Tuesday 21st May 2019,

Jaguar XK 140 FHC and DHC 1954 – 1957

The XK 140 was much more than a facelifted XK120. Though the shape was very similar the structural layout was modified and improved. Jaguar had identified a market that wanted a more luxurious and better finished sports car.

The now legendary XK120 was best described as spartan and generally draughty. The new Jaguar XK140 was given more cockpit room by moving the windscreen, dash panel and bulkhead a little further forward. This gave the driver three inches more legroom and increased headroom. Unfortunately this created a problem of space under the bonnet (a problem that would exist on all Jaguar models except the E type).

On the XK120 the battery had lived in a box fitted to the bulkhead under the bonnet. With the windscreen and bulkhead moved forward it had to go somewhere else. In a move that defies the imagination they put the battery inside the right front wing, low down, under the inlet manifold. Fine for a new car, but later on in it`s life when it needed a battery change or a jump-start it proved almost impossible to get at. Mechanics of the day said it was almost quicker to remove the front wing. It never occurred to anyone (except the owners) that the best place for the battery was in the boot.

That said, it was a beautiful car that benefited from the revisions. Flashing indicators replaced the old-style semaphore arms, a modification quickly seized on by Jaguar XK120 owners. Deeper bumpers and a chrome strip down the centre of the car, front to back, made it look more substantial. Improvements included better brakes, rack and pinion steering and telescopic shock-absorbers.

The engine was straight from the XK120, still with the `C` type head option. An `SE` version was offered (as XK120) with stiffer suspension, `C type` head and twin exhausts. With all the walnut and leather the car was much more comfortable than the XK 120.

Body options;

Jaguar persisted with the roadster, now called OTS (open two seater) though most of these cars were destined for competition. Like the XK120 they were devoid of luxury inside. Most owners took the heavy new bumpers off and headed for Silverstone. The DHC and FHC were nicely finished and full of character. Jaguar was going to build such cars long into the future rather than build `instant racers`. As if to prove that point, in 1956 they became the first company to offer an automatic transmission on a sports-car!

The XK140 handled well which was fortunate as the brake revision had not made much difference to the stopping power. The roads were quieter then so it was not a big problem unless the pedestrians strayed off the pavement! The XK140 was supplied with a rather laughable rear seat that could accommodate two very small children (not recommended if the car was a drop-head!)

The Jaguar XK140 was a truly beautiful car, nicely filling the gap until the XK150 replaced it. A true classic.

Jaguar XK140 1954-1957
Body Type2 seater Roadster/Drophead and Fixhead coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Height (roadster)133452.5
Cargo VolumeVery respectable
Engine3.4 Jaguar XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power142 Kw190 bhp5500 RPM
Torque285 Nm210 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight134 bhp/t
Top Speed209 km/h130 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph9.5 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 seep automatic
Weight1422 kg3135 lb
Engine3.4 SE Jaguar XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power157 Kw210 bhp5800 RPM
Torque289 Nm213 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight148 bhp/t
Top Speed216 km/h134 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph8.6 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 seep automatic
Weight1422 kg3135 lb
GD Star Rating
Jaguar XK 140 FHC and DHC 1954 - 1957, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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