The evolution of Jaguars infamous XK line includes some of the best instances of automotive history; a trifecta of wins at the 24 Hours of LeMans, countless road racing victories in the hands of privateers and factory backed teams in both Europe and the United States, and Victories at the 12 hours of Sebring, to name a few. It is without a doubt that from 1948-1961 Jaguar became a household name for anyone with even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the sports car. While the XK120 and XK140 and their C and D Type variants produced numerous wins with the company and privateer teams, the XK150 had very little to contribute to these statistics. However, it should be noted that out of all three (XK120/XK140/XK150) the XK150 took the best possible technology from its predecessors and was formed into the best possible road going sports car Jaguar could offer. It was in a sense the ultimate evolution of the infamous XK cars, the cars that put Jaguar on the map.
From 1958-1961 the XK150 was available in a variety of colors, formats, and even offered things such as an Automatic Transmission, overdrive, different radios, drive train options and in total could very much be tailored to the ordering customers specific liking. Ground breaking technology did come standard however, things such as 4-wheel disc brakes, the first ever in a production car, a powerful race bred 3.4L and 3.8L Twin Cam Straight 6, and upgraded HD8 SU Carburetors were now the standard. Later, in 1960 customers even had the option of a 265hp 3.8L S Specification motor, which would later become the engine for the infamous E-Type. The body received some new sculpting without ditching the classic look of its predecessors. A new one piece curved windshield, higher wing line in the doors, and a widened bonnet all contributed to a new look. A new package and an important evolutionary step for Jaguar just before it introduced an automotive icon a few years later.
The example on offer here, a 1960 Jaguar XK150 in FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) format is a very interesting example through and through, it is easily the most interesting XK150 we have experienced, and not because it is concours restored, in fact it’s for reasons of the exact opposite; it is superbly original. Chassis # S835780 was manufactured on September 12th, 1958 and left Coventry as a Mist Grey over light Blue Interior example sporting a Close Ratio Gearbox. Imported by Jaguar Cars, NY it was delivered to its selling dealer: Jaguar Midwest Distributors of Indianapolis, Indiana. On April 24th, 1959 it found its first owner, a Mr. Jerry Pursell also of Indianapolis, IN, and the total sales price for his nicely optioned XK150 Coupe was $4,750.00 but after his trade in of a 1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC Chassis # 679997, the total balance due was only $3,225.00. Mr. Pursell, an engineer by trade was very meticulous about the car and its condition, which would ultimately contribute to its preservation and the car we know it to be today.
With the coming of his unfortunate passing in 1985 the car was purchased through Mr. Pursell’s estate by a local Doctor, an Anesthesiologist who hardly drove the car and owned it only a year before offering it to it’s next caretaker and Jaguar Enthusiast: Mr. William Raymond Marsh of Grandville, MI. Mr. Marsh registered the Jaguar in Michigan on 3/3/87, and upon his acquisition the car showed 49,302 miles. He drove it sparingly realizing the extreme original condition the car was in and continued to preserve it only adding a set of tires and keeping it in proper storage. By the time he sold it to North Shore Sports Cars of Lake Bluff IL, the car showed 51,303 miles on it in 2004. Later that year it was traded to it’s 4th owner, a Mr. and Mrs. Kerr of Blue Hill Maine. Receipts show that the car received a clutch slave cylinder and rear shocks during their brief ownership which lasted until about 2011 when the current owner acquired the car. The current owner, a collector from Northern PA immediately recognized the cars well preserved state and did as much research as possible to hopefully confirm with previous owners as to his suspicions of original paint and original interior along with other interesting items on this car, his research confirmed both exact history of the car in terms of ownership and that it was indeed in the hands of the right owners and was well preserved and cared for throughout its life.
Upon the current owners acquisition of this 150 he commissioned some light servicing work to put the car in order for occasional road use. Receipts show 5 new tires from Coker, and Dalton Garage of Scranton, PA performing a total fluids change, new engine mounts, and a general tune-up. Today the car shows only 52,815 original miles, from new, well documented and actual which makes this a low original miles example. There are various little things about this car that really speak to its originality, ownership history and what a Jaguar XK150 was really like when it left the factory. Our professional opinion is that this car is only 20% or so original paint, the reason for this is that where the paint is rubbed through in a few spots or blemished; there is grey primer underneath the paint. When these cars were produced new, the factory used a sort of red oxide colored primer before applying the color coat. As a result, on some areas of the body we can note this, others, we note grey primer. However, it all has the same consistent dull luster that original paint sometimes has, and it easily goes with the theme of the car and it’s highly original presentation. In short, painting the car would be of no use, it has a genuine and very interesting appeal to it in its current format; a format that in today’s market is finally starting to be appreciated and sought after by collectors of well preserved and original cars.
