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Jaguar XK150: Buying guide and review (1957-1961)

Jaguar XK150: Buying guide and review (1957-1961) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961)
It’s no exaggeration to say that when the Jaguar XK120 was unveiled at the 1948 London Motor Show it changed the face of sportscars. Here was a car that made rivals look outmoded and was fast, yet it was also relatively affordable. So it surprised nobody when Jaguar massively under-estimated demand for the car, which would prove to be a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. 
 
But even the XK120 was looking dated by the time it was given an update in 1954 to become the XK140, which in turn evolved into the XK150 in 1957. Modernised in many ways, the 150 was the ultimate iteration of the XK theme and itself would sire various versions. The big step forward for the 150 was the adoption of disc brakes, which Jaguar had developed with Dunlop and used very effectively on the later C and D-types. This feature gave the 150 technical credibility and, apart from the very low-volume Jensen, a feature the competition lacked. A new B-type cylinder head increased power, which had progressed from the 120’s 180bhp to the 140’s 190bhp, to 210bhp.
 
Visually, the 150 was far more changed than the 140 had been over the 120. The old two-piece flat windscreen was looking very dated now and it was replaced by a wraparound one-piece item. The dramatic fall and rise of the wing line was considerably straightened and the cabin widened. This was achieved by putting the doors on a diet; the slimmer versions benefited the interior space considerably. 
 
For many, this extra practicality makes the XK150 the most sought after of the three XK models. Driving it is still a vintage experience though; an E-Type feels far more modern in comparison for example. But the XK150 isn’t slow. It’ll keep up with modern traffic easily enough, but what really impresses is the XK engine’s flexibility as it’ll go from a standing start to 100mph in 36.4 seconds – using only top gear throughout. For a car launched in 1957, that’s pretty damned good. 
 
The XK150 has probably been better revered in more recent years, when it could be judged as a stand-alone car rather than compared alongside its peers in period. The concept was, not surprisingly, ageing by the end of the decade, but it was the ultimate example of the incredible XK range.
 
Which one to buy?
 
If you’re on a budget, an XK150 coupé is the way to go as these fetch far less than their open-topped siblings. If you can afford an open car, you’ve got a choice of two configurations: Open Two-Seater (OTS) or Drophead Coupé (DHC). The former looks the prettiest but its weather equipment is basic, which reduces the car’s usability. The latter has a much more usable folding roof, but it doesn’t sit flush when stowed, which gives the car an ungainly appearance. 
 
Despite its prettier lines, the OTS is less sought after than the DHC, and hence it’s less valuable. It’s also less usable, so whether you’re buying as an investment or to enjoy some touring in, the XK150 DHC is the way to go. 
 
If your pockets are especially deep, seek out an XK150 S, which is the ultimate incarnation. The most powerful XK150 of all, genuine cars are rare, but quite a few regular examples have been uprated – so check that you’re getting the real deal. With a so-called straight-port head and triple two-inch SUs, power was raised to a claimed 250bhp. 
 
The horsepower race was on in the States, and to compete Jaguar added XK engines enlarged from 3.4 to 3.8 litres, and offered an S variant of the 3.8 which, supposedly, produced 265bhp (although this was actually much nearer 200bhp!). 
 
There were thus 12 different XK150s available before production tailed off in late 1960, in readiness for the launch of the E-type.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 3781cc, six-cylinder
Power 265bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 260lb ft @ 3000rpm
Top speed 135mph
0-60mph 7.2sec
Fuel consumption 16mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual overdrive
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2591mm 
Length 4496mm
Width 1638mm
Height 1397mm
Kerb weight 1473kg
 
Common Problems
 
• The XK150’s construction consists of steel panels over a steel chassis, so there’s plenty of metal to corrode. It all needs careful inspection but home in on the lower portions of the front and rear wings, the B-posts and the boot floor. Also check the sills. 
 
• The chassis tends to last well but the outriggers can rust badly and the anti-roll bar mountings can dissolve – repairs for this latter area can be surprisingly costly. Also analyse the front mounts for the rear leaf springs; repairing those properly can also be expensive. 
 
• The XK engine will just keep going if it’s looked after. That means regular oil changes and ensuring the coolant doesn’t get too dilute; if anti-freeze levels aren’t maintained internal corrosion is guaranteed. 
 
