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Monday, 17 December 2018
AFTER a restoration taking nearly 7,000 hours, a unique British-made car was the star of a famous classic car show at the weekend in California, writes Nigel Wigmore.
Following some 6,725 hours of intense restoration by world-class specialists Classic Motor Cars (CMC), the wraps came off the unique Pininfarina-bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.
Peter Neumark, chairman of the Employee Ownership Trust that runs CMC, said: “It was a privilege to take the cover off this long-lost Jaguar at one of the most important classic car shows in the world.
“The car was admired all day and we are delighted to be bringing a trophy home as a further testimony to the skills, dedication and attention to detail that we have in our business.”
The XK120 features unique bodywork by Italian coachbuilder and design house Pininfarina. It was first delivered to a Mr Max Hoffman in 1954, who was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles into the United States during the Fifties. It is believed that Hoffman inspired Pininfarina to reinterpret the shape of the XK and then unveiled the car at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show.
After the unveiling, the XK appeared at an Autocar show later in April that year. Australian magazine Modern Motor reported that it was due to be exhibited at the Turin Motor Show in 1956, but it never arrived due to the owner wanting to take delivery of it.
David Barzilay, chairman of CMC’s operating board, said: “There is little trace of the car’s history, but we are certain that Hoffman was the supplying dealer, then first owner of the car, and that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence.”
In 2015, CMC bought the car from a German who had purchased it in the US in 1978 with the intention of restoring it. But he never got round to it and eventually decided to sell. CMC took on the challenge and have restored every nut and bolt of the vehicle.
The team of specialists faced a number of challenges during the restoration, from finding the original paint colour to remaking the bumpers and rear window screen.
Barzilay said: “Some of the original parts were impossible to find so we had to remake items such as the bumpers and chrome work by hand from photographs. We had to scan the front and rear end of the car and make mock-ups of the lights, which were then scanned and 3D printed. Smaller missing parts were also 3D printed
He added: “There were no signs of the original paint colour and it all came down to the last nut and bolt. When the front screen was removed we discovered a small section of original paint and used it as a colour match.
“The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original colour of the trim, but we discovered a small sample of original ochre tan leather when we stripped the car down.
“This was colour matched and the original type and colour leather was used to recreate the interior. The shape and pattern of the door cards was created by looking at similar Pininfarina designed cars from the period.”