This is a 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe photographed at the 2014 Art of the Car Concours in Kansas City, MO last summer.
The XK120 was to be Jaguar's first sports car since the SS 100, which ceased production in 1940. It was first created by Jaguar in the late 1940's and meant to be a low-volume dream machine instead of a serious production model. That all changed when Jaguar first presented the car at the 1948 Earl's Court Motorshow in London and a large contingent of show-goers were amazed by the sleek new Jaguar and its striking lines. The XK120 has both parts beauty and performance, something that Jaguar boss William Lyons is said to have borrowed from the prewar BMW 328.
The vehicle was first launched in Roadster form in 1948 as a test mule for the new XK engine. Production of the vehicle began in 1949, and it contained an in-line double overhead camshaft six cylinder engine that displaced 3.4 liters and was rated at 160bhp. The "120" in the model name refers to the 120mph top speed, making it the fastest production car available that year. Other features included a four-speed manual gearbox and alloy bodywork. All this resulted in a 0 to 60 time of less than 10 seconds, which was quick for the day.
The starting price was around $3,940 in the United States and performance was on a par with much more exotic machines costing twice as much. You will notice that this particular model shown has the wire wheels that were optional at the time it was built. All models of the Jaguar XK120 were equipped with removable full rear wheel spats, you'll also notice that this particular one is missing the rear wheel spats that adorn most models of this era.
From 1949 onward developments were gradual and subtle, including new integrated parking lights in 1951 and foot well air vents in 1952 (the rectangular shaped cut-outs can be seen in the interior and exterior photos). Dashboards and door-caps in both the drop-head coupe and the fixed-head coupe were wood-veneered, as seen in the interior photo. Leather was also an option.
The Jaguar XK120 was a fast and beautiful machine and was even successful on the race track in its day. Eventually 12,078 Jaguar XK120's would be sold around the world by the end of its production run.