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 670001 15 December 1949
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United StatesG7889

United KingdomHKV500

Jaguar XK120, XK140 & XK150 photo

16 more photos below

Record Creation: Entered on 20 March 2024.

Database Updates: Show dataplate edits


Photos of 670001

Click slide for larger image. This car has 17 photos. (Dates are when image was uploaded.)

Exterior Photos (6)

Uploaded October 2017:

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Uploaded October 2012:

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Uploaded November 2008:

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Uploaded January 2006:

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Action Photos (7)

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Uploaded February 2010:

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Uploaded January 2006:

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Details Photos: Exterior (3)

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Uploaded January 2006:

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Detail Photos: Engine (1)

Uploaded January 2006:

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2006-01-13 20:15:06 | pauls writes:

Car was expose'd in the Nov-Dec issue of Jaguar Journal magazine as having been recently sold. Previously owned by Walter Hill. Said to be the first LHD XK120 built. It has several odd features that only a few cars have.

2006-01-17 00:01:17 | pauls writes:

Car was at RM auction in '05

Auction description:

The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction

Friday, August 19, 2005 - Saturday, August 20, 2005

1949 Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Roadster

ESTIMATE: $550,000 - $750,000

CHASSIS NO: 670001

Chassis number 670001 is the most historically significant XK 120 Jaguar in existence. It is the first lefthand drive XK 120 (and almost certainly the second one ever built), it was the first XK 120 to have entered America, and it took part in, and is the sole survivor of, the XK 120’s first race. It also became the first ‘works’ XK 120 to race in America, and today it is the oldest XK 120 extant.

Some critics wondered what the XK 120 could do in a real motor race. Jaguar did not regard the XK as a competition model, but when the British Racing Drivers’ Club announced a one-hour Production Car Race for their Daily Express meeting at Silverstone in August 1949, William Lyons’ hand was forced. A ‘no show’ would be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the new car.

Accordingly, three cars were prepared under the experienced eye of Walter Hassan at Jaguar’s Foleshill, Coventry factory, though entries (in their driver’s names) were made only after Lyons himself attended a private test session with an XK 120 at Silverstone, to establish that it could put up competitive lap-times.

The XK 120s which lined up at Silverstone in August were finished in a patriotic red, white and blue and included the ‘Jabbeke’ car, registered HKV 500 and by chassis number (670002) the second left-hand drive car built. Remaining white, it had been changed to righthand drive which was more suited to British circuits, these being run clockwise. Driving was Leslie Johnson; successful with a BMW 328 sports car before the war, in 1948 Johnson had won the Spa 24 Hour race in an Aston Martin. Painted blue was the 1948 London Motor Show car, registered HKV 455 and the first XK 120 built, chassis number 660001, body number F1001; its driver was Prince Bira of Siam who had also established a fine reputation prior to WW II, with single-seater cars.

Leslie Johnson won in 670002, averaging 82.80mph for 28 laps, with Peter Walker 5.6 seconds behind in 670001; a Frazer Nash was third. This first-time-out victory, recorded incidentally in a wonderful color documentary film, was enormously important for Jaguar, as failure would undoubtedly have damaged the XK 120’s reputation. Jaguar made good use of the success, and the three Silverstone runners made a celebratory ascent of the famous old Shelsley Walsh hill climb in September.

The victory encouraged the ever-cautious William Lyons to agree towards the end of 1949 to 670001 being shipped once more to North America. The objective was to race the car at a new type of event promoted by Miles Collier and the fledgling Sports Car Club of America at Palm Beach, Florida. The XK’s driver this time would be the Silverstone winner Leslie Johnson, accompanied by Jaguar mechanic John Lea, the two flying out over Christmas in a Stratocruiser.

The long journey by both car and crew was nearly in vain as a couple of weeks before the January 3rd 1950 event, problems with the intended West Palm Beach street circuit caused a last minute switch to the privately-owned Singer Island nearby, where a new 2.1 mile course was hastily created. Here Johnson and the works-prepared 670001 had to contend with a highly mixed bag of 34 other cars. These ranged from genuine production cars such as a further three XK 120s, MG TDs, Silverstone Healeys and J-type Allards to some extraordinary home-brewed specials including Briggs Cunningham’s Cadillac engined Healey, a Ford-Riley, and the hotly favoured Ford-Duesenberg of George Huntoon.

