The XK150 appeared in the Spring of 1957 and was the most refined of the XK trio. One of the last Jaguars to have a separate chassis, the 150 marked the beginning of the civilization of the Jaguar sports car. With its wider girth and creature comforts, it was to hold the market’s interest until the then-secret E-Type project was ready for unveiling in 1961.
In the late 1950s, the XK150 was a seriously glamorous machine, almost as sleek as an Aston Martin, but cheaper. March 1958 saw more power with the “S” performance package, which brought the 3.4 up to 250 bhp; and in 1959 the 3.8’s output soared to 265 bhp. Available as a roadster, drophead, or fixed-head coupe, the 150 sold a creditable 9,400 examples in its four-year run. Despite being eclipsed by the E-Type, the 150 was charismatic enough to be the personal transport for racing ace Mike Hawthorn and startlet Anita Ekberg.
From the rear, the fixed-head has definite sedan lines, with its curved rear window, big wraparound bumper, wide track, and cavernous trunk.
XK150s have fallen in price and can now be bought for the same price as an Austin Healey 3000, a Daimler Dart or a Sunbeam Tiger.
The rarest model is the XK150S drophead coupe, with a mere 193 cars built.
The classic, twin overhead-cam design first saw the light of day in 1949, and was phased out as recently as 1986.
PURE CAT PROFILE
The gorgeous curved body sits on a conventional chassis. Joints and curves were smoothed off at the factory using lead. The 1950s’ auto industry paid little thought to rustproofing, so all Jaguars of the period are shameful rust-raisers.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Jaguar XK150 FHC (1957–61)
BODY STYLES Two-seater roadster, drophead, or fixed-head coupe.
CONSTRUCTION Separate pressed-steel chassis frame with box section side members.
ENGINES Straight-six, twin overhead-cam 3442cc or 3781cc.
POWER OUTPUT 190 bhp at 5500 rpm (3.4); 210 bhp at 5500 rpm (3.8); 265 bhp at 5500 rpm (3.8S).
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual, with optional overdrive, or three-speed Borg Warner Model 8 automatic.
SUSPENSION Independent front, rear leaf springs with live rear axle.
BRAKES Dunlop front and rear discs.
MAXIMUM SPEED 135 mph (217 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 7.6 sec (3.8S)
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 18 sec
A.F.C. 18 mpg (6.4 km/l)