The Jaguar XKs. Beautiful and classy cars.

The Jaguar XK cars, namely the Jaguar XK120, Jaguar XK140 and Jaguar XK150 were the 1950s catalyst to the global pre-eminence of British sportscars and the UK motorsport industry.

We had the pleasure of attending a XK Media Day at Bicester Heritage held by the XK Club in April 2024, you can read that article here.


In the face of monumental change to personal mobility, led by the drive for sustainability and minimising climate change, an alliance headed by the International Jaguar XK Club and specialist British companies has been established to remind and reinforce the unique contribution the Jaguar XK made to global sportscar culture and, indeed, to Britain.

Launched in 1948, the Jaguar XK was of massive significance, not only leading Britain’s ‘export or die’ dollar crusade after the war and thus directly affecting the British economy, but also because it sired the racing Jaguar C-Types (below) that won Le Mans in 1951 and 1953.

The significance of this was twofold and cannot be over-emphasised…
Firstly, two motorsport events featured on the front pages of every US newspaper: Indianapolis and the Le Mans 24-Hour race. Jaguar winning Le Mans put this unknown British company on the map worldwide.
Secondly, this was the first post-war major success for a British team in motorsport worldwide. Other British teams would pick up the baton and go on to dominate Formula 1, but it all started with the Jaguar XK and its pioneering engine design.

Aside from motorsport, Britain earned untold dollars from the subsequent sports cars that other British manufacturers produced – forgotten and faded names such Triumph, Sunbeam, Austin Healey and, of course, MG when it was British. XKs led the way.

Their significance cannot be over-stated:

The XK120 (above) was officially the fastest production car in the world.

It was powered by an all new twin overhead camshaft engine.

This was clothed in an advanced, all-enveloping body of great sculptural beauty.

The stunning looks were more than skin deep as proved by success on the racetrack.

This racing car performance was allied to exceptional docility – 10mph to 120mph+ in top gear.

Established as the greatest sportscar in the world in the ‘50s, the XK120 would be succeeded by the XK140 and the XK150.


The XK Legacy

Uniquely significant in car culture, the XKs led Britain’s ‘Export or Die’ dollar crusade in post-war Britain. Beloved of Hollywood stars and well beyond. Over a twelve-year period, from 1948-1960, the series of three XK models established the global pre-eminence of British sporting cars. Some 86% were exported worldwide, burnishing British engineering’s reputation. Primarily responsible for establishing the Jaguar brand image globally.

The enduring international appeal of the XK continues today, providing an eco-friendly, practical, stylish and exciting ‘passport’ to a delightful lifestyle for those who appreciate the art and flavour of proper motoring. An estimated global 15,000 of the highly collectible XK120, 140 & 150 models survive.

The XK engine would power five Le Mans winners, the sensational E-type launched in 1961, silent executive saloons in the ‘70s and ‘80s, record-breaking power boats, fire engines, armoured cars – arguably the greatest and most versatile engine ever produced.

Amongst others, XKs are owned by Ralph Lauren, Jenson Button, David Gandy, Brooklyn Beckham, Jay Leno and Harrison Ford, and were owned by Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Mike Hawthorn (1958 World Champion), Donald Campbell, Micky Spillane, Stirling Moss, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ray Milland, Anita Ekberg, Tyrone Power, Neville Shute, Kim Novak.

About the ‘XK Alliance’

– Led by the International XK Club, the world’s only club dedicated to historic XK Jaguars.

Established in 1997 with 1,500 global members.

Allied to a select group of leading professional companies – predominantly classic Jaguar specialists – with a joint revenue of several million pounds and a distinguished international customer base…

Pendine Historic Cars, SNG Barratt, Twyford Moors, CKL Historic Cars & Racing, WinSpeed, Sustainable Fuels by Coryton, Guy Broad, Classic Motor Cars, William Heynes

The Mission

Philip Porter, founder of the International XK Club, comments:
“The International XK Club and our specialist partners have a focused mission to co-operate to sustain the Jaguar sporting image established by the classic XK. This comes in the face of Jaguar abandoning the traditional sports car culture, upon which their image was established, with a new focus on manufacturing high-end electric vehicles.

The Jaguar brand has lost its lustre. Significantly this cascades down to the classic Jaguar world causing those whose livelihoods depend on the heritage and undoubted virtues of the models from the past, to join forces to promote those virtues and remind the world that Jaguar built great cars which were world-leaders such as the pre-eminent sport car of the ’50s, the Jaguar XKs, and equally sensational E-types of the ‘60s.

The classic Jaguar specialist industry in the UK alone employs more than a thousand people and has a turnover of several million pounds. It is also a major exporter of parts to all corners of the globe. Of course, much water has flowed under the bridge since that 12-year XK period from 1948. However, it is crucial that the brilliant XKs continue to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Consequently, we are pleased to announce that The International XK Club, in conjunction with our specialist partners who have joined us at this event, are working together on a series of initiatives to sustain the classic Jaguar sportscar image. This event is the start.

This will involve communicating to a wider public than previously and to do so in a spirited manner that reflects the Jaguar brand in its XK heyday. We will be announcing more in due course.

This XK Media Day is the start of an initiative that will inform and enthuse, with the single-minded objective of keeping alive the Jaguar and XK legacy.”

I for sure do think that the Jaguar XKs are beautiful and classy cars. I am very tempted to get a XK120 Roadster and if the the car below ever comes up for sale, who knows, I may add to my car collection.

If you are a fan of these cars, or want to know more, I highly recommend the books from Porter Press, which you can view here, and get a 10% discount by using our discount code: Heaven10.

10% off Porter Press books


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