• A worn engine will display the classic signs; blue exhaust smoke under acceleration and low oil pressure; a healthy powerplant will display at least 50psi at 3000rpm. 
 
• The parts to rebuild an XK straight-six are costly, so even if you do everything yourself you can’t expect to do it on a shoestring. Get it done professionally and the cost can treble or even quadruple. 
 
• Most XK150s have a four-speed Moss manual gearbox with no synchro on first gear. As the synchro is integral with the gear, and those gears are no longer available, you’ll just have to double-declutch once things have worn out. The layshafts and roller bearings wear too, but these can be sourced easily enough. 
 
• A three-speed automatic gearbox was offered as an option and although it’s strong it wears out eventually. Listen for scraping noises under acceleration and see if it’s slow to change from second to third. If it is, a rebuilt gearbox isn’t too costly but the labour to take the transmission out then refit everything can double the bill. 
 
• Sagging leaf springs at the back is par for the course, while tired bushes are also common. These are easily fixed though; overhauling the suspension is likely to transform the way the car drives. 
 
Model history 
 
1957: The XK150 goes on sale in the UK, superseding the XK140, with a 3.4-litre engine that produces 190bhp in standard form, 210bhp in SE form, while pushing out a more impressive 250bhp in XK150 S spec. Big differences include a new windscreen, servo-assisted disc brakes all round plus a wider grille. There’s a choice of four-speed manual (with or without overdrive) gearboxes, along with a Borg Warner three-speed auto. There’s also an improved hood design plus wind-up windows for all cars. 
 
1959: Larger 3.8-litre engine sees standard power increase to 220bhp, with the most potent S model now produces 265bhp. By this point the SE had been killed off, leaving regular or S editions only. 
 
1961: The E-Type supersedes the XK150. 
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites 
 
• www.jec.org.uk
• www.jaguardriver.co.uk
• www.jaguarownersclub.com
• xkclub.com 
 
Summary and prices 
 
If you’ve settled on the idea of buying an XK150, then there are a lot of different price points to consider. As a basic guide, you should pay around £115,000 for an outstanding 3.4-litre Coupe model, with more average examples costing between £45,000-£75,000. For a Roadster you could be looking at up to £225,000, although expect to find something usable for £100,000-£135,000. The big money is paid for the 3.8-litre S model, but in general you can add around 15 per cent onto the price if it’s an S-spec car. 
Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961) Jaguar XK150 buying guide (1957-1961)
Last updated: 24th May 2016
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Jaguar XK150
1200 240000 GBP
  • Jaguar XK150

    £69,950 £69,950

    Jaguar XK-150SE FHC Ivory white exterior with red interior. Complete frame off restoration in 2012, Factory SE Model with the more desired 3.8L engine, 220HP, twin exhaust, wire wheels, 4-speed manual transmission. Heritage Certificate verifying numbers. One of the last five imported to the U.S, only 4,000 miles since it was fully restored, this car has won many trophys at recent car shows.

    • Year: 1961
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    £69,950 £69,950
    Classic & Vintage Car Locators
    01650521235 View contact number
  • Jaguar XK150 FHC 1957

    €99,500(£0) €99,500(£0)

    Jaguar XK 150 FHC 1957 restored This marvellous XK 150 Fixed Head Coupe is restored and provided with British Racing Green paint and chrome wire wheels. The beautiful interior has beige leather and the original instruments. The Jaguar has the original matching numbers engine and automatic gearbox. A lot of documentation is present, including the Heritage Certificate. Car has Holland title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1957
    For sale
    €99,500(£0) €99,500(£0)
  • Jaguar XK150 4.2 FHC 1959 Silver

    POA POA

    The XK120 was launched in 1948 and was an international sensation that finally put Jaguar on the world stage. The XK’s good results in both motor racing and international rallying were instrumental in beginning a long successful period for the company. Announced in its home market in May 1957 the XK150 bore a family resemblance to the XK120 and XK140 but the XK150 was radically revised. The XK150 was to be the final incarnation of the XK range, and thus it was a more refined and capable machine than its predecessors. Easily distinguishable from the XK 140 by its wider grille, higher door line an improved interior space the XK 150 looked more modern, fitting in with the trend of more streamlined cars. A one-piece windscreen replaced the split screen, and the wing line no longer dropped so deeply at the doors. The widened bonnet opened down to the wings, and on the open two-seater the windscreen frame was moved back 4 inches to make the bonnet longer. The XK140's walnut dashboard was replaced by one trimmed in leather. Thinner doors gave more interior space. On the front parking lights, which were located atop the wings (fenders), a little red light reminded the driver the lights wer

