Welcome to another post of What’s in Jay Leno’s Garage. In our last post, we wrote about one of Jay’s most unique and rarest vehicles, the 1909 Stanley Steamer. Today we take a look at one of Jay’s favorite cars, the 1954 Jaguar XK120M Coupe.
1954 Jaguar XK120M Coupe
Jaguar first released the XK120 in 1948, ending its hiatus from producing sports cars. Jay Leno owns the 1954 roadster and the hardtop couple models. The hardtop version of the 1954 roadster was equipped with roll-up windows and more creature comforts; the “M” stands for modified. Some say the XK120 M really put Jaguar on the map. The M Roadster set a speed record in 1952 by traveling over 100 mph for seven straight days and nights, stopping only to change drivers or refuel.
This Jaguar sports car’s stock drivetrain includes a 4-speed gearbox, 3422 cc DOHC motor and twin SU carburetors. The engine and gearbox are often described as bulletproof. The M-version produces approximately 180 horsepower, which is considered impressive performance for the 1950s. Jaguar used the inline 6-cylinder engine from the XK120 M Roadster in several other models up until 1987.
The Jaguar XK120 M is often regarded as one of the fastest and most successful sports cars of its era. Despite the limited space inside, Leno describes his 1954 Jaguar XK120 M Coupe as one of the most beautiful cars ever made. The intricate attention to detail and the value delivered to the car owner distinguish this model from the rest. The limited space is a concession many are willing to make for the superior style this vehicle offers.
The steering wheel is adjustable, and the interior is furnished with a beautiful wooden dashboard — these are just two of several delicate touches that make the vehicle exemplary of a classic Jaguar. This particular model has the key-lock equipped for opening the gas tank. The trunk is tailored with a beautiful finish and is equipped with a stock jack, spare tire and air hose. The hardtop features a stylish rear window and vent windows as well.
The XK120 M features a rear-semi elliptical spring suspension, independent front suspension and 4-wheel drum brakes that are operated hydraulically. Once drivers take the XK120 M for a spin, many are enamored with the craftsmanship of the mirrors, dials and switches throughout the interior. The main hazards that owners may need to be aware of include engine corrosion, the engine head, water levels and overheating. Jaguar ended production of the XK120 series in 1954, but the influence from its curvaceous style has remained prevalent in several popular models ever since.
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