Advice on Buying a Second '120OTS?

I’m kind of on the fence with this one…

As my sole XK120 OTS is still a non-running project three years after purchase, I’m now open to purchasing a driver second car until that day when my project is on the road. It would be really so I can enjoy the XK-experience now while continuing to take my time without cutting corners on my current project. It might also be useful to have a second, running car as a reference comparison to my non-runner so as to evaluate the effectiveness of repairs, mods, quirks, performance, etc. Then, when my current project is up to snuff and fully roadworthy, I’ll evaluate which one to keep long term. Any thoughts here – especially from those who have more than one?


That is what I did when my e type ots turned out to be a deathtrap 25 years ago. Bought a fhc to drive till it was redone. Finally got around to starting the restoration 2 years ago. I say go for it. Misery loves company :scream:

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Seriously, I think it is a good idea. You only live once and time flies by. Unless money is a consideration you will not regret it. If I had not bought the second one I likely would have been without a driving e type for the last 25 years.

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I have several XKs, and love them all.
Go for it.

If price is no barrier, why not?

True. And five years from now I believe I could still sell one or the other and at least break even. Another appealing factor would be using the parts off of one as the model for making parts missing on another. More than once I’ve ordered and since waited for what turned out to be some sub-standard part – plus tax and shipping – only to be disappointed with the quality mixed with the observation that I could have made the same thing on a mill, lathe, bending brake, whatever, for a fraction of the cost. That’s what gets me: knowing I have the skill sets to do that, but not always having an example in hand to guide me. That would be a fringe benefit of owning a second. Mostly it’s all about wanting to simply just get out there and drive the wheels off of one of these.

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I’m not sure. My XK, which is 18 months into restoration and I’m still welding, is the only Jag I own. I’ve never quite understood having multiple cars of the same make and model - whilst I can see that it simplifies spares supply and therefore cost, I think life’s maybe too short to limit yourself to one model. And when they’re finished (if they ever are…), how do you decide which to drive? I have five classics, but they couldn’t be more different. One small town car (which punches way above its weight), one rugged off-roader and tow car, one closed GT, one out-and-out sportscar and the 140DHC which will be the open GT. Two are from 1968, one from 1965, one from 1967 and the XK is a '55. Choosing which one to drive is usually pretty easy.
It’s all down entirely to personal preference.

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As a restorer of 3 XK120s in Brighton in the 60s and the present owner of 6 XK120s in the USA, I suggest, that unless you have access to a unrestored car close by you, go ahead and buy the best driver you can afford. Vart, Urs and others are OK but not 100%. In the end you might want to keep them both as most restored cars never seem to have the correct feel… It can become an addiction as it did to me.
Mike May

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Yea, go for it. Just remember though… a driver is just another car in need of the same TLC as a finished restoration hitting the road. Probably more.

Every time you come home there will be a squeak in the brakes, a stutter at 2,500RPM, a fuse that constantly blows for no good reason. When I bought my driver E-type it needed a clutch that snowballed to a 6 week project pushing back the completion of the TC.

It WILL be a time drain.

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ALLL part of a grand adventure!

Were it not for these bastard projects, we’d all likely be dead.


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…or yelling at the TV.


It’s a slippery slope.

I know. Like you, I once had an MGA and after rebuilding the engine and a multitude of other things, the best I could expect afterwards was to reach a sort of maintenance plateau where things weren’t getting worse, but a certain amount of time was a given just to maintain the daily driver status quo. I can make allowances for that.

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These are good replies so far, thanks. Nice to read of other’s enthusiasm for the model despite our gripes at times.

I still have to research this more, but the biggest hurdle so far would not be in finding and purchasing another car, decent examples at a fair price come up frequently enough here in California, but in securing additional garage space. Jan and I are in a Santa Cruz townhouse and all of our garage space is currently being taken up by my car project and machine tools. Someday we’ll move off to something larger but my job is a nice rarity in this day and age that keeps us rooted here for now. So I’m looking for garages for rent and am coming up empty. Many want ads from transients/ homeless looking for the same so maybe that’s scared off those with something to rent. My thinking has been I’ll find a car first and ask the seller to secure it for a few weeks until a garage can be lined up. If I’m serious about this I’ll have to rethink that. Possibly best to secure a garage first – even if it’s a wasted expense in the interim – while then on the lookout for another car. Probably a common refrain here in the greater San Francisco bay area. I’ll need to start working my network of gearhead friends too.

My initial reaction was “two XK120s?? Are you a masochist?” but I kind of see the logic. Unless you’re tempted to do a total restoration on the driver years from now after the first one’s done … how strong’s your marriage? :sunglasses:

I bought my 120 28 years ago and it’s still not on the road. I have put more time, effort and money into the thing than I care to admit, even to myself. Just the mere thought of buying another one in need of even more work gave me the willies.

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Precisely where I am, about ever owning another full-on resto of an E Type.

Jan pushes me to work on it even more than I and has never been resentful of the attention/ time I give to it so, I value that. Maybe, just maybe, I might even let her drive it someday :slight_smile: Thank god she doesn’t read this forum like I do or I’ll have to eat those words.

Nick, we’re in awe of your talents and attention to detail, but I could never wait 28 years. It’s funny: school/ work from years earlier as an aircraft mechanic and then machinist sometimes works against me as I can get too laser-focused on details at the expense of a considerable amount of time. So by considering the purchase of a driver, I’m hoping I can strike some sort of balance.

Two years ago I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on my Mark V body-off nut&bolt restoration. Happened to see a '38 SS on a dealer site. Interesting car, good price, knew I could restore it properly, thought it would make a good next project, chipped the price down a bit and bought it. My wife Jeanine chose the color it would be restored in from the SS color chart on this web site, mountain ash green.
A month later life came crashing down. I suddenly had to put my wife into a nursing home. At first I regretted buying the SS, but as things turned out, getting the SS repaired from a non-runner into a scruffy driver was good therapy for me.
So don’t assume you have tomorrow. James 4:14


Not at all religious, but the Jesuits drilled that one into my consciousness.

I can’t meaningfully add to this other than to write a sincere thank you for sharing this Rob.