CHASSIS NUMBER: 661161
The Jaguar XK120 was launched as an open two-seater (OTS) at the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 660001. The sports car caused such a sensation with so much demand from both the domestic and international market that Jaguar put the car into production the following year. Between 1950 and 1954 Jaguar built 1170 right hand drive open two seater models of this now iconic car.
In 1954 twenty three right hand drive OTS were produced of which only eleven were Special Equipment SE) models. In addition to wire wheels, upgrades on the SE version (called the M version for Modified in the United States) included increased power, stiffer suspension and dual exhaust system and were looked upon as a solid base for competition cars. Of the eleven just two were exported to the United States, our car (chassis 661161) and a sister car 661162. Both cars were SE and, unusually, were delivered in primer and bonnets in bare aluminium. Both were sold through the same Los Angeles dealer, Hornburg Inc. The first owner of 661161, Jerry Hardesty, had the car painted in its distinctive livery of red over silver with the bonnet mostly in bare metal.
Hardesty was real estate developer from St Louis as well as a noted Cattle rancher breeding Black Angus Cattle and later in his life was a board director of Ramada Inns and the Mark Twain Harvester Bank, a stalwart of the local community he was also a noted collector.
Hardesty started campaigning the car with a podium finish at the SCCA’s first annual meeting at Kansas City on Labor Day (6th September) 1954. A more comprehensive season followed in 1955, competing extensively with SCCA throughout the Mid West starting with a third overall at Coffeyville Kansas 8th May 1956 followed by 30th May at the second annual Iowa Sports Car Race competing against two Ferrari 212s; four Porsche 550 Spyders, two Jaguar C Types and four other XK120. The season continued with races at Lawrenceville and St Louis’ Smartt Field and at the end of the year he finished in 1st place in the SCCA championship.
His son Brett “my father raced the car in the Mid West and won several trophies and engraved silver plates that were displayed in my parents home as I was growing up. Smartt Field race circuit was one of the places I remember. The gear shift knob came off during one race and he shifted gears without the knob and bloodied up his hand. After he finished racing he turned the car into a show car and my mother talked about winning concours events.”
Hardesty’s love of Jaguars finished in 1962 when he sold his E Type to make way for his first Ferrari. The XK120 was eventually sold to a collector in Edwardsville Illinois and in more recent times it was owned by well-known American Jaguar collector Michael Mueller.
The car requires recommissioning but would then be a perfect entry for Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic as well as The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, Goodwood Revival and other premier historic events for the glamorous grids of the early 1950s
- 1 of only 2 Right hand drive 120's delivered to America in 1954
- 1 of only 23 RHD cars built in 1954
- 1 of 11 SE models built in 1954
- USA period race history