    For sale
    POA POA
    VSOC
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
    VSOC
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
  • 1958 Jaguar XK150 3.4 FHC uprated to S Spec

    £1,200 £1,200

    We have known SBD 453 for over 15 years and it is a car we know very well with a proven track record for outstanding performance and reliability. This particularly quick XK was upgraded to S Specification during a mid-1980’s restoration and we know from previous MOT certificates the XK has covered in the region of 15,000 miles since 1997. SBD 453 was first registered on the 19th September 1958 and is a genuine UK supplied matching numbers car with the exception if its uprated 3.8 cylinder head. The XK150 FHC was dispatched from Henlys Limited, London on the 16th September and the first owner hasn’t been recorded according to the Jaguar Heritage Trust. From a ‘buff’ logbook issued in 1963 we know the car was in the London Borough of Hounslow until 1969, it changed hands and was briefly in Croydon before heading South to Chichester in Sussex. The XK then spent several years off the road, purchased by a long-term owner in Edinburgh during the early 1980’s who then commissioned a major restoration. On the road SBD 453 is truly outstanding and is a very fast car. The engine holds excellent oil pressure, pulls incredibly well and is in strong condition with a delightful roar. The four sp

    • Year: 1958
    • Mileage: 15000 mi
    For sale
    £1,200 £1,200
  • Jaguar XK150

    £240,000 £240,000

    This is a very rare car being one of only 69 right hand drive models manufactured by Jaguar to this specification. A matching numbers car in the original colours of Sherwood Green with Suede Green trim. The car has had a total of just four owners from new and still retains the original registration number. Whilst in its current ownership 5345 HP has competed in the Three Castles Welsh Classic Trials every year since 2005, also being rallied and toured in France and Spain. Lovingly worked on over the years and maintained to the highest standards, much of the cars originalty has been retained. Cosmetically the car now has a lovely patina and drives very nicely having had electric power steering fitted. Please contact us to arrange a viewing/test drive.

    • Year: 1960
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    £240,000 £240,000
  • Jaguar XK150 3,4 250

    €131,800(£0) €131,800(£0)

    Jaguar XK150 3,4 250 Equipment: Total restaureret til mindste detalje opgraderet med 5 trins gearkasse skal ses ring for info

    • Year: 1959
    For sale
    €131,800(£0) €131,800(£0)
  • Jaguar XK150 4.2 DHC 1958 Old English White

    POA POA

    The XK 120 was launched in 1948 and was an international sensation that finally put Jaguar on the world stage. The XK’s good results in both motor racing and international rallying were instrumental in beginning a long successful period for the company. The XK 150 was the final incarnation of the XK range, it was a more refined and capable machine than its predecessors. Easily distinguishable from the XK 140 by its wider grille, higher door line an improved interior space the XK 150 looked a lot more modern, fitting in with the trend of more streamlined cars. The walnut dashboards from earlier cars was replaced with leather in the XK 150. On the front parking lights, which were located atop the fenders, a little red light reminded the driver the lights were on. Most of the things that were optional for the XK 140 were now standard issue, this among other things meant break discs at the front and back. The new XK 150 retained the engine from the XK 140, a 3.4 litre straight-six. Suspension and chassis were very also similar to the XK 140, and steering was by rack and pinion. This car is a nice driver quality Jaguar XK150 Drophead Coupé with an uprated 4.2 litre engine with triple We

    • Mileage: 50654 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
    VSOC
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
    VSOC
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
  • 1960 Jaguar XK-150 3.8 DHC

    POA POA

    This Jaguar is currently undergoing a comprehensive restoration to a show/driver level. To date, this Drop Head Coupe has been thoroughly gone through and its body has been disassembled, photographed, and taken to bare metal with all proper body work being fitted to perfection. The interior is in the process of being re-upholstered by master trimmers in our upholstery department, along with a proper and perfectly fitted new convertible top. The brite work will be re-plated as needed, with all hardware panels done in their proper finish. A rare vehicle with limited ownership and matching numbers, this XK-150 yields a rare engine size of 3.8 liters, which was the largest displacement engine of the period that was available for this model. The 3.8 engine model had a few distinct changes, amongst them a significant difference in the rear tail light fixtures. This restoration is will be completed at the end of 2017, and will present a great opportunity for the collector or enthusiast seeking to add a rare piece of Jaguar history to his or her collection. A pictorial DVD documenting the XK-150's various restoration processes will accompany the vehicle.

