Jaguar XK140

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Jaguar XK140
Jaguar XK140
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
PredecessorJaguar XK120
SuccessorJaguar XK150
ClassSports car
Body style(s)2-seat roadster
2-seat convertible
2-seat coupé
LayoutFR layout
ManualsService Manual

The Jaguar XK140 was a sports car manufactured by Jaguar between 1954 and 1957. Upgrades over its predecessor, the XK120, included better brakes, rack and pinion steering, and modern tube type shock absorbers instead of the older lever arm design. The name referred to its 140 mph (225 km/h) top speed. The XK140 continued to feature the famous Jaguar XK engine with the SE mods from the XK120 as standard, now delivering 10 extra hp up to 190 bhp (142 kW) at 5500 rpm. The special C-Type cylinder head was also carried through from the XK120 catalogue as an option, providing 210 bhp (157 kW) at 5750 rpm.

With the introduction of the XK140 in late 1954 (all sold as 1955 models), the primary visual change was the more substantial front and rear bumpers, with large overriders. Another new feature was the provision of modern flashing direction indicators, 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.

Centre of the boot (trunk) emblem

The front grill was the same size as the grill on the XK120, but was now a one piece cast unit with fewer, thicker vertical slats. Above the grill was the Jaguar mascot, and a chrome strip which extended back over the bonnet. This strip continued down the centre of the boot (trunk) lid, where it contained a red shield with the words 'Winner Le Mans 1951-3' inscribed in gold.

The interior was also more comfortable for taller occupants with the addition of 3 inches (76 mm) in length. This was achieved by moving the engine forward which allowed the firewall and dash location to be relocated as well. The new arrangement left no room for the XK120 battery compartment, and the single battery was now repositioned low down inside the wing on the inlet side, making it almost impossible to replace.

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 fender skirts (spats) closing the rear wheel arch. The XK140 was available in three body styles. A Roadster or OTS (Open Two Seater) which had a light canvas top assembly that when lowered fitted behind the seats and thus completely disappeared inside the body. The interior of the Roadster was very sparse with no wood embellishments, but with a leather dash. Just like the XK120 Roadster, the XK140 OTS or Roadster had removable canvas and plastic side curtains on light alloy doors. The DHC or Drop Head Coupe had a more substantial padded top that when lowered sat above and outside the body of the car, it also had a fixed windscreen (unlike the removable windscren of the OTS). The DHC also had roll up windows and a very elegant veneered dash, both of which featured on the FHC or Fixed Head Coupe as well. As a gesture to practicality, a jump seat was added to both coupe models.

Technical specifications

XK 140 ENGINES Ref: [1] [2]
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)("MC" in USA) 1954-1957
3442 cc
DOHC Straight-6
83 mm x 106 mm
Double SU H8 210 bhp (157 kW; 213 PS) @ 5750 rpm

In pop culture

This was the automobile driven by the character Sebastian Valmont, played by Ryan Phillippe in the 1999 hit film, Cruel Intentions.


  1. Jaguar XK140 Specifications - Retrieved on 04 Nov 2008
  2. The Jaguar Database - Retrieved on 04 Nov 2008

External links