Could this be the most delectable restomod roadster yet?
Jaguar has made some beautiful cars over the course of its 85-year history, but few in our books are quite as elegant as the XK120. David Gandy evidently agrees, and he knows a thing or two about style.
An evidently very successful male model, Gandy is about as close as you'll find to a real-life Zoolander, and something of a classic-car enthusiast to boot. He fell in love with the XK120 while driving one in the Mille Miglia revival rally in 2013 and 2014, so he had Jaguar Classic remake one just for him.
The restomod process included adapting the interior to his 6'2” frame, relocating the batteries that usually sit behind the driver's seat and fitting a smaller-diameter steering wheel. But it went far beyond that.
Jaguar Classic also repainted the original car, sourced from California, with 13 liters and four layers of onyx-black paint. It reupholstered the interior in aged saddle lattice leather with aluminum seatbacks, fitted a pair of aero screens to replace the standard windshield, and equipped it with a racing-style fuel filler cap. But that's far from the extent of its competition-spec equipment.
Gandy wanted to be able to race his XK120 in events like the Jaguar Classic Challenge. So the team at the Classic Works department in Warwickshire rebuilt the straight-six engine to develop more power – up from 180 hp to 225 – and equipped the car with a competition-style four-speed gearbox, upgraded brakes, adjustable dampers, and a dual-pipe exhaust.
The project took 2,700 hours of work across 11 months to complete, and was delivered in Monaco last weekend. "Having driven a Jaguar XK120 at the Mille Miglia,” said Gandy, "I knew that I wanted to own one of these incredibly special cars.”
"The team at Jaguar Classic have done such a remarkable job engineering this car and executing everything that I asked for and it was amazing to have such an in-depth involvement in its creation.”
"This unique XK120 showcases the expertise, skill and craftmanship that Jaguar Classic makes available for all of its customers,” added Jaguar Classic chief Calum McKechnie. "Not only were we able to bring this iconic sports car back to life mechanically, but the attention to detail and the bespoke design of the interior sets David’s car apart.”