You’d be forgiven for thinking this resembles one of those stylish and rare Maserati’s when in actual fact it’s a 1955 Jaguar XK140 Coupe bodied by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin…
While the Jaguar XK140 was undoubtedly sleek and desirable, by 1954 the old girl was looking slightly dated and still retained the same dress sense as the XK120 which had been designed by Jaguar’s boss, William (later Sir William) Lyons in 1948.
In its wisdom, Jaguar decided to sell some XK140’s in rolling chassis form for bodying by independent coachbuilders including Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin and Bertone, thus making the dated Jaguars a more attractive proposition to affluent clients searching for more individuality.
The car you’re looking at is one of only four bodied by Carrozzeria Ghia, who had previously completed three XK120s, these being the famous ‘Supersonic’ cars designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi. All four of Ghia’s XK140s were closed coupés of broadly similar design. They were completed on chassis numbers S810827DN’, ‘S814937DN’, ‘814942’, and ‘S815404’.
As with many of these ‘one-off’ creations, the bodies were constructed from aluminum and therefore much lighter than their steel-bodied counterparts. This particular car is the first to be built and was purchased second-hand by a certain Mr. Hans Altweg, a wealthy Lyonnaise industrialist, with the express purpose of having a bespoke body constructed for it.
The car was shipped for works to Ghia in Turin and subsequently returned in time to be displayed at the Paris Salon in October 1956 and previously at the concours d’élégance in Cannes.
Fast forward some years and the Ghia bodied Jag found its way into the private collection belonging to the noted French Jaguar historian, and founder, and former President of the Jaguar Drivers Club of France, the late Roland Urban.
Urban then decided to install a 3.8-litre Jaguar XK engine fitted with triple twin-choke Weber carburettors and, for the next decade, participated in a whole host of historic rallies and races driving the Jaguar.
The rare Jaguar XK140 is being offered by Bonhams (Est: £ 170,000 – 260,000) as being in need of ‘total restoration’ with a fascinating backstory and 3.8 litre MK IX engine block currently fitted.
As you can see by this fully restored Jaguar XK150 by Bertone which was showcased at the Concours of Elegance 2020, these things can be extremely attractive, desirable and expensive if the restoration process is carried out to a high standard.
This particular Jaguar, S 834365, is just one of three XK150s that were sent as bare chassis to Bertone in Turin, to be bodied as prototype fixed-head coupés.
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