Offered for sale is a gorgeous, exceptionally original, entirely matching numbers, mechanically strong, heavily documented, black plate 1955 Jaguar XK140 MC OTS (Open Two Seater), owned for 49 years by one doting Southern California owner. Verified by its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, the car is finished in factory correct Black over factory correct Biscuit interior with Tan Piping, arguably the most appealing livery ever offered on an XK. Always driven sparingly and properly maintained and garaged, the car is believed to have traveled a mere 55k original miles in its 60+ years of service, evidenced by its entirely honest, extremely original, “true survivor” condition.
Chassis Number……………………. S810515
The “S” prefix in the car’s chassis number confirms that it was equipped when new with the top of the line “MC” designation, comprised of the special equipment package including a camshaft vibration damper, wire spoke wheels, dual exhaust pipes and Lucas fog lamps. The “S” suffix to the engine’s serial number denotes the car’s uprated 3.4L engine with high compression C-Type head. Each of these numbers is confirmed on each corresponding component, as well as the car’s data plate and Heritage Certificate.
The car’s history is extraordinarily well documented, detailing a nearly 50-year single owner Southern California provenance. On February 23rd, 1955 Mrs. Cara E. Butte of Pacific Palisades, CA made the short drive in her 1953 Jaguar XK120 down PCH to the Brentwood Motor Co. at 2610 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, CA. She was there to trade in her XK120 for a brand new, U.S. delivery 1955 Jaguar XK140 MC OTS. The original purchase order shows that Brentwood Motor Co. sold her the XK140 for $3,745, valued her trade in at $2,100, charged her $130 for a dealer-installed radio, $150 for chrome wire wheels and “threw in” two fender mirrors. Including tax, license and other miscellaneous charges, the “out-the-door” price was $4,324.80. Mrs. Butte would own the car for the ensuing 49 years, driving it sparingly for the vast majority of them and always keeping it properly maintained and garaged in her Pacific Palisades garage. In fact, public records show that she still lives there today.
Having realized that it was getting less and less use as the years went by, in 2004 she made the difficult decision to sell the car through a broker to a collector in Loudon, TN. As “preservation class” vintage cars hadn’t yet been given the credence that they’ve come to enjoy, both in terms of recognition and valuation, the second owner made the choice to cosmetically refurbished the car, refinishing it in its factory correct black paint and having the interior reupholstered in factory correct biscuit with tan piping. He too would use the car sparingly over his 8 years of ownership, until it was sold in 2012 to its third and most recent owner, another collector in upstate New York. Upon receiving the car, he had it scored at a Jaguar Club of North America official event, the results of which were a net score of 92.16.
He subsequently sent the car to Donovan Motorcar Service of Lenox, MA where he commissioned a comprehensive mechanical sorting. A well-regarded marque specialist, Donovan’s work included (but was not limited to) new brake shoes, choke adjustment, new upper and lower ball joints, new tie rod end boots, new head gasket, installation of a new Ron Davis aluminum radiator, clutch linkage repair, tachometer cable replacement, differential pinion seal replacement, new water pump, new cam cover and breather gaskets, new harmonic balancer, new brake master cylinder, rebuilt carburetors, new thermostat and thermostat housing, crankshaft damper, exhaust flange and manifold gaskets, etc. etc. This work totaled more that $13,500 in 2013 and 2014, and the car has been driven less than 1,000 miles since. The car also received a set of new Dayton chrome wire wheels with new Vredestein tires, however the original wire wheels are also included in the sale, as is the fully functioning original radiator.
It should come as no surprise then that the car is in fantastic shape mechanically. The original, numbers matching, uprated, 8:1 compression 210 bhp, 3.4L XK engine with its original C-Type head starts effortlessly, idles smoothly and consistently and pulls with grin-inducing force through each of the original transmission’s gears, augmented by the spectacular roar emitted from the dual stainless steel exhaust. The car drives and brakes straight and true, the suspension is tight and the car is a joy to drive, whether tooling through town, winding through the canyons or bombing down the highway. While we’ve tested the original radiator and confirmed that it’s fully functional, the Ron Davis aluminum radiator no doubt aids in keeping the engine cool and despite soaring temperatures in Santa Barbara of late, the car has never shown any indication of overheating. These things considered, this lovely example would be ideal for both top-down weekend cruises to local shows and more strenuous touring events.
As the pictures show, the second owner’s freshening efforts have help up quite well and the car remains absolutely gorgeous. While having its share of minor imperfections (each too insignificant to appear in the photos), the factory correct Black finish is deep and lustrous, perfectly offset by the clean Biscuit interior with Tan piping. The glass and chrome are in excellent original condition and the car’s entirely original Sand soft-top and side curtains bear a wonderful patina while remaining wholly serviceable. The recipient of proper care and storage, the frame and undercarriage are entirely solid and original, showing no evidence of harmful rust or repairs. A condition mirrored in the trunk and engine compartment, it tells the story of a remarkably untouched, extremely original example that has always lived a charmed life.
The car’s provenance and factory specifications are documented through the original “Automobile Order and Statement of Transaction” (showing the car’s purchase by Mrs. Butte), a copy of the car’s original California “Pink Slip” title, a thick stack of registration cards and service receipts throughout the car’s life and of course the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Certificate. The car is also remarkably complete in terms of original tools and accessories, retaining its rare (and expensive to replace) complete original tool kit, jack handle, grease gun, screw jack, spare tire compartment T-key and Thor hammer. Also included are the original tonneau cover, original side curtains and original period Motorola radio, believed to be the one installed by the dealer when Ms. Butte bought the car new. As mentioned previously, the car’s original knock off wire wheels and original fully functional radiator are also included in the sale and, lastly, both of the original California black license plates come with the car and are in remarkably good condition.
This is a truly uncommon opportunity to acquire an extremely original, entirely numbers matching and correct, thoroughly documented, beautifully presented Southern California 1955 Jaguar XK140 MC OTS. Considering its condition, provenance, documentation and correctness, it would be incredibly difficult (if not altogether impossible) to find a similarly stellar original example. Whether in the market as a marque enthusiast or as a seasoned Jaguar collector, this rare and incredible example deserves your serious consideration.