The Jaguar XK120 was Jaguar's first post-war sports car, succeeding the SS 100, which had production ended in 1940. Introduced to the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine, the XK120 was to become a sensation. Its name, ‘XK120’, referenced its remarkable top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h), making it the world's fastest production car at that time.
Two convertible versions were made available; the OTS (Open Two-Seater) Roadster and the DHC (Drophead Coupé). A FHC (Fixed-Head Coupé) version was added from 1951. In all cases, the cars featured alloy cylinder head and twin side draft SU carburetors, and had an impressive dual overhead-cam 3.4 L straight-6 XK engine. Early hand-built models had bodies constructed from aluminum on an ash frames, whilst later mass-produced models featured pressed-steel bodies with aluminum doors, bonnet, and boot lid.
The roadster featured a lightweight canvas top and detachable sidescreens, and a barchetta-style door with an interior pull-cord. The drophead coupé had a padded canvas top which folded onto the rear deck. Both models had a recirculating-ball steering and telescopically adjustable steering column, independent torsion bar front suspension, semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear, as well as all-round drum brakes. Optional Alfin brake drums were available due to the drum brakes' tendency to fade.
In addition, the XK120 was available in a Special Equipment (or SE) version (called the M version in the United States) with increased power, stiffer suspension, dual exhaust system, and optional wire wheels.
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