A classic Jaguar sports car that has been kept in a barn for over 40 years has been sold for over £240,000 at auction this month – and that’s despite its dilapidated appearance.
The 1955 XK140 is one of four models sent to the celebrated Italian coachbuilder Ghia when new, and only one of two to survive today.
It doesn’t look quite as grand as it did some 66 years ago, though, with paint peeling from its panels, surface rust on the bodywork and a cabin coated in dirt and dust after years of stagnating in storage.
Yet one collector forked out a whopping €287,500 (£242,759) to fend off interest from rival classic car enthusiasts during frantic bidding at a recent sale in Belgium.
Look beyond the peeling paint and rust: This rather sorry-looking Jaguar might look beyond repair but a classic car collector has just forked out over £240,000 for it with the intention of returning it to its original glory
The vehicle changed hands at the Bonhams Zoute auction, which took place on 10 October.
The lot started at €120,000 (£101,000) but quickly escalated to more than double that with a winning bid of €250,000 (£212,000), plus auction fees and taxes to give a final total of €287,500.
Its jaw-dropping sale price suggests, once restored, the Jag could be an extremely valuable asset.
The new owner of the left-hand drive motor will have to pay £100,000 to £150,000 to return it to its former glory, it has been estimated.
But once finished experts say the vehicle could be worth upwards of £400,000.
That’s because this particular motor has a glittering past.
The year after Ghia modified the quartet of XK140s, this very car was exhibited at the 1956 Paris Motor Show.
Shortly after it was sold to a wealthy French industrialist who proudly displayed it at the Cannes Concours d’Élégance.
The 1955 XK140 is one of four models sent to celebrated Italian coachbuilder Ghia and only one of two to survive today
The year after Ghia modified the quartet of XK140s, this very car was exhibited at the 1956 Paris Motor Show
Here’s how a standard 1955 Jaguar XK140 Fixed Head Coupe looks without bodywork created by Turin-based coachbuilder, Ghia. An absolutely mint example today sells for around £84,500 – a fraction of what the Zoute sale car is estimated to be worth
The new owner of the left-hand drive motor will have to pay £100,000 to £150,000 to return it to its former glory. But once completed, it is estimated to be worth around £400,000
In 1969 the Jaguar was bought by the late Roland Urban, the former President of the French Jaguar Drivers’ Club, who installed a more powerful 3.8-litre Jaguar XK engine before racing it over the next decade.
Due to its reduced weight owing to its aluminium body, Mr Urban won races at fast circuits like Monza, beating a Ferrari 250 TDF on one occasion.
Having competed extensively in the rare Jaguar, Mr Urban decided in 1979 it was time for a full refurbishment project, driving the car into his privately-owned barn in 1979.
Yet the project failed to materialise, and it was in that same storage unit the motor was left to languish for the next four decades.
The former President of the French Jaguar Drivers’ Club, Roland Urban, bought this car in 1969 and fitted it with a more powerful 3.8-litre Jaguar XK engine
The more potent powerplant was installed so that Mr Urban could take the car racing in various events, including rallies
Roland Urban pictured inside the car during one of the road rallies in which he and the Jaguar competed
This is believed to be the final image of the car before it went into storage some 42 years ago
It was offered to the highest bidder by the family of the late Mr Urban following his death and the car being dragged from its 42-year home.
Philip Kantor, head of motor cars Europe for Bonhams, said: ‘The Italians always made the greatest coachwork and it was a very desirable thing to have; English mechanicals such as the chassis and engine and an Italian body on top. It was a very chic thing to do.
‘In this case the car was sent to Ghia in Turin and it had a body put onto it and it was then exhibited in Paris.
‘Only four of them were built and they were all different so it is unique in that respect.
Having competed extensively in the rare Jaguar, Mr Urban decided in 1979 it was time for a full refurbishment project, driving the car into his barn in 1979 to await this – it then remained there
The project failed to materialise, and it’s in the same storage unit where the motor was left to languish for the next four decades. The car was sold by the late Mr Urban’s family following his passing
‘In 1969 the car was sold to the former president of the French Jaguar Drivers’ Club and he used it for racing because the Ghia body was aluminium and much lighter than the standard Jaguar coachwork.
‘It was put away in dry storage.
‘He died a few years ago and now his estate has sold the car and it will most probably be put back to its original condition and restored.
‘It has its original chassis and original coachwork and with not too much difficulty it could be put back to its original condition. The body has surface rust, but it is nothing. It has no holes in it and is in pretty good condition and can all be saved.
‘You are probably looking at at least £100,000 in restoration, maybe £150,000. It is certainly a car that could be worth several hundreds of thousands of pounds once restored.’
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.