CLARK GABLE’S 1952 JAGUAR XK120 ROADSTER
In the glitzy world of Hollywood’s Golden Age, where stars shone as brightly as the silver screen itself, one name stood out above the rest: Clark Gable. Known as the “King of Hollywood,” Gable was not only celebrated for his acting prowess but also for his exquisite taste, which extended beyond the realms of cinema and into the realm of automobiles. In 1952, Gable’s choice of wheels was none other than the iconic Jaguar XK120, a car that would forever be associated with both speed and style.
The Jaguar XK120 was not just any car; it was the fastest car in the world during its heyday in 1952. With its sleek lines and powerful engine, it redefined the standards for both performance and design, earning its place as one of the most beautiful cars ever produced. But what truly sets Gable’s XK120 apart from the rest is the personal touch he added to it.
Gable’s XK120 was a masterpiece of automotive customization. He specified a range of performance options that included wire wheels, which added a touch of elegance, and louvers on the bonnet, which not only enhanced its appearance but also improved engine cooling. And for a man who enjoyed his rounds of golf, Gable had a custom factory-installed luggage rack fitted to the car, ensuring there was always space for his beloved golf clubs.
With his beloved XK120 in hand, Gable embarked on a remarkable journey. Over the course of 18 months, he crisscrossed the European continent, creating memories that would last a lifetime. From the charming streets of Paris to the historic roads of Rome, Gable and his Jaguar XK120 became the stuff of Hollywood legends.
In 1953, Gable returned to California with his XK120, bringing with him the stories of his European adventures and the admiration of car enthusiasts around the world. But as the tides of time continued to flow, Gable decided to part ways with his beloved roadster, selling it to one Irving Robbins Jr., a fortunate individual who would now carry the torch of this automotive masterpiece.
Fast forward to 1982, and fate intervened once again. The car was acquired by the father of the current owner, marking the beginning of a meticulous restoration journey that would span five years. The goal was clear: to ensure that Gable’s XK120 would retain its original engine, transmission, and bodywork, preserving its authenticity and historical significance for generations to come.
Today, this famous XK120 stands as a testament to the enduring allure of classic automobiles. It embodies the spirit of an era when Hollywood’s brightest stars chose their cars with as much care as they chose their roles. And now, this automotive gem is set to make a grand appearance on the auction stage.
In May 2023, car enthusiasts and collectors from around the world will converge in Cernobbio, Italy, for the chance to own a piece of Hollywood history. Clark Gable’s 1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, a car that encapsulates the essence of an era, will take center stage, ready to find its next custodian.
As the gavel falls and the final bid is accepted, the legacy of Clark Gable’s XK120 will live on, a symbol of an age when speed, style, and celebrity converged on the open road. It’s a story that reminds us that some cars are not just machines; they are works of art, pieces of history, and, in this case, a piece of Hollywood royalty.