Cosmetically the condition is that of an original driver quality example. The absolute first things one will notice are the original Lucas headlamps, correct and original Trico windshield wipers, and even the Lucas Fog Ranger driving lamps, a very rare and cool accessory. The panel fitment is undoubtedly factory and everything fits very well with no issues noted. The chrome is completely original and very well preserved as it was often cared for over the years. While there is some minor pitting on a few pieces the chrome is easily in line with the rest of the car and its overall theme of original. The glass is all the correct original glass that it left the factory with, all properly date coded. The rubber throughout the car is acceptable but some pieces do so signs of age, but replacing them wouldn’t make much sense as again, it really goes with the rest of the car and it is perfectly usable in its current state. The paint shows some blemishes here and there, a couple of small chips throughout, and it has been rubbed through in a couple of spots. The rocker panel behind the driver’s door also shows a very minute amount of oxidation forming. A view down the side of the car shows dead straight panels with some of the best door gaps we have seen on an XK. All in all there is nothing missing from the exterior, it would respectably show well in preservation class at any event including JCNA Sanctioned events. One thing is for absolute certain, this is a car that was absolutely never hit, never rusted, and never neglected and left to weather. Both the exterior, interior and overall condition of this car throughout in conjunction with the ownership history proves in detail that this car was thoroughly cared for and very well preserved; a very rare occurrence and something that should be held in high regard by any onlooker.
Upon entering the interior one noticed absolutely correct and factory door jams, with the smell of a good old jag hitting you only a second later, a pure smell of a real car that no restoration could ever produce. The seats define the word Patina as does the carpet and adorning leather items. In taking a very close look it appears as if the interior was always grey, peer closer and remove the rear seat cushion and one can notice that the factory Light Blue color, un-faded from the years is still present and prominent. The door panels are 100% original and complete as is the headliner, dash, seats and every single inch of the interior, without exception. We cannot tress enough the importance of how well this interior was preserved over the years and its current presentation, it’s stunning to say the least but is also a real point of observation for understanding what is truly correct per Jaguar Standards when it left the factory. All of the felt trim, rubber, chrome accents and knobs, pulls, switches, the underside of the dash and under the carpets etc… is all the way it should be right down to the serial numbering done on a variety of pieces on the interior. The Light blue faded paneling in the rear compartment is still perfectly intact, never touched and again a very impressive point of originality. The further one explores the interior the more can be learned. Opening the door prompts the working of the interior light. Pulling the tabs for the rear stowage compartment folds down the flap and reveals what the first owner, Mr. Pursell (en Engineer by trade) installed, a well fitting metal box with a few spares, just in case. It looks nearly factory and is far too cool and a great contribution to this cars history. Items such as the clamps that hold on the shift boot and emergency brake boot are original and correct. The period Motorola radio, most likely dealer installed is still present and it appears that early on, again also possibly done by the dealer when new, two toggles were installed for the Choke and Running/Fog Lamps, both of which have been with the car since new.
Inspecting the engine bay shows signs that the car was indeed painted as there are one or two instances of slight overspray or non original paint. However, the engine bay is adorned with high points of originality including correct original light blue paint on the head, air cleaner, and oil filter. Many stickers, date codes, and clamps are present throughout along with spot welds up the sides of the fender on the inside of the engine bay. In total all of the little things are there that account for high marks of originality. The trunk is perhaps one of the more interesting parts of the car, next to the interior of course. Opening it reveals a 110% pure and original space with absolutely original and correct linings, finishes and materials still present from Coventry. The trunk mat if turned over at the rear most edge reveals one of the cooler factory markings in big black numerals the body number is present, “9396” which matches the plate in the engine bay as well. Removing the mat altogether shows 100% original paint in near perfect condition, lifting the spare wheel cover shows a spare with a new tire and further removing that shows a near perfect set of original tools, jack, grease gun etc… While this is the #1 area on these cars to immediately rust or show signs of age this example, like the rest of it, shows incredibly well with only minor surface oxidation present otherwise 100% original and very impressive.
The underside of the car shows exactly as a 52K mile 55 year old car should, it’s a little dirty, a little greasy but ultimately this is a great thing considering this substantiates the fact that it has always been in use and never left to languish. It’s a driver overall but the frame rails are dead straight and the coatings are all factory with no rust or issues of any kind noted. In the few spots were final coats have chipped away we have noticed factory red oxide primer used by Jaguar when these cars were built new, a first and very rare sighting. Original numbered exhaust clamps are also present, and the bumper supports are also finished in factory red oxide primer. All just another fact to contribute to this examples highly original state
The operating of this XK150 is consistent with 52K miles; it starts easily, sounds and runs very strong with quick throttle response and all systems in proper working order. It drives well thought the brakes could use further sorting to be deemed 100% road worthy and safe for lengthy Journeys. The steering feels tight and there are no abnormal noises coming from the car. Overall we would say it has very good road manors though it would be beneficial and sensible to have it gone over and double checked to be certain the mechanical abilities are up to par as this is a car that should be used and enjoyed to be further preserved.
There are many XK150’s available on the market, a few at every auction and perhaps some to still be found in barns and garages here or there. The reality however is that seldom do highly original cars come up for sale, cars that are pure and embody the original tent of their manufactures design. The well over used adage of “they are only original once” is certainly applicable in this instance, however, we would prefer to bluntly say, buy a different car if you don’t understand this one. Complete with JDHT Certificate, original documentation (including original bill of sale), jack, spare, tools, and other related service documentation, this is an opportunity for any Jaguar enthusiast, collector of original cars, or onlooker who has been struck the right way to acquire a very special and unique XK150 that won’t disappoint.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)