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1954 Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia)

Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954 - Interior
Jaguar XK120 Supersonic (Ghia), 1954 - Interior
Images: Bonhams & Butterfields
Rating:  14    -1    +15
Jaguar 'Supersonic' Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia
Featured is one of just very few XKs sent to independent coachbuilder to be fitted with a custom body. It is one of three XK120s sent to Ghia in 1954 to be equipped with the Supersonic style coachwork penned by Giovanni Savonuzzi and first seen on an Alfa Romeo and multiple Fiat 8Vs. A quick look at the car will reveal why the design received the Supersonic name; it's a good reflection of the jet-obsession of the day. The beauty of many great things is in the details and in this case the 32-piece 'after-burner' taillights a second look. While Ghia was busy fitting the body, the engine was sent to specialist Conrero, who replaced the two SUs with three Webers with a considerable boost in power as a result.

Upon completion the three cars were set to be displayed together at the Cannes Concours d'Elegance. Jaguar was not too happy with the sexual implication of the license plate of the pictured car and it was shown in Cannes with 66-BJ-75 as the number plate instead of the 69-BJ-75 originally fitted. Shortly after the car was stored because its owner was involved in legal and financial issues and carefully hid the car, so his creditors could not get their hands on it. After many years it resurfaced and it has been completely restored in 1990s. Still in excellent condition, it seen here at the 2006 Retromobile.

Wouter Melissen - www.ultimatecarpage.com


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.

www.bonhams.com
Coachbuilder: Ghia
1933 Fiat 508S Balilla Spider (Ghia), 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Cabriolet (Ghia), 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Cabriolet (Ghia), 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupe (Ghia), 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Supergioiello (Ghia), 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter (Ghia), 1951 Chrysler K-310 (Ghia), 1951 Plymouth XX-500 (Ghia), 1951 Talbot-Lago T.26 Record Coupe (Ghia), 1952 Chrysler C-200 (Ghia), 1952 Chrysler Special (Ghia), 1953 Abarth Fiat 1100 (Ghia), 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint Supergioiello (Ghia), 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Supersonic Conrero (Ghia), 1953 Cadillac Coupe (Ghia), 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance (Ghia), 1953 Chrysler GS-1 Special (Ghia), 1953 Chrysler Thomas Special (Ghia), 1953 Dodge Firearrow I (Ghia), 1953 Fiat 8V Boano Coupe (Ghia), 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic Coupe (Ghia), 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 CS Speciale (Ghia), 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 SS (Ghia), 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Abarth (Ghia), 1954 Chrysler ST Special (Ghia), 1954 DeSoto Adventurer I (Ghia), 1954 Dodge Firearrow II (Ghia), 1954 Dodge Firearrow III (Ghia), 1954 Dodge Firebomb - 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