How did I forget the XK 140? Somehow I managed to overlook it, which is not easy to do. It’s literally impossible to overstate the impact of the Jaguar, especially the XK Series, starting with the seminal XK 120 in 1949. It essentially defined the post war sports car, most of all in its styling. Jaguar was the number one sports/luxury import in the post war era, right up to about 1960 or so, when Mercedes supplanted in that role. But in the mid ’50s, this XK 140 MC roadster was top dog, in terms of relatively affordable high performance sports car.
Its styling and the smooth power of its DOHC 3.4 L six were always the high points of the XK 120 and 140, but almost ten years on, the limitations were also becoming more obvious, despite some improvements in the 140. Ergonomically, these cars were a disaster; at least one could sort of sit in the 140, thanks to the engine being moved forward three inches. But it was still a cramped little cabin for a relatively large car. As appealing as it was to show off puttering around town, that was precisely the conditions that were least conducive to driving enjoyment: heavy steering, a baulky transmission, uncomfortable pedal placement, etc. But on a fast winding road, the 140 was in its elements. But even then it couldn’t outrun time. An aging platform but still able to bring pleasure under the right circumstances.
Thus truly ends our survey of the sports cars of circa 1957 thanks to SCI.