|Fixed Head Coupe|
|Left Hand Drive|
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Record Creation: Entered on 15 February 2006.
Database Updates: Show dataplate edits
Photos of 679768
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Exterior Photos (20)
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Interior Photos (3)
Details Photos: Exterior (22)
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Detail Photos: Interior (3)
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2006-02-15 11:11:38 | Lofty writes:
Jaguar XK 120 "Supersonic" 1954
Cette réalisation est l'oeuvre de l'ingénieur Giovanni Savonuzzi pour le compte du célèbre carrossier italien Ghia, dessiné sur la base d'un châssis Jaguar XK 120 (679768). Le concept "Supersonic", très avant-gardiste pour l'époque, fut étendu à 11 ou 12 modèles sur quatre bases différentes :
- 6 ou 7 unités sur base Fiat 8V
- 1 unité sur base Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk III en fibre de verre de couleur vert pale
- 3 unités sur base Jaguar XK 120 comprenant ce modèle
2006-07-01 10:33:05 | StevenD writes:
English translation of above comment (from Alta Vista Babelfish):
Jaguar XK 120 "Supersonic" 1954 This realization is the work of engineer Giovanni Savonuzzi on behalf of the famous Italian carriage-builder Ghia, constructed on the base frame Jaguar XK 120 (679768). The concept "Supersonic", very avant-gardist for the time, was extended to 11 or 12 models on four different chassis: - 6 or 7 units based on FIAT 8V - 1 unit based on a Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk III chassis out of green glass fibre of color blade - 3 units based on Jaguar XK 120 including this example.
2007-01-18 10:07:17 | Anonymous writes:
More pictures at:
2007-05-09 08:51:51 | John Elmgreen writes:
Note confusion of entry here with chassis 679758 Chassis 679768 is correct for this Ghia bodied car in France.
2007-07-19 20:07:21 | pauls writes:
May '07 auction description:
Sale 15487 - Les Grandes Marques a Monaco - Collectors' Sports and Grand Touring Motor Cars and Automobilia, 21 May 2007
Exposition de la collection de Voitures Anciennes de S.A.S le Prince de Monaco
Lot No: 150
One of only three
1952 Jaguar ‘Supersonic’ Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia
State-of-the-art at the time of its creation in 1949, the XK120’s William Lyons-designed body would stand the test of time, lasting in production, in only mildly modified form for the successor XK140 and XK150 models, until the E-Type’s arrival in 1961. Few owners can have had any cause for complaint about the car’s looks, and only a relative handful of XK120s was supplied in bare chassis form for bodying by independent coachbuilders. The car offered here is a rare example of an XK120 fitted with bespoke, non-factory coachwork, being one of only three XK120s bodied in ‘Supersonic’ style by the renowned Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Ghia.
Carrozzeria Ghia was founded by Giacinto Ghia in Turin in 1919, soon establishing a reputation not just for luxury coachwork but also for bodying competition cars. Despite its founder’s death in 1944 and wartime damage to the factory, Ghia resumed its place at the forefront of Italian coachbuilding after WW2, providing the training ground for many of Italy’s rising-star designers: Michelotti, Boano, Frua and Savonuzzi all making a contribution to its continuing success. Ghia has collaborated with many of the world’s leading car manufacturers, producing memorable models such as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, Lancia Aurelia B20 and FIAT 1500 and 2300 Coupés.
The 1950s decade was a period when automobile stylists the world over were influenced by developments in aircraft technology, in particular the coming of the ‘Jet Age’. This influence would reach its zenith in the United States in the decade’s latter years and is perhaps best exemplified by the outrageous tail fins of the 1959 Cadillacs. European designers too fell under its seductive spell, as this car clearly illustrates. The work of Giovanni Savonuzzi at Ghia, the ‘Supersonic’ body design first appeared on a Conrero-tuned Alfa Romeo 1900 entered in the 1953 Mille Miglia. In addition to the solitary Alfa and three XK120s, the Supersonic design also appeared on an Aston Martin and a number of FIAT 8V chassis.
This left-hand drive Jaguar XK120 Supersonic, chassis number ‘679768’, is one of two ordered via the French Jaguar importer in Paris, Royal-Elysées, by a Lyonnias businessman, a Monsieur Malpelli. The other Malpelli XK120, finished in blue, is known to exist in France while the third example’s whereabouts are unknown. There are numerous detail differences between the coachwork of the red and blue Supersonics, while the car offered here, ‘679768’, is the only one fitted with a cylinder head modified by Virgilio Conrero to accommodate three twin-choke Weber carburettors instead of the standard twin SUs. The engine is reputed to produce 220bhp.