The race started when the XK 120 pace car pulled aside and “in a subtropical setting of waving palms, sand dunes and stucco architecture…the raucous pack of 35 cars was on its way, jockeying towards the first of ten sharp corners that graced every two-mile lap,” as The Autocar put it, also recounting that “Leslie Johnson…driving with his usual artistic precision, nosed his red Jaguar into the succession of murderous corners to such good purpose that by the twelfth lap he was in second place and going like a train…”

The tight course allowed little time for brakes to cool down and many cars ended up in the sandbanks; but although Huntoon’s former ‘Indy’ car won, Johnson succeeded in taking 670001 to a remarkable fourth place, winning the Donald Healey trophy for first production car, and the Hoffman trophy for the best performance by a British car. As the first-ever appearance by a works-supported Jaguar in an American motor race, Johnson and 670001 considerably enhanced the XK 120’s (and Jaguar’s) reputation in this new and important marketplace.

Johnson and Lea returned to England satisfied, but 670001 remained in the US, purchased by Commander John Rutherford – who, in fact, had been driving a Healey Silverstone in the same Palm Beach race. The red XK therefore chalked up another ‘first’ – that of being the first XK-engined works racer to be sold. Jack Rutherford raced the XK at least once, at Bridgehampton on June 10 1950, but it is thought that he then retired the car from competition (he went on to purchase a C-type, XKC 014, in 1953).

The remainder of 670001’s existence has been quite sedentary; a Connecticut registration certificate dated July 30 1963 notes its owner as Sondra Poland of Lime Rock, then George Rainville of (appropriately) Coventry, Rhode Island. A noted collector bought the car from the Rainville family in the mid-1980s, 670001 joining the remarkable collection of Jaguars which the retired Eastern Airlines pilot had (rather by accident, he always maintained!) assembled in Florida. Its one major public appearance in this ownership was at the Carteret Vintage Race at Palm Beach on June 22 1986, where 670001 did several parade laps in front of a 65,000 crowd, recalling its previous Palm Beach appearance 36 years before.

In the view of most automotive historians, it is fortunate that this earliest surviving XK 120 has never undergone a total ‘concours’ type restoration. Cosmetic attention around 1997 involved primarily only a repaint in the original Bronze, so 670001 retains all the features which distinguish it from later aluminum bodied XK 120s, of which 240 were built before demand caused Jaguar to move to steel bodywork in 1950. Currently engine block no. F2918-9S is fitted; originally from the LHD XK 120 roadster S675487 built April 28 1954. Interestingly, research by Anders Clausager of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust shows that this is one of only 32 9:1 compression ratio engines fitted to XK 120s by Jaguar.

Immediately distinguishing the car are the ‘straight’ windscreen pillars with their unique three-point mountings, while at the rear the trunk lid lacks the normal XK 120’s ‘T’ handle and instead is secured by an over-center clip underneath. Inside the trunk, the floor has a round cut-out for reaching the spare wheel fixing (as seen in the original XK 120 brochure depicting HKV 455), while the engine compartment reveals wing support members with elongated (instead of round) lightening slots, a throttle linkage system shared only by the earliest XK 120s, and bonnet hinge mounting boxes bolted, not spot-welded, to the firewall. Experts will note other differences and, indeed, more unique features may yet come to light during future examinations. The engine block currently fitted as previously mentioned, while not original to the car is a rare high compression XK120 unit; the cylinder head is unnumbered. The car will require some re-commissioning as it has been kept in dry storage conditions for some years.

The availability of this car on the open market for the first time in two decades represents the chance to acquire one of the most important historic Jaguar road sports cars ever to be offered.

RM Auctions would like to thank noted author and Jaguar Specialist Paul Skilleter of Jaguar World Monthly Magazine for his time, knowledge and expertise in the writing this catalog description.

