Jaguar Classic has completed a bespoke XK120 sports car restoration commissioned by renowned British male model and life-long Jaguar enthusiast David Gandy. The 11-month project, which was a close collaboration between David Gandy and Jaguar Classic’s experts at its Classic Works facility in Warwickshire, took 2,700 hours to complete. Following a brief to make it race-ready for classic motorsport events such as the Jaguar Classic Challenge, the car’s specification is inspired by the original XK120 Lightweight.
Jaguar Classic’s dedicated sourcing team tracked-down a suitable 1954 base car in California, US, and has retained as much of the original car as possible.
The in-line six-cylinder unit was meticulously rebuilt over five and a half months, with the final objective to use the car for racing. The result is a performance upgrade from the original 180bhp output to 225bhp and enhanced durability for higher speeds, with items like the core plugs featuring steel bracing so they don’t dislodge during high-performance driving. An all-new, upgraded exhaust system features dual pipes instead of the usual single pipe.
Further improvements include the use of a faster-shifting racing-style gearbox which is more durable under high stresses and uprated brakes, with the front set-up now featuring disc brakes with four-pot calipers while the rear retains the original refurbished drum brakes. The suspension features fully adjustable dampers, allowing the Classic team to fine tune the handling for specific events.
“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. 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”David Gandy
The design and finishing touches were created in collaboration with David, who chose the colour and materials at every step of the renovation. The exterior is finished in solid black, made up of 13 litres and four coats of paint, while additional exterior features include a racing-inspired flip-top fuel cap. The original split-screen windscreen has been replaced by twin aero screens, another feature synonymous with the XK120 Lightweight.
Inside, the car is just as unique. Finished in an Aged Saddle tan leather, the seats feature a bespoke lattice design with the seatbacks finished in aluminium rather than the usual fabric material. While two batteries would usually sit behind the driver’s seat, for this car the Classic team put a single battery behind the passenger seat to free up space behind the driver, to enhance comfort for 6ft 2inch tall David. This was also a consideration for the choice of steering wheel, which is smaller than normal to provide more legroom.