Growing up, a lot of us had a dream car in mind. “When I grow up I’m going to buy….fill-in-the-blank.” I always thought the Ferrari on the TV show Magnum P.I. would be cool to drive. Keep in mind at the time I was driving a Gremlin “X.” Very few of us attain that dream car, but some actually do.
Meet Carl from Bedford. When Carl was a child he built a toy model of a 1951 Jaguar Coupe. That was his dream car and he never let go of his desire to own the real thing. Many years later, we are in his garage with his 1951 Jaguar XK120 FHC. He still has his model from his childhood in his garage.
Here’s what he says about his car:
Tell me about your car. Make? model? If it is rare, how many were made? How many are left in the world, etc.
1951 Jaguar XK120 FHC (Fixed Head Coupe). This is the 11th one out of 2500 left-hand drivers, 200 right-hand drivers. Earliest known survivor in the United States according to Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust who keeps records. Estimates are that about half of the total are still running somewhere in the world.
When and where did you buy it?
I bought it as a barn find in Virginia in 1996. Not running, rusted in many places on the body, but not the frame. It took me 10 years to restore it in my garage.
Where do you show it?
Until recently I drove it to the British Invasion car show in Stowe, VT, where it has won many awards. Jaguar Association of New England (JANE) Concours every year, winning Best of Show twice. Winner of Best Jaguar 3 times at Larz Anderson Auto Museum’s British Car Day. It won the Chief Judge’s Award at the Saratoga Automobile Museum “Euro Experience” in 2012 . But best of all, the Jaguar company transported it to the Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance Show in 2014 for the unveiling of their newest Jaguar coupe (F-Type), showing their newest sport coupe next to the oldest one in the US.
Are there clubs for this model?
Our local Jaguar club is the Jaguar Association of New England (JANE) which has the most members of all clubs in Jaguar Clubs of North America. Other British car clubs are in the area also.
What else would you like people to know about your car?
As one of the earliest of the coups, it has some features of a prototype. The XK120 sports car was first manufactured in 1948 as a roadster. In early 1951, a coupe body was designed to fit onto the roadster frame, but many modifications were needed to accommodate the solid top. This car shows the raw modifications that were later built into the production models.
Jay Leno has a very similar car to this one, but his is a 1954 model toward the end of production of the XK120s. I have visited him a couple of times at his car collection in California and each time he said he wanted to see my early version, “next time he comes to the Boston area …” I’m still waiting.
Carl has another story to share. He was up at a Classic Car show in Maine, and apparently, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, was also there. Although they never met, a mutual friend relayed that the Chief Justice rendered a verdict, saying Carl’s Jaguar was “Best in Show.”
Also in his collection is a 1949 Ford F3 Pickup truck, and a more contemporary Jaguar. He is also in the process of restoring a 1949 Ford 8N tractor. The same model he used working summers on his family farm in South Dakota.
If you know of other classic cars around Bedford, please let us know.
Past Featured Cars:
Bedford Classic Cars – 1965 Blue Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS. – Sept 12, 2022
Bedford Classic Cars – Next Up – Ford Model A – Sept 26.2022