2009-08-29 20:50:14 | Lofty writes:

I am of the opinion that you still have the original engine(except for the cylinder block). There are many ways of telling but just from the photos I deduce the following: Cylinder Head C2242 has 16 dome nuts C2327. W4691 and subs. had 22. Water Outlet Elbow is C2378, changed at W1250.Carburetters are S.U. E.5 and not S.U. H.6.S.U. E.5s can be seen on Plate B31, page B66 of Service Manual.S.U.E.5 is stamped on the upper side of the carburetter body flange where it is bolted to the intake manifold. They are easy to recognise because the damper neck is longer (higher) thanS.U.H.6s. Engine numbers were not stamped on inside front of cylinder head, as they were on later models. All the above is identical to my 670051 and also with 660002 and 660003 which I have inspected closley and have photos. 660020 has stamp marks on head between spark plugs 3 and 4 as does mine, worth further investigation. Posting gearbox and body numbers (and axle number) would further advance it`s historic interest.

2009-10-16 21:40:04 | pauls writes:

Sold at RM's 2005 Sports Car Auction for $440,000 USD.

2011-04-05 18:20:52 | Paul Rainville writes:

This car is often refered to as LHD but that is incorrect. It was and is RHD (as shown in the photo with me standing in the seat) I grew up with this car. It was my dad's from the early fifties till 1985. I know that 66xxx were RHD and 67XXX were LHD but not this one. It would be nice to see this corrected.

all the best,

2012-08-17 09:03:15 | Pekka T. writes:


Yes, 670001 IS a LHD chassis number but the car was converted to RHD early in life. 660001 was RHD all the time, two different cars, as we can see 670001 lives on, I'm not so sure about 660001.

This car was part of the Walter Hill collection. A photo of the car (RHD form) from 2001 can be seen in Jaguar Heritage Archive no.34 (2007)

2014-03-01 05:49:53 | Jeremy B writes:

670001 was built LHD, but was converted to RHD for the 1949 Production Car Race at Silverstone in August, as was the winning car in that race, HKV500. This was to try to stop the right-hand rear wheel lifting under acceleration in a lower gear on a right-hand turn, thanks to the torque effects of the engine. RHD meant that the driver's weight was now above the RH end of the rear axle.. Nearly all old Bugattis are RHD for the same reason.

660001 (HKV455) and 670003 (HKV500) were scrapped by the factory.

Boo-hoo indeed.

2014-03-05 12:20:19 | Jeremy B writes:

Oops. HKV 500 was NOT 670003, but 670002. Apologies.

2014-09-29 15:25:54 | Chris L writes:

As an impecunious and "Jag mad"university student in the early 1970s, I would often drop into Shorters' premises in Auckland, NZ. Shorters were the original Jaguar importers in Auckland, and were still going strong at that time.
One car, among the many I saw, has stayed in my memory, but I have been unable to positively identify it.
It must have been one of the very earliest XK120 OTS cars, as I distinctly remember it having the straight windscreen pillars, the tiny rear lights incorporated into the lowest part of the rear wings, the straight horizontal rear bumper (not the normal pair of XK120 vertical overriders) and white steering wheel. I feel pretty sure (it was a long time ago) that it was bronze and RHD. I also remember it as being pristine, and someone telling me that it had just been fully restored and that it had come from Canada.
It may be that my memory is playing tricks after all these years, but unless it was a re-creation of one of the first cars (unlikely back then) it must have been one of those first XK120s.
Does anyone know if one of these was ever in NZ in the early 1970s, and if so, for what reason?
I did eventually achieve my dream of owning a 120 - 660864, which I christened "Xerxes" and swanned around in for a couple of years in the mid-70s!

2014-09-29 15:55:28 | Chris L writes:

I've just remembered that the car I was just talking about in Auckland was not Bronze but a metallic dark blue/green.

2015-07-05 05:42:27 | Roger P. writes:

I have just seen Lofty's 2009-08 comment, with a couple interesting details offered.
The carburetters he refers to are of course 100% definitely H6. The E5 he refers to is in fact a DATE-CODE stamped in by SU once they had completed manufacture of the H6 before supply to Jaguar. E5 = May 1949, which of course reinforces the suggestion that the top end of this engine fitted may well be the original W1016-8 given all the earliest Heads did not have any ENGINE NUMBER stamped on, but can be identified by the HEAD SEQUENCE NUMBER stamped between spark-plugs #3 and #4. Love to see some good photos of HEAD and H6 carbies fitted as I am only going on Lofty's comments.

2016-05-21 20:38:01 | Jeremy B writes:

Is this the only xk in existence with a straight-sided windscreen?

2017-07-14 07:30:24 | Jeremy B writes:

670001 was never HKV 455. Why has this been added at the top?

