Chassis number 660066 was dispatched by the works to Swedish racing car driver Oscar Swahn, who competed in this car in the World Sports Car Series between 1951-1953 as evidenced by racing records. This Jaguar XK120 OTS is a very early steel bodied car. In fact, it is the 8th steel bodied XK to have been built. Manufactured in April 1950 it is an original right-hand drive car and was exported to Swedish distributor Fredlund in Stockholm from new in May 1950. Up until 1967, they drove on the left-hand side of the road in Sweden. Originally finished in Black with a two-tone Biscuit and Red interior and a French Grey hood it certainly would have stood out from the crowd in 1950.
Oscar Swahn had formally raced a 1948 Cooper and went on to own a C-Type racing car but before that, he competed this XK120 in a number of Scandinavian events. Records show that in May 1951 he achieved 4th at Eläintarhan ajot in Helsinki, Finland, in March 1952 Swahn took 9th in the Varpenloppet Sportscar race at Lake Varpen in Sweden and then achieved 6th in the same race in 1953. Little else is known of this car's early history but it appears that Oscar Swahn was quite prolific in his racing career. He went on to have success in his Jaguar C-Type and seems to have competed in various ice races in the 1950s and 1960s. It seems reasonable to assume Oscar Swahn may have raced this XK120 in other events before selling it in 1953.
The second owner of this car was Gunnar Andersson who appears to have kept the car until 1960. Gunnar Andersson was in the Swedish Air Force as a trainee and in his spare time sold and repaired pre-war cars. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Gunnar would go on to become a rallying legend driving Volvos and is the driver in the very famous photo of an airborne Volve PV444 which was used extensively in Volvos marketing. It was though, the Jaguar XK120 which started off his motorsport career when he entered it in a driving skills competition in Gothenburg and won. He went on to use the car is various hill climbs and races until selling it in 1960. The next owner was another Swedish racing driver, Sven Andersson who appears to have been best known for racing Coopers in the 1950s. Sven Andersson kept the car until 1980.
This XK120 then spent time on display in a Swedish motor museum and at some point the colour scheme was changed to Old English White with Red interior. In 2010 the car was returned to the UK and registered as ‘XKV186’. Now in the hands of a serious classic Jaguar and historic motorsport enthusiast, the car underwent extensive recommissioning work in 2011 including an engine rebuild. The engine features 2” sand-cast carburettors and a C-Type cylinder head which are said to have been fitted in period. The car was subject to a number of upgrades between 2011 and 2015 including having a five-speed gearbox and front disc brakes fitted. The original gearbox, brakes and hubs remain with the car. Over the past decade or so the car has taken part in many rallies and classic car events across the UK and Europe. This XK is described as a ‘famous car’ in Andrew Whytes book, ‘Jaguar-The Definitive History of a Great British Car’ and is pictured in ‘The XK120 in Competition’ by Dr James Fraser as well as featuring regularly in Jaguar Drivers Club literature.
In the hands of its current owner, no expense has been spared in improving the car and bringing it back to its former glory. The goal was to create a truly reliable and usable XK120 for touring and historic rallies. Here at Twyford Moors car has been rewired and upgraded with a dynator (an alternator which looks like the original dynamo), the suspension has been rebuilt with polyurethane bushes, a servo has been fitted to the braking system and much more besides. Amongst many trips over the summer months this year the car also completed a trip to Cannes in the south of France in what was blistering heat. The owner reported that it covered the 1800 miles in 45-degree heat without missing a beat.
This car has the charming age and patina of an older restoration combined with the mechanical poise and reliability of a freshly restored car. To drive it really is as good as an XK120 gets. The engine delivers power from low down in the rev range making it an easy car to drive. The five-speed gearbox allows you to move through the gears swiftly and allows for comfortable motorway cruising. The brakes and suspension are precise and instil confidence as you put the car through corners on twisty roads. The car is fitted with a Brantz rally meter, four-point harnesses and has recently held a FIVA identity cars so is ready to be used for historic events.