts attention, but for all the right reasons. And I have few more delightful thoughts than imagining an arrival in this car in 1955, a time when everyone else was driving frumpy Chevrolets and Fords—the man behind the wheel of this car had truly made it. Even today, the styling remains jaw-dropping, from the dramatic fender line to the lovely details like the wing-mounted rear-view mirrors and the wonderful spine of chrome that bisects the hood and trunk lid (or bonnet and boot, depending on which side of the pond you’re on). I cannot help but admire this car each time I walk past it in the showroom.

The restoration is several years old and the car has been driven as intended; this was never a trailer queen. However, the long-term owner was also someone who understood the maintenance requirements of a Jaguar and as a result, it remains in fantastic condition throughout. There are almost no cosmetic blemishes to note beyond a few marks behind the front bumper which are an inevitable part of enjoying a car on the road. There are a few touch-ups that are visible upon close inspection, but if you don’t know where to look, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find them. The workmanship is excellent, with straight panels, very good body gaps, and a deep shine to the paint, which has an appropriate shine that isn’t too modern. We see no evidence that this was ever a rusty car, so no major surgery was required during the restoration. As is typical, the door fit isn’t quite perfect but it poses no issues to normal operation. However, you will note that both the bonnet and boot fit extremely well and do not rub adjacent panels, a difficult achievement with these cars. Obviously the chrome was fully restored with the rest of the car, and the bumpers, grille, and other detail pieces present extremely well with no notable demerits. And we are particularly fond of the screens over the headlights, which give the car a racy look.

The red leather interior is simply spectacular, offering a very correct look and accurate workmanship to create one of the very best driving environments of the period. The leather hides are in fantastic condition, a marked contrast to many of the XKs out there with interiors that look like they’ve been neglected or abused in the interest of “authenticity” and if you’re familiar with the work, you know it is not inexpensive to bring an interior to this level. The low-slung seats remain comfortable enough for cross-country jaunts and the materials are just wonderful—real burled walnut, fragrant leather, and plush wool carpeting all remind us that nobody does interiors better than the British. There is some light cracking of the lacquer on the dashboard fascia, although the timer itself is in excellent condition, and I’m not sure I would chase perfection here. All the original Smiths gauges are fully operational and that large 4-spoke steering wheel makes this lithe cat very easy to manage on the road. The 4-speed manual gearbox’s shifter is almost delicate in design and requires no more than your fingertips to run through the gears, and the heavy chrome handles on the switchgear feels substantial. It is worth noting that the original radio has been removed but it is available with the car should the new owner wish to have it, and the horn is not currently operational through the horn button, but a replacement button is in place on a block-off plate where the radio used to live. Otherwise, it is fully operational.

The coupe also offers plenty of room for touring, with seats that travel far enough for even the tallest drivers, small back seats that are acceptable for children (or extra baggage), and a flip-down compartment under the rear package shelf. There’s plenty of headroom for tall drivers and the cabin feels bright and airy with those large windows. In back, a correctly trimmed boot offers acceptable cargo space and includes a matching spare tire assembly with jack, wrench, and grease gun. And yes, the spare tire well is in excellent condition with no signs of rust or rot, a common place for issues in these cars.

This car is a real SE model, which indicates a C-Type cylinder head for perhaps 20 additional horsepower. It still carries its original engine and cylinder head, both stamped G5690-8S, which indicates that it is a 3.4 liter XK140 engine with 8:1 compression and C-Type cylinder head. There are no questions in its pedigree, as this is also verified with the included Heritage Certificate. The engine was fully rebuilt at the time of restoration and runs superbly with the power and smoothness for which these cars have become rightfully famous. Turn the key and listen for the electric fuel pump to tick for a few seconds, and once the system has properly pressurized itself, hit the starter button. Thanks to a new automatic choke that was standard on the XK140, the car fires almost instantly and idles well even when it’s cold. Once it is properly warmed up, it happily burbles at about 700 RPM with that characteristic inline-6 rasp that enthusiasts find so delightful. On the road, there’s always torque available and the energetic engine pulls the coupe with genuine authority. Oil pressure remains excellent and it does not run hot, giving you the confidence you need to use this car as intended. You will note that a modern fuse panel has been integrated into the electrical system, but that seems to be the lone deviation from stock spec. It’s also beautiful to look at, with its polished cam covers, bright red engine enamel, and correct detailing throughout.

It's difficult to verify whether the transmission is original to the car once the car is assembled, but we have no reason to believe it is not. Clutch take-up is light and once the gearbox is properly warmed up, shifts are effortless (it will grind the 1-2 shift if you rush it when cold). The chassis shows signs of use, of course, but no critical rust or other concerns. There are two repairs on the areas just behind the battery boxes that were professionally done, but we can see no other issues. The exhaust system is correct and has a wonderful soundtrack and thanks to standard rack-and-pinion steering, this car tracks and steers extremely well. The brakes have been recently and extensively serviced with new hoses and hardware visible at all four corners and the shocks give it that amazing Jaguar ride quality. Correct wire spoke wheels are nicely finished with real knock-off hubs and a set of 8.00-16 Firestone tires that look right.

This car includes a Heritage Certificate with all numbers matching those on the car and showing that it was originally delivered to Los Angeles, California, where it apparently spent most of its life.

The XK140 SE FHC has the lowest production figures of all the XK140s, with some sources suggesting only 366 were built with left-hand drive. It represents perhaps the best balance of performance, comfort, and usability, making it the ideal car for long-distance touring events. With proven reliability, long-term ownership, and an excellent older restoration, this wonderful Jaguar needs nothing to be enjoyed immediately. Call today!

Vehicle: 1955 Jaguar XK140 SE FHC
Price: $89,900
Stock Number: 115047
Mileage: 95,691
VIN: S815015
Engine: 3.4 liter DOHC inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 102 inches
Wheels: 16-inch wire wheels
Tires: 8.00-16 Firestone
Exterior Color: Carmen Red
Interior Color: Red leather
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