HKV455 was 660001, and was RTP at the factory, whatever some conspiracy theorists might wish to believe.

2017-11-21 09:59:14 | Jeremy B writes:

On the most recently added photo - Silverstone 1949 - HKV 500 is seen to be wearing smaller rear lights and a different position for the rear number plate. As these anomalies were seen on the 1948 Earls Courts show car - HKV455 - could these two cars have swapped identities?

In other photos of HKV500 at that time it can also be seen carrying smaller front side lights than the other two.

Any ideas?

2020-09-06 19:49:14 | Les. Hughes writes:

In the next few weeks Jaguar Magazine is set to publish a sensational story about the first three XK120s built and which is going to change all of the recognised facts surrounding those XK120s. It is going to surprise everyone and is backed up with proof.

2020-10-08 11:07:07 | Chris Lackner writes:

Which Jaguar mag is it, Les? I'd like to make sure I get a copy!

2021-04-19 00:50:34 | Les. Hughes writes:

The story of why the first XK120 IS 670001 is free now at or at their Facebook page.

2021-04-19 09:45:36 | pauls writes:

Les, that didn't work for me but some success at:

2021-04-22 05:45:25 | Jeremy B writes:

According to the late Andrew Whyte, who I believe headed Jaguar’s PR for many years, 670002 was HKV 500.

Since this car is the only one to be seen in public with smaller front and rear lights, as well as lower rear number plate position, these anomalies only otherwise seen on the Earl’s Court show car, then then HKV 500 must have been the XK from the 1948 motor show. And not HKV 455.

That’s wot I think !

2021-04-22 12:46:06 | pauls writes:

Thanks Jeremy, corrected.

2021-05-17 06:37:11 | JeremyB writes:

I was both correct and incorrect ! HKV 500 was the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show car. But it was also 670001 after all, and is now in the USA.

There was always a certain amount of confusion between the identities of the three cars in the 1949 Production Car Race at Silverstone.

Does anyone know the full reg number of the red car, now known to be 670002, driven by Peter Walker, which ends in “... .47” ?

2021-05-17 06:59:20 | JeremyB writes:

Found it ! 670002 was registered FOJ 147.

2021-06-12 01:26:00 | Les. Hughes writes:

Nobody has told Jaguar Magazine it is wrong to say the identity of the 1948 XK120 debut car has aways been misquoted - because it had no chassis number applied until it was road registered in 1949. The genuine true first XK120 ever made, and the show car, Jabbeke record breaker and Silverstone winner in 1949 miraculously still survives and is in the US since leaving England late in 1949.

But does anyone know where it is now and who owns it? Do they know of this news?

As for the registration on the red XK120, Richard Hassan said the plate was loaned by a dealer and first issued in 1938. The red car was never registered.

It is the 4th XK120 built not third. The third car was 660002 which was on a ship to Sydney (in July) when 670002 was completed just before the race - this is from Richard Hassan - son of Jaguar's famous engineer and co-creator of the XK engine, and who is familiar with each of the works three XK120s. His father drove him and his brother to school in 670001, brought it home regularly and he and his brother were at Silverstone for the 1949 race.

2021-06-12 01:31:48 | Jeremy B writes:

This is very interesting. Thank you.

2022-04-27 04:13:21 | Les. Hughes writes:

I have run this discovery, published in our Jaguar Magazine, past many people. #67001 is definitely the 1948 first XK120 built, the London Show car, Jabekke record breaker and 1949 Silverstone race winner - and even Anders Clausager has read the story and not said we have got it wrong.

That first car had no chassis number until it was road registered, and neither did #660001 and #670002. So it got #670001.

Does anybody know who owns it now?

2024-03-15 22:31:14 | Lofty writes:

Bizarre that someone has just entered a 4.2 liter XJ6 motor number here that has nothing at all to do with this car. Originally fitted with the 16th XK120 motor by number, 670001 for much of its life had the later (and rare 9 to 1 compression ratio) block F2918-9 installed, as is outlined above. A (correctly unnumbered) early cylinder head remained. After the car was sold by RM almost 20 years ago, it underwent a full restoration (yes Mr. Hughes, the car has long-since been restored) which included sourcing and installing a correct replacement UN-STAMPED very early XK120 engine block, while retaining the existing alloy-car cylinder head.
Who would think this car has an XJ6 motor now? Where does that come from?

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