1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupé

Introduced in 1954, the Jaguar XK140 built upon the monumental success of the XK120, presenting several key refinements that solidified its place in automotive history. With a blend of enhanced engineering and stylistic updates, the XK140 symbolized elegance and performance in the classic car niche.

Key Engineering Changes

The engineering team at Jaguar focused on significant upgrades to the XK140, making it more refined and user-friendly.

Engine Placement and Steering

One of the leading engineering changes was moving the engine three inches forward, which improved weight distribution and handling. Additionally, the XK140 adopted rack-and-pinion steering from the racing C-Type, providing more precise and responsive control.

Suspension and Brakes

Minor updates to the suspension and brakes further enhanced the driving experience. The front suspension featured stiffer torsion bars, while the rear was equipped with telescopic shock absorbers, contributing to a smoother and more controlled ride.

Variants and Design Enhancements

The XK140 was available in three models: roadster, coupé, and drophead coupé. Each model offered unique features catering to different preferences and needs.

Roadster, Coupé, and Drophead Coupé

  • Roadster: The purest form, offering an open-air driving experience.
  • Coupé: Provided more cabin space and occasional rear seats, making it a more practical choice for longer journeys.
  • Drophead Coupé: Combined the benefits of the coupé with the option of open-top driving.

Exterior Updates

The XK140 featured several design enhancements:

  • Redesigned Radiator Grille: Added a touch of modernity and elegance.
  • Rear Lights with Indicators: Improved safety and visibility.
  • Larger Bumpers: Enhanced durability for urban parking.

Power and Performance

Under the hood, the XK140 retained Jaguar’s trusted 3.4-liter, twin-cam six-cylinder engine but with notable improvements.


Enhanced Engine Specifications

  • Increased Power: The engine now produced 190bhp, thanks to higher-lift camshafts and revised porting.
  • Reliability: Steel bearing caps replaced cast iron, enhancing the engine’s durability.
  • Close-Ratio Gearbox: Improved performance utilization, making the most of the engine’s power.

Optional Features

For those seeking even more performance, the XK140 offers unique equipment options:

  • Laycock de Normanville Overdrive: An optional feature for better fuel efficiency and performance.
  • Special Equipment XK140s: Included wire wheels, Lucas fog lamps, and an optional 210bhp engine with the C-Type cylinder head.

Performance Legacy

The Jaguar XK140 continued the tradition of exceptional performance, with contemporary magazine road tests frequently recording top speeds exceeding 120mph. This combination of style, engineering refinement, and performance ensures the XK140’s enduring appeal among classic car enthusiasts.


The Jaguar XK140 stands as a testament to Jaguar’s commitment to innovation and excellence. Its blend of classic design, refined engineering, and robust performance makes it a cherished model in the classic car community. Whether admired for its aesthetic or driven for its exhilarating capabilities, the XK140 remains a true icon in automotive history.

Source: Bonhams

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