The final iteration of the XK sportscar line and the last Jaguar to carry a separate chassis, the XK150 was introduced in May 1957. While its use of independent torsion-bar front suspension, a 'live' leaf-sprung rear axle and rack-and-pinion steering mirrored the practice of its XK140 predecessor, the new model benefited from the option of all-round Dunlop disc brakes (though, in practice very few - if any - cars were delivered with drum brakes). Stylistically, the newcomer was brought up-to-date with less ostentatious curves and a larger, wrap-around single piece windscreen. The dashboard too was altered eschewing wood trim for padded leather. With the E-type still very much under development, Jaguar was keen to sustain the sporting reputation that a remarkable five Le Mans victories (1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957) had earned it.
Initially powered by a 3442cc derivative of the marque's race-proven DOHC straight-six engine, the XK150 could be specified with an enlarged 3781cc unit from late 1959 onwards. Available in Standard, Special Equipment or 'S' tune, the latter high-performance package comprised a Harry Weslake-modified cylinder head, more aggressive camshaft profiling, high compression pistons and triple SU carburettors. Like its lesser siblings, the XK150 'S' could be had in Fixed-Head Coupe, Open Two-Seater (Roadster) or Drophead Coupe guises. More expensive than the other bodystyles, the soft-top coupe boasted occasional rear seats and a fully lined hood. With a claimed 250hp on tap, the 'S' 3.4 Litre cars were reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds and 132mph. Among the rarest of all XK variants, total right-hand drive XK150 'S' 3.4 Drophead Coupe production is thought to have amounted to just 37 cars. Unsurprisingly, survivors are highly prized by collectors.
According to an accompanying Jaguar Cars Ltd Vehicle Information Sheet, this particular right-hand drive XK150 'S' 3.4 Drophead Coupe was manufactured on 29th May 1959. Finished in Pearl Grey with red leather upholstery and a black hood, it was desptached to Henlys of London a little over three weeks later. The numerous service records on file date back to June 1961 and show that the Jaguar was previously road registered as 'XMT 150' and 'MRA 363' before acquiring its current '1552 MW' number plate the following year. Thought to have passed through the hands of Messrs Aird, Grogan and Lines during the 1960s - or so surviving invoices issued by F.W. Mays & Co Ltd of Dorking, Surrey would suggest - the Jaguar spent the next twenty odd years in the possession of Chelsea resident, Jonathan Morse Esq.
Entrusted to the neighbouring Burgess Garage of Drayton Gardens, London SW10 between November 1970 and June 1975, the 2+2 seater benefited from routine maintenance and an extensive engine overhaul at 39,190 miles (reground crankshaft, rebored block, new timing chain, pistons, bearings, valves etc January 1971), while Classic Autos of Kings Langley were tasked with overhauling its back axle at circa 50,000 miles (July 1974). Fettled by Mr Morse himself during the 1980s, the Drophead Coupe was treated to regular oil and fluid changes as well as new disc brakes (1983), a Falcon stainless steel exhaust (1988), overhauled springs (1988) and fresh wishbone bushes (1989) etc. The early 1990s saw various chassis repairs (new L/H sill, steel floor / tunnel, battery boxes and L/H pillar / box channel etc) undertaken by Kat's of Klimpton, Herts not to mention the stripping and overhauling of the car's four-speed manual gearbox and overdrive units by Alan R. George of Clunderwen, Dyfed at 77,534 miles.
Enhanced via new clutch master / slave cylinders, reconditioned fuel pumps and a replacement petrol tank, the XK150 'S' was supplied to its last registered keeper, N. Lawrence Esq of Wayford, Crewkerne by Camberley Marine & Sportscars Ltd on 6th July 1993. Having part-exchanged an Aston Martin DB5 to help fund its purchase, Mr Lawrence commissioned the Jaguar Restoration Centre of Bridport, Dorest to rejuvenate his new charge shortly thereafter. Fitted with fresh door skins and sidelight pods etc, the 2+2 seater was refinished in its original livery / trim combination. Sporting refurbished chromework and replacement wire wheels, the car gained a new mohair hood envelope and crank damper in 1995 and 1998 respectively. Wren Classics of Shaftesbury, Dorset were responsible for carrying out some minor paintwork and brake system fettling etc during May 2003 (£3,519.98), while various old MOT certificates show that the Jaguar's odometer reading rose from 77,536 miles to 79,681 miles between May 1992 and September 2009.
Believed but not warranted to have covered just 80,000 miles from new, the Drophead Coupe's last major outing was a 500-mile round trip to the September 2009 Goodwood Revival where needless to say it was ushered into the pre-1965 Car Park.
Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions
Jaguar XK150S 1959 3.4 Litre Drophead Coupe
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