    • Year: 1960
    • Mileage: 100 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1958 Jaguar XK-150 S 3.4 OTS

    POA POA

    This spectacular example of an XK-150 S Roadster has won first place in (2) JCNA-sanctioned Concours events, including the 2016 Mexico City Concours de Elegance - where it won Best of Show. In addition, the Roadster was driven in parade laps by renowned British F1 racing driver Jolyon Palmer at the 2016 Mexico City Grand Prix. This incredible example has been comprehensively restored by Jaguar professionals and comes in a spectacular color combination of Claret over a Red trimmed interior with Black top. It has only traveled 500 miles since it's restoration, and is a great running and driving car that is ready for the show circuit, or as an excellent investment-grade Jaguar.

    • Year: 1958
    • Mileage: 500 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1958 Jaguar XK150 3.4 DHC

    £114,995 £114,995

    This beautiful automatic Jaguar XK150 3.4 DHC has arrived with us in excellent order having being subject of a major programme of work in 2013. UWK 398 is a genuine matching numbers car, still retaining the 3.4 litre engine it left the factory with. The Jaguar left the factory in Cream with Red upholstery and was one of just 595 LHD DHC automatic examples ever supplied. UWK 398 was supplied new by Jaguar Cars New York and first registered to D B Ortman. The Jaguar spent 41 years with the same family in the U.S before being sold to the UK with a guarantee from the dealership that the car had only covered a genuine 29000 miles. This XK150 now has a recorded mileage of just 31,500 having had substantial programme of restoration work and some use in the UK since. The car is finished in Cream/Old English White with Red upholstery as it left the factory and presents beautifully with chrome wire wheels and Black mohair hood. In 2013 a Bristol based restoration Company stripped this car to bare metal, carried out any new metal work required and completely re-painted the car in Old English White. The interior was sympathetically restored with original door cards being rebuilt using aged, fa

    • Year: 1958
    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    For sale
    £114,995 £114,995
  • Jaguar XK150 Drophead Coupe

    £150,000 £150,000

    HOME STOCK EMAIL JAGUAR XK 150S DROPHEAD COUPE 3.8L MANUAL The Jaguar XK150 was produced from 1957 to 1961 and was the first production car available from Jaguar to feature disc brakes all round. Of the 2,672 Drop Head Coupes produced only 663 were right hand drive. First Registered 31st October 1959 Finished in Old English White with Red Leather Interior 4 Speed Manual Gearbox with Overdrive 3.8L "S" Complete with original registration document, handbook and previous MOT certificates Right Hand Drive Red Carpets Black Roof £150,000 Submitting Form... The server encountered an error. Form received. Submit FURTHER INFORMATION FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS VEHICLE PLEASE COMPLETE THE ABOVE FORM. ALTERNATIVELY, EMAIL OR CALL OUR SALES TEAM USING THE DETAILS BELOW: SALES@SUPERVETTURA.COM T. +44(0)1344 620072 M. +44(0)7541 888310 FACEBOOK /SuperVettura TWITTER @SuperVettura INSTAGRAM /SuperVettura

    • Year: 1959
    For sale
    £150,000 £150,000
  • 1960 Jaguar XK-150 3.8 DHC

    POA POA

    This beautiful 1960 Jaguar XK-150 DHC was delivered new in Canada, and has been a Southern California-kept car since the 1990s. In the 1990s, it received a restoration that consisted of a complete engine rebuild, with the body being restored, and the automatic transmission was taken out and a Tremec 5 speed installed; it was upgraded to disc brakes in the front, with adjustable shocks added; the radiator was re-cored, and it was converted to spin-off oil filter. It is a very good driver, driven regularly since the 1990s, which is how long it has lived in Southern CA. The original color combination is black with a red interior, but the recent owner decided to change it to a tan leather interior with a custom cover for when the top is down. It is a good, honest driver, that needs only a few items attended to in order to make it even better. It comes complete with extensive records of work performed on the car over the years.