After completion, ‘679768’ was exhibited at the Paris and London Motor Shows in 1954 and took part in the Concours d’Elegance competitions in Montreux and Cannes. Originally registered ‘69 BJ 75’ and subsequently ‘66 BJ 75’, it was retrieved by Royal-Elysées following the disappearance of the mysterious Malpelli, remaining with the company until 1969 when proprietor Charles Delecroix ceased importing Jaguars. When Royal-Elysées sold up, the Supersonic was bought by Philippe Renault and subsequently sold by him to Roland Urban, who displayed the car at his motor museum devoted to special-bodied Jaguars in Montlhéry. When the current owner, a prominent Jaguar collector and member of the French Jaguar Drivers’ Club, bought the car from Roland Urban in 1994 it had recorded only 9,400 kilometres from new.
Following completion of a no-expense-spared total restoration undertaken with the assistance of marque specialists Atelier Sontrop of Pourrain, the Supersonic won 1st prize at the prestigious Louis Vuitton Concours at Parc de Bagatelle, Paris in September 1996. There are bills totalling circa FF240,000 for this restoration work in addition to Atelier Sontrop’s invoice for servicing in 2005. Since restoration the car has covered only 10,000-or-so kilometres. Offered with French Carte Grise, this unique XK120 represents a rare opportunity to acquire a car that is not only an important piece of Jaguar history, but also a milestone in the development of Italian coachbuilding in the innovating post-war years.
2009-10-19 10:16:28 | pauls writes:
This red Jaguar XK120 Supersonic, #679768, is one of two ordered via the French Jaguar importer in Paris, by a Lyonnias businessman, a Monsieur Malpelli.
The other Malpelli XK120, finished in blue, is known to exist in France while the third example's whereabouts are unknown.
There are numerous detail differences between the coachwork of the red and blue Supersonics, while the red car is the only one fitted with a cylinder head modified by Virgilio Conrero to accommodate three twin-choke Weber carburettors instead of the standard twin SUs.
The engine is reputed to produce 220bhp.
After completion, #679768 was exhibited at the Paris and London Motor Shows in 1954 and took part in the Concours d'Elegance competitions in Montreux and Cannes.
Originally registered "69 BJ 75" and subsequently "66 BJ 75", it was retrieved by the Paris dealer following the disappearance of the mysterious Malpelli, remaining with the company until 1969 when proprietor Charles Delecroix ceased importing Jaguars.
When the Paris Jaguar dealer sold up, the Supersonic was bought by Philippe Renault and subsequently sold by him to Roland Urban, who displayed the car at his motor museum devoted to special-bodied Jaguars in Montlhery.
When the current owner, a prominent Jaguar collector and member of the French Jaguar Drivers Club, bought the car from Roland Urban in 1994 it had recorded only 9,400 kilometres from new.
Since restoration the car has covered only 10,000-or-so kilometres.
This unique XK120 is not only an important piece of Jaguar history, but also a milestone in the development of Italian coachbuilding in the innovating post-war years.
2012-08-28 14:06:26 | pauls writes:
Article in AutoWeek E magazine 8/28/12
It is a rarity to find a Jaguar that was sent to an Italian coachbuilder--less than a dozen are known to have been built--and perhaps strangely enough, most of them came from the small shop of Ghia, based in Turin. At the end of 1952, it started work on what would become one of its most sought-after design pieces.
Freelance designer Giovanni Savonuzzi drew up a design on request for his friend and famous car tuner Virgilio Conrero that was to be placed on a specially built Alfa Romeo that his Swiss client would race at the next Mille Miglia. To execute the build, Ghia was selected due to its specialty of building high-quality, one-off cars.
The heavily prepared Alfa Romeo 1900 that Conrero built did in fact make it to the start of the 1953 Mille Miglia. But during the first stage, the driver crashed the car, and it burned down to the ground.
Following the Mille Miglia, Luigi Segre, Ghia's commercial director, hired Savonuzzi, and they started planning a "production run" on what he termed his "supersonic" design. For the first car, they choose the Fiat 8V platform, since it was easily available and fairly cheap compared with similar offerings from Alfa and Maserati.
The Supersonic debuted at the Paris motor show, and by all accounts it was a hit. According to Fiat export files, 16 Fiats were shipped to Ghia and 15 received the Supersonic body, with the last one being completed in 1954. Ten of the coachbuilt Fiats are known to still exist.
A year later, French Jaguar importer Royal Elysees placed an order for two more Supersonics, but this time he wanted them built on the XK120 chassis.
Jaguar chassis No. 679768, a 1952 chassis and the car shown here in the photos, was the first one completed and was shown at the 1954 Paris motor show and subsequently appeared in various concours d'elegance.
Interestingly enough, this car also received some attention from tuner Conrero, as the engine received a new cylinder head and three Weber carburetors instead of the standard twin SU layout. This bumped up the horsepower from 160 hp to about 220 hp.
After the disappearance of its first owner, the car remained with the importer until 1969 when the business closed down. After that, the car remained in France with three different Jaguar enthusiasts until it left the country for the first time to where it resides today in Switzerland.
