Is originality still important?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this recent sale of a heavily modified XK 120 on BAT?

The car sold for $170,000 which appears to be a recent record for a 120 on BAT. Only one other 120 has sold for over $120,000 on BAT since 2016. This one has a 3.8 engine, what looks like a 140 C-Type head with HD8 carbs and a five speed. It also has disc brakes, Willwood pedals, a wooden dash (it is an OTS), a wheel I don’t recognize, an aluminum radiator, tube shocks at the rear and many other custom items detailed in the invoices. The point is the modifications are less than subtle and yet the car sold at a premium of $50,000 to all other 120s sold on BAT but one. It raises the question: Is originality all that important in the present market or is this just an outlier?

Wuh boy…I’ll stomp, first, into this hornet’s nest.

It’s important to some, not so much to others.

Gorgeous car! The buckets look much like the factory racing buckets (apparently came from Jaguar), and the upgrades will make it a VERY enjoyable car to drive.


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Some '32 Ford hot rods sell for more than Henry-original examples, even the fiberglass ones.
I built a new 'glass '34 Ford coupe hot rod and sold it for more than an original sells for. Most V8 converted and restored MGBs sell for more than an original.

…So, sometimes the answer is no. Originality is not important. It depends on the car, the seller and the buyer.

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Kinda like boobs…


As a Concours judge I would like to see what constitutes a non-authhentic boob.



J. P. (Pat) Harmon, DCDR-16

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WOW. This thread suddenly got good.

Four posts… gotta be a record!

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Ok…Ok… give me a little room here,

Ahem… (Karnak the Magnificent joke)

“The answer is: Silicon valley”

What do you get between…? …you know the rest.


I was thinking along the lines of original or restomod.

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I mean, if you have a 60 year old chassis… Just saying…

Two perspectives. Authenticity or practicality. There are those who put greater value on how faithful the car is to how it left Brown’s Lane and there are those who put greater value on how the car performs relative to more contemporary expectations. It may not be too long before collector cars are banned from highways, unless they can be updated.

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Nick’s still talking about cars. He must be old. :slightly_smiling_face: :upside_down_face: :slightly_smiling_face:


Old indeed. Not quite ancient yet, but definitely working at it.


You guys are easily distracted. I get the different strokes for different folks part, but I was surprised that a car so obviously modified set a record for 120s at BAT. My guess is that the restomod esthetic has crept into the classic car market and altered the perception of what is desirable. If you weren’t around when these cars were new, originality may mean less than modern equivalency.

I think you hit the nail on the head. In the 1950’s, not many were restoring Model A Fords and debating their originality. They were building hot rods out of them. It wasn’t until the 70’s perhaps, that the equivalent to XK’s, SNG, and Welsh sprang up to satisfy restoration demand.

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I would refer you to photos of Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton as extreme examples.



Continuing the discussion from Is originality still important?:

Yes totally like boobs. I’d have to say, I like them all, and while I like to keep my hands on the originals, I really really appreciate when I can peek at the restomods. Let’s face it , There are so many remaining XK’s and most are closer to original than not, that when a really well done slide to sporty modern shows up, it gets the attention it deserves and to the buyer, he has an all jaguar that he can drive, keep up with traffic and enjoy. I on the other hand have almost completed a restoration of my 140 DHC that’s as original as I have been able to keep it. Pretty sure the restomod would be more thrilling to drive.

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I think people enjoy vintage cars for two main reasons. One, they like the looks and it takes them to a younger time in their lives. Two, they can relate to the time when these cars were available but out of the reach financially and are now able to obtain one. Rest-mod? I think as long as the aesthetics of the car are not totally altered to the point that it is not interesting to the people listed above, it could be a plus.
Take the XK120. We all know the large steering is terrible, seat room because of the steering wheel is limited, the brakes are less than adequate and the handling is questionable. So why is this car still sought after? Because, the car is a design knockout. The lines of the car are gorgeous. So if you can improve the negatives while keeping the very thing that makes the car so popular it becomes a win win. I would argue that the new younger prospective car collector
would not have a great impression of a original XK120 after an hour test drive. The car on BAT met this criteria and as such the final price reflected this IMHO.


You make good points. I prefer originality so long as it isn’t unsafe or too impractical. I once had a friend with a 1935 Chrysler Airflow with power steering and air conditioning. His explanation was that along with his wife, they went cross country each year attending Airflow shows. Without air or power steering that would not be possible for them. All parts could be removed and original parts replaced if someone wanted originality back. That changed my former hard line thinking a lot.

The problem is which class to enter them; Driven or Preservation. Please note that in Preservation class deductions are made for any modifications