Debuting in 1948 at the Earls Court Motor Show, the XK120 Roadster by Jaguar created a sensation, triggering unexpected high demand. Originally envisioning a limited run of 200 units in the first year, Jaguar, under William Lyons, revamped its construction strategy. Collaborating with Pressed Steel Fisher, they transitioned to an all-steel body while preserving the original’s allure.
Powered by the XK engine, a 3.4-liter “six” generating 160bhp, the XK120 demonstrated its speed prowess on the Jabbeke to Aeltre autoroute in 1949, reaching an impressive 132mph with the hood and windscreen removed. This achievement marked a turning point for Jaguar, prompting a shift in production plans. The XK120’s success challenged initial expectations, proving its appeal beyond the anticipated limited market.