• Manufacturer Jaguar Cars
  • Production 1954–1957
  • Body style(s) 2-seat roadster
    2-seat convertible
    2-seat coupé
  • Class Sports car
  • Successor Jaguar XK150
  • Layout FR layout
  • Predecessor Jaguar XK120

The history of the Jaguar XK140


The Jaguar XK140 is a sports car manufactured by Jaguar between 1954 and 1957, the successor to Jaguar's highly successful XK120. Upgrades included better brakes, rack and pinion steering, increased suspension travel and modern tube type shock absorbers instead of the older lever arm design.
The XK140 was introduced in late 1954 and sold as a 1955 model. The primary visual change was the more substantial front and rear bumpers, with large overriders. Another new feature was modern flashing turn signals, operated by a separate switch on the dash. The twin amber lights positioned above the front bumper helped to distinguish the XK140 - until XK120 owners started installing the same equipment.
Front grille size stayed the same but became a one piece cast unit with fewer, thicker vertical slats. The Jaguar badge was fitted to the grille itself, rather than being mounted between the grille and hood/bonnet as on the XK-120. A chrome trim strip extended back over the bonnet and at the rear continued down the centre of the boot lid, where it contained a red shield with the words 'Winner Le Mans 1951-3' inscribed in gold.
The interior was improved for taller drivers with an addition of 3 inches (76 mm) of legroom, as a result of relocating the engine, firewall and dash forward. The new arrangement left no room for the XK120 battery compartment, and the single battery was now located low down inside the wing on the inlet side, making it almost impossible to replace.
The XK140 continued to feature the famous Jaguar XK engine with the Special Equipment modifications from the XK120 as standard, increasing the specified power by 10 bhp to 190 bhp (142 kW) gross at 5500 rpm. The special C-Type cylinder head was also carried through from the XK120 catalogue as an option, specified at 210 bhp (157 kW) gross at 5750 rpm.
A car fitted with the C-type cylinder head, 2-inch sandcast H8 carburettors, heavier front torsion bars and twin exhaust pipes was known in the UK as an XK-140 SE. In North America it was popularly called an XK-140 MC.
In 1956, the XK140 was the first Jaguar sports car to be offered with an automatic transmission. As with the XK120, the availability of wire wheels and dual exhausts were options although most cars imported into the United States had wire wheels. Cars with disc wheels continued to be offered with spats closing the rear wheel arch.
The XK140 was available in three body styles. The OTS (Open Two Seater) roadster had a light canvas top assembly that when lowered fitted behind the seats and thus completely disappeared inside the body. The interior of the OTS was trimmed in leather and leatherette, including the dash. Like the XK120 Roadster, the XK140 OTS had removable canvas and plastic side curtains on light alloy doors, and either a long or short tonneau cover to keep the cockpit dry with the top down.
As well as real wind-up windows, the DHC (Drop Head Coupe) had a permanently-mounted padded soft top that when lowered sat above and outside the body of the car. it also had a fixed windscreen (unlike the removable windscreen of the OTS). The DHC had a very elegant walnut-veneered dash and door cappings, as did the FHC (Fixed Head Coupe). As a gesture to practicality, a jump seat was added to both coupe models. The FHC's windscreen was mounted further forward, giving it considerably more interior space than the DHC.
XK 140 Engines: Model / Years / Displacement / Configuration / Bore-Stroke / Carburettor / Power
XK 140 3.4 / 1954-1957 / 3442 cc / DOHC Straight-6 / 83 mm x 106 mm / Double SU H6 / 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS) @ 5500 rpm
XK 140 3.4 SE (C-Type Head) / 1954-1957 / 3442 cc / DOHC Straight-6 / 83 mm x 106 mm / Double SU H8 / 210 bhp (157 kW; 213 PS) @ 5750 rpm
Realistically, a stock XK-140 SE could achieve a top speed of 120-125 mph (193-201 km/h). Road & Track's XK-140 MC test in June 1955 recorded a best two-way average of 120.3 mph. Best one-way run was 121.1 mph. Sports Cars Illustrated's test of the same model in Aug 1957 had a fastest two-way average of 121 mph. Their best one-way run was 124 mph. Karl Ludvigsen's test published in Sports Car World (July 1957) had the same results as the SCI test.
Acceleration times from 0-60 mph/97 kph were 8.4 sec, 9.1 sec and 9.1 sec respectively. Only the R&T test tried 0-100 mph/160 kph which took 26.5 sec. Standing 1/4 mile times were 16.6 sec (82 mph approx) and 16.9 sec (86 mph).

Type 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s
5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Sports   XK120 XK140 XK150 E-type S1 E S2 E-type S3 XJ-S
Saloon     Mark 1 Mark 2, 240, 340    
      S-Type     XJ-C  
      420 XJ6 S1 XJ6 S2
Mk IV Mk V Mk VII Mk VIII Mk IX Mk X 420G   XJ12 S1 XJ12 S2
Supercar     XKSS    
Racing     C-Type D-Type     E-Type   XJ13     XJ-C XJ41 / XJ42
Corporate ownership Independent BMH British Leyland

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