It is here with Graber Sports Garage that we find this burgundy gem, together with one of its "sisters," a burgundy Fiat 8V.
Getting behind the wheel of the XK120 is a bit of an experience for anyone more than six feet tall as there isn't as much room behind the big wooden steering wheel as you might expect.
A comfortable seating position is difficult to find because of the cramped conditions. We have to push the throttle down from the bottom of the pedal, but luckily it's mounted from above, making it a bit easier.
When first gear is engaged, the lever is stuck against my knee and gives no room at all to move in order to operate the pedals. Even headspace is cramped, but with a car that looks this good, you just grin and bear it.
Once we are moving, it is a bit of a surprise how heavy the steering is, but again, you adapt to it quickly, and after a few minutes, I didn't really notice it anymore. It is only later in the evening that you feel it in your arm muscles that you had a bit of a workout with the car.
Yet cruising around the Swiss Alps following the similar-designed 8V is just an out-of-this-world experience. Savonuzzi's design attracts attention from nearly everyone who sees it, and seeing two such wildly designed cars driving together is truly something special.
Price new: GB£988 for a standard 1950 XK120 roadster. No estimate for the special coachbuild.
Price now: $2.2 million (estimate)
2015-06-20 18:13:34 | pauls writes:
Car to return to auction 8/15
Monterey 13-15 August 2015
1952 Jaguar XK120 Supersonic by Ghia
Chassis no. 679768
Engine no. W 5162-8
2015-07-28 01:11:47 | pauls writes:
Additional description from above auction:
13-15 August 2015
1952 Jaguar XK120 Supersonic by Ghia
To be auctioned on Friday, August 14, 2015
$1,900,000 - $2,400,000
Chassis no. 679768
Engine no. W 5162-8
One of three built with Giovanni Savonuzzi's fabulous Supersonic coachwork
The 1954 Paris and Cannes show car
Only 22,000 kilometers from new
A period concours participant
The ultimate Jet Age styling on one of the world's great sports cars
The Supersonic was created by Ghia designer Giovanni Savonuzzi and originally appeared on a Conrero-tuned Alfa Romeo 1900 entered in the 1953 Mille Miglia. Its ultra-streamlined curves, appearing to have been stretched in aluminum over a chassis, would be copied on a small run of Fiat 8V chassis, an Aston Martin, and no fewer than three Jaguar XK120s.
The XK120 offered here, chassis number 679768, is documented by its Jaguar-Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, a copy of which is on file, as having been originally delivered as a left-hand-drive model with its present engine, number W 5162-8, and factory fixed head coupe bodywork to dealer Delecroix, of Paris, France.
It is believed that Delecroix then shipped this car and another left-hand-drive XK120 to Ghia for new Supersonic bodywork, built to the order of Monsieur Malpelli, reportedly a businessman from Lyon. This particular car is the only example originally fitted with a cylinder head tuned by Virgilio Conrero, accommodating three 2-barrel Weber carburetors, rather than the standard twin SUs, and enabling the engine to produce some 220 brake horsepower.
Upon its completion, chassis number 679768 was exhibited at both the Paris and London shows in 1954, and it also took part in the concours d'elegance competitions in Montreux and Cannes (importantly being shown alongside the other two XK120 Supersonics at the latter event). However, Monsieur Malpelli never paid the bill for either of his Supersonics, resulting in the Parisian dealer taking them back.
The car remained with the dealer until 1969, when it was sold to Philippe Renault. It was subsequently sold to Roland Urban and displayed in his collection of special-bodied Jaguars at Montlhéry, as well as featured in his book, Les Métamorphoses du Jaguar (pages 170-176). It passed in 1994 to a prominent French Jaguar collector, M. Ferchaud. In Mr. Ferchaud's ownership, the car was restored with the assistance of marque specialists Atelier Sontrop, having recorded at that point only 9,400 kilometers from new; documentation for that restoration, as well as for services since, is available on file. Following this work, the car was an award winner at the Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance at Bagatelle in 1998.
The car was acquired by its present owners in 2007 and presently records 22,000 original kilometers. Although repainted by Atelier Sontrop in its present lovely red metallic hue, its tan leather upholstery is the original installed by Ghia in 1953. Its mileage is documented by an extensive collection of paperwork, including its FIVA paperwork and French Carte Grise. The car also retains its original matching-numbers engine block and head, identified by their appropriate numbers. It won a special prize at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille Concours d'Elegance in 2014. Importantly, this is one of only two XK120 Supersonics (both Malpelli cars) that exist today, and the other's body has been transplanted to a Shelby Cobra.
It is a rare opportunity to find an iconic streamlined design of the Jet Age, and it is rare to find a truly special Jaguar XK120. This car combines both into one thrilling, dramatic package, as exciting today as it was in the early 1950s--perhaps even more so!