This exquisitely restored XK120 Lightweight from Jaguar Classic is ready for action
After winning a televised competition in 2001 in the UK, David Gandy has gone on to great success as a fashion model. Gandy, a serious Jaguar enthusiast, drove a vintage XK120 in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Mille Miglia rally. He liked the XK120 so much that he commissioned Jaguar’s in-house restoration shop, Jaguar Classic, to recreate a XK120 Lightweight for vintage racing.
The project took nearly a year to complete at Jaguar Classic’s Warwickshire Classic Works facility, with about 2700 hours of labor invested. It took five and half months just to meticulously rebuild the 3.4-liter inline-six XK engine, but that was only after finding a suitably solid 1954 XK120 donor car in California.
Output was increased by 45 horsepower to 225, with special attention paid to durability at race speeds. A quick-shifting four-speed racing transmission was installed, and the drum brakes were upgraded to discs up front with four-piston calipers. The brakes were not the only vintage components to be modernized. Fully adjustable shock absorbers, not available 60 years ago, allow for fine tuning the suspension.
The restoration was finished with four coats of solid black exterior paint. Twin, cut-down aero windscreens, as featured on the original XK120 Lightweight, and a racing-style flip-top gas cap give the vintage Jag a purposeful look. Inside, tan latticed aged saddle leather upholsters custom bucket seats with racing-inspired aluminum backs, which were customized for Gandy’s 6’3” frame. A custom, 15-inch riveted wood-rim, aluminum-spoke steering wheel tops off the restomod and gives him a bit more legroom than the larger stock tiller.
Calum McKechnie, Head of Jaguar Classic, said in a statement, “This unique XK120 showcases the expertise, skill and craftmanship that Jaguar Classic makes available for all of its customers. Not only were we able to bring this iconic sports car back to life mechanically, but the attention to detail and the bespoke design of the interior sets David’s car apart.”
Gandy is very happy with the results. “Having driven a Jaguar XK120 at the Mille Miglia in 2013 and 2014, I knew that I wanted to own one of these incredibly special cars,” he said. “The team at Jaguar Classic have done such a remarkable job engineering this car and executing everything that I asked for and it was amazing to have such an in-depth involvement in its creation.”