Ex-Le Mans XK120 is a Roving Piece of Automotive History

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Historic ex-Le Mans race car proves to be a family affair for its owner, in latest Petrolicious video.

Jaguar’s XK120 was a landmark car for the company any way you slice it. This Petrolicious video shines a spotlight on one XK120 that’s even more special than the rest.

The growl of the XK120’s inline six is intoxicating, its tone, appropriately enough, reminiscent of a big jungle cat. In between artistically-filmed driving shots of the car, the owner shares it unique story.

Jaguar XK120 Le Mans

In 1950, Jaguar built 3 specially-prepared XK120s to race at Le Mans. Rather than enter the cars themselves, Jaguar selected three teams to run the cars as privateer entries. This car is one of those three. As a result, it is directly responsible for laying the groundwork for Jaguar’s future success at Le Mans.

There’s no denying that this is a special car. Its owner, William Foster, is likely to enjoy it more than most, however. Foster’s father passed this rare Jaguar down to him. While the car’s racing pedigree is impressive, what Foster cherishes most are childhood memories of riding beside his dad in this very car.

Creature comforts in vintage sports cars were slim to none, and anything that could add weight was stripped out for racing. Being a vintage race car, the XK120 can be quite punishing to drive. Most notably, the tiny windshield offers little in the way of protection. Foster suggests wearing a helmet – or a pair of goggles, at the very least – to keep bugs at bay.

Still, Foster wouldn’t have it any other way. He describes driving the Jaguar he and his father have shared as a “real treat.” Every journey, big or small, has an air of excitement about it. As much as we appreciate modern Jaguars, we long for a time when a car needed little more than three pedals, four wheels, and six cylinders to be competitive.

Longtime motorcyclist and automotive journalist Cam Vanderhorst is a regular contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum and MB World, among others.

When he's not busy working on his Harley-Davidson bike, the vastly experienced writer has covered an array of features, reviews, how-tos, op-eds and news stories for Internet Brands' Auto Group and is also a co-founder and co-host of the popular podcast Cammed & Tubbed.

Check him out on Instagram at: Camvanderhorst.

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