A friend of mine recently brought this XK140 to my attention. The photos and description appeared in his club magazine, the XK Gazette, and he thought I might know the car. Indeed, I do know the car. It’s a LHD 140, chassis #S811555. In 1998, it was sold by European Collectibles in Costa Mesa, California to John Franks, a land developer in San Luis Obispo, California. When Franks purchased the car, the body had nearly been destroyed by rust. It apparently had been originally purchased from Hornberg in 1955 and continued to live its life in the beach cities of Southern California.
Over the next half century, the salt air had taken its toll. There wasn’t a panel that was not missing or a portion of metal that hadn’t been destroyed by corrosion. It had also been hit in the front, and as a result, one of the wings was beyond repair. Franks had little idea of what he had taken on and was dismayed by the estimates he was getting for a restoration. Consequently, for several years he stored the car in a barn on his ranch just outside of San Luis Obispo.
In order to make some progress on the project, he had the motor and transmission removed and taken to British Sports Cars in San Luis Obispo. The owner of British Sports Cars, Peter Jurgens, who seems to always have an XK in his shop, rebuilt the engine and transmission. Peter is an XK engine expert and consequently did a great job, particularly with the C-Type Head. Both the engine and transmission were stored in his shop in anticipation of completion of the body and chassis at some future time.
Over the next several years, a directionless and drawn-out disassembly occurred. Sometime around 2005, Franks turned the car over to an excellent metal man, Gary Tisdale of Nipomo, California. The body was in such poor condition, that whole panels and wings were purchased with the idea of welding them into place with a few small adjustments. Unfortunately, none of these off-the-shelf panels or wings came close to fitting, and Tisdale had to all but re-fabricate them to get proper fits. The last time I saw the body it looked as it does in the photos and as was indicated in the magazine description. It’s clear Tisdale did his work to a high standard.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007, Franks put the 140 up for sale. He realized this, he turned to Justin Jurgens, Peter’s son, to sell it for him. Justin, who is not only a mechanic, but also handles all sales at British Sports Cars, sold the car to a dealer in the Netherlands, who in turn, apparently, sold it to Edward Schinkel.
Thurlow Weed is a vintage Jaguar enthusiast who resides in California.