    • Year: 1960
    • Mileage: 16543 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1958 Jaguar XK-150 S 3.4 OTS

    POA POA

    This one owner Jaguar is a very original car that is currently undergoing a Show/Driver level restoration. If you are interested in purchasing this roadster, you can select the color combination of your choice - please note this is a limited window of opportunity, while the car is still in bare metal - please inquire for further details. It is getting increasingly harder to find good, honest original cars such as this one! The fit on this roadster is very good, and the car features and original parts such as 4-speed with overdrive, 3 SU carbs and 2 fuel pumps as it left the factory, filter box, carburetors, voltage regulator, and much more. This car has always been well serviced and maintained. The top is relatively new, as well as the tires. Most of the original parts and hardware under the bonnet are in good serviceable condition. In 1961 the original owner had an unstamped 3.8 block installed by the dealership for greater performance, but the head is the original one that came with the car. It also has dual exhaust. It comes with a Heritage Certificate of Authenticity which verifies it is still in its original color combination. Part of this XK-150Ss history is that it was raced

    • Year: 1958
    • Mileage: 4177 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1961 Jaguar XK-150 DHC

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This low mileage very nice original XK-150 DHC, numbers matching Jaguar has been well cared for and garage kept. It was part of a Jaguar collection and was off the road for over 20 years prior to our purchase. Has recently completed a show driver restoration by Classic Showcase. With superb craftsmanship and excellent fit as well as attention to details. The restoration process includes; complete repaint, color sand and buff, engine and transmission rebuild, all system gone through top, boot, rubber seals, and chrome. The 3.8 engine was rebuilt to factory specifications rebuilt clutch, all new brake parts, restored shocks, new suspension bushings, gas tank restored and epoxy sealed, new fuel pump, all electrical components, gauges, knobs, switches rebuilt, or replaced, top bows and seat frames restored, stone guards restored, new manifold and exhaust system. Lots of time was spent performing metal work and fitting the body and doors. New interior were fitted by our craftsman

    • Year: 1961
    • Mileage: 69080 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1961 Jaguar XK-150 FHC

    POA POA

    (SOLD) The third and final iteration of the XK range, started with the XK-120 in 1948 and continued with the XK-140 in 1954. By 1957 the XK design was looking a little dated, and Jaguar had set new standards with the introduction of a monococque design, the Jaguar Mk 1, the previous year. At the time it did not grab the worlds attention in the way that its predecessors had. However in hindsight it became recognized as a superb car, with more refinement than any previous XK. As before with the XK range, standard (steel wheel) and special equipment models were available, but a bewildering range of models was to evolve. First, in 1958 the S model was announced, equipped to special equipment specification, and with a more powerful engine, though still of 3.4 liter capacity. Late in 1959 further options became available with the introduction of the 3.8 liter engine, and the XK150 was available not only in 3.4 liter versions, but two versions (normal and "S") of the 3.8. All three body versions were available with all the engine options. Production all but stopped after 1960, but a very few cars appear to have been manufactured in 1961.

    • Year: 1961
    • Mileage: 36867 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1960 Jaguar XK-150 3.8 DHC

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This Jaguar is a superb example yielding a rare engine size of 3.8. This was the largest displacement engine of the period for an XK-150. The 3.8 engine was featured near the end of the production of the XK. Also, a significant difference in the rear tail light fixture. No expense was spared in this impeccable and proper restoration to the highest standards by Jaguar Professionals. During this extensive restoration the engine, transmission, drive train and all systems were gone through, body was taken to bare metal, fitted to perfection, interior trimmed in a beautiful green color contrasting combination, brite work re-plated to show level and all hardware panels in proper finish. It would be hard to find any XK-150 DHC, let alone one of the finest in the world restored to a Show level. This is a great opportunity to own a rare and spectacular vehicle that has matching numbers. This is for the discerning collector who demands the best quality.

    • Year: 1960
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1961 Jaguar XK-150 3.8 DHC

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This XK-150 received a spectacular, no-expense spared restoration done by Jaguar professionals in one of the finest shops in the United States. It has only been campaigned and shown since 2011, where it received three 100 point scores, and became a JCNA national champion. In 2012, it has been shown in two JCNA sanctioned shows, and scored 100 points in each!

    • Year: 1961
    For sale
    POA POA