Established in 1927, the Swallow Motor Company, after five years joined which had been manufactured motorcycle sidecars, William Lyons and William Walmsley introduced the SS1 in 1931, followed by the SS90 and in 1935 the SS100 models. They changed the company’s name to SS Cars Ltd (SS stood for “Swallow Sports”). The same year, the model name “Jaguar” was first used on the SS100 sedan, and Jaguar was adopted as the company and brand name after removing the SS, symbol of the Nazis, before the end of World War II.

After the war, Jaguar, keen to renew the SS100 sports model, planned to manufacture a 4-cylinder, 2-liter (122 cu.in.) sports car. They created a two-seater roadster style body built on the Jaguar Mark V chassis, handmade with aluminum panelling on an ash (wood) frame. This created great interest when introduced at the London Earl’s Court Motor Show by Lyons in the autumn of 1948. When it entered mass production, the XK 120 derived the letter “X” for “experimental”, “K” for its engine series and 120 for its top speed of 120 miles per hour. It used a completely new 6-cylinder, double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 3.4-liter (210 cu.in.) XK engine with 160 bhp using twin SU carburetors and 80-octane gasoline.

After the first production of 242 two-door roadster (OTS), mostly sold overseas with a price tag of 998 Pounds (2800 Dollars) in 1950, the body, doors, hood and the trunk remained aluminum, while the rest was replaced by pressed steel to reduce costs. A Fixed-Head Coupe (FHC) was introduced in 1951, while a Drophead Coupe (DHC) Cabriolet was introduced in 1953. These two models were built with much more luxurious equipment than the roadsters. Brought from the United States with its black twin in our Museum, the first of these production Jaguars was given to Hollywood movie actor Clark Gable.


  • Make Jaguar
  • Model XK 120
  • Model / Body Number Super Sports
  • Body Style Roadster
  • Year 1952
  • Origin England
  • Production Total 7,631
  • Passenger Capacity 2


  • Engine Jaguar XK6 3.4 Litre, 6 cyl, In-line, DOHC, Gasoline, 210.1 cu. inch, 160 bhp, 5200 rpm, Twin SU H6 Carburetor
  • Bore x Stroke 3.27 x 4.17 inch
  • Transmission Manual, 4-speed, synchro, floor shift
  • Top Speed 125 mph
  • Acceleration 0-60 mph, 10 s
  • Body / Frame Steel, open two-seater (OTS) / Steel, ladder type, box section
  • Suspension Front Independent, double-wishbones, torsion bar, shock absorbers
  • Rear  Semi-elliptic leaf springs, Girling PV7 shock absorbers
  • Electrical System 12 Volt (2×6), 64 Ampere
  • Brakes Hydraulic, servo, 4-wheels drum (Girling)
  • Wheelbase 102 inch
  • Overall Length 173 inch
  • Overall Width 62 inch
  • Overall Height 52.5 inch
  • Shipping Weight 2745 lbs
  • Front / Rear Tread 51 inch / 50 inch
  • Tires 6.00 x 16