Though Jaguar is now a subsidiary of Ford, the marque is still esteemed for its pre- and post-World War II reputation for luxury saloons and competitive sports cars. In 1948, Jaguar had thrilled the motoring world with its XK 120, still sought after and enjoyed for its mean, lean, sporting lines. Nine years and the XK 140 later, the company’s wealth of racing and marketing experience was poured into the XK 150, the last and most glamorous of its species.
Obvious family resemblances were misleading: the XK 150’s subtly improved, but still old world styling incorporated extensive modernization that paved the way for both the stylistic Great Statement of the E-Type and the mechanical glories of the XK engine-powered sports saloons of the 1960s.
In fact the first XK 150s were not as quick as their predecessors. Their beefed-up curves (with the new one-piece windscreen, wider bonnet and wing line raised almost to door level, the heavier car still looked as athletically poised and dangerous as the leaping mascot itself!) relied on the XK 140’s standard 3.4 engine. But from 1958, the 3.4 and (later) 3.8 liter versions could be tuned to ‘S’ form, restoring real performance to match the car’s aura of stylish menace. You could have a Fixed Head Coupe (FHC), a two-to-three seater like the Drop Head Coupe (DHC), or the Roadster.
In the XK150’s short production life (to October 1960), almost 10,000 owners succumbed in equal measure to the magic of the three versions. Subsequently, in his first film as actor/director, Clint Eastwood immortalized one of them in Play Misty For Me. In every way, the XK 150’s bears the hallmarks of discriminating taste: like so many Jaguars, it talks quietly, and walks the walk effortlessly, on demand.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1957 (until 1960)
DOHC Straight Six (available as 3.4/3.4S and 3.8/3.8S)
A 3.4 l XK 150S FHC achieved a top speed of 132 mph (212 km/h) and 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.8 secs.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
What we now know as Jaguar Cars was founded in 1922 as the Swallow Sidecar Company. After World War II, the company had to change its name because of ‘associations’ with the initials forming its previous logo – SS.