Thoughts about this original color scheme on a very early XK120 OTS

I have a friend near me that owns an early, steel bodied XK120 OTS. He is restoring it and greatly dislikes the original color scheme of Pastel Green Metallic with Suede Green interior. He intends to do a complete color change. I also wish to point out that he values an accurate as possible restoration apart from the color change. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and variety is indeed the spice of life but I told him it is a gorgeous combination and also rare, being only on the early XK120s. To me, being a real fan of the earliest XK120s and loving all of the early features almost obsessively, that alone tips the scale for me. Can some of you other owners of early XK120s with that exterior combination chime in? I would be very interested in how others perceive this color. Also what is your opinion about keeping a car in it’s original livery to enhance its sale value, not that it should be the final determining factor in a color choice.

In another, similar, train of thought, when I got my XK120 FHC 30 years ago it was Pastel Green (not metallic) with a Red interior. At the time I viewed that color as ridiculous. Now, thirty years later, I love it. In my way of thinking, it is a retro 1950’s fashion statement not unlike what colors a model at the time may have worn on a Paris runway. I know it is an unusual combination because 30 years ago I was at the Meadowbrook Concors and the first in class winner was, you guessed it, an identical, all original FHC. I blurted out to the owner that I had one at home “exactly like that!” and I am positive he thought “Oh sure, and Elvis is still alive” because he thought his car was unique. We had to visit him and eventually befriend him before he thought otherwise.


I know I speak from a very small minority, BUT I believe that we are only custodians, and I love to quote a Swiss restoration expert: How can anyone have an opinion on an original Jaguar colour combination? It is what it is.

You do not have to take my word for it, but I have been the custodian of an unrestored V12 E-type for a bit over 7 years. I think white over black is the most boring combination ever! But I am beginning to like it. I think in another 5-10 years I will start to love it!


Pekka T. (1S20183)


Also FWIW I have been told that “Pastel Gren” Metallic and Suede Green as well as the later “Willow Green” were personal favorites of William “Bill” Lyons aka Sir William and what am I to argue with him?


If I ever had an XK120 with those colours, I would bless my lucky stars!


That color combo wouldn’t be how I’d have spec’ed the car from new, but I do think it is stunning in the flesh.

As far as originality, strictly speaking a car is only “original” the day it drives off the assembly line… From then on, it’s just a matter of degree.

My MKII was changed from it’s original White/Tan to Gray Metallic/Tan. I’ve only entered my in one concours, but the JCNA judges did not dock it points as it is an “original” color for that year. I’m sure there are purists who would not want to buy my car because of the color change. There are others who would.

I wouldn’t worry about the affect of color on resale, I’d venture that most restorations don’t make financial sense regardless.

The comment that the Swiss restoration expert made is, to me, in a way, kinda profound if you view our cars as art objects, which I do. My XK150 OTS and E-Type OTS is the “most boring combination ever” as well, and I agree with Pekka’s opinion but maybe I will learn to love them as many others do. I have a colleague that has been in our part of the car world for many years. He thinks that all Jaguars look fantastic when they are freshly restored regardless of colors.

My '53 was suede green with suede green interior. Is there any wonder it was painted a darker green and the seats re-done in white in the 60’s? Southern CA and later NM sun probably dictated the change to a less skin-searing color more than personal taste though.

My '51 FHC was originally pastel green metallic with suede green interior.
The paint used before late 1952 was known to fade fairly soon, and thus a lot of pre-53 cars were repainted within a decade after they left the factory.
Mine has been repainted 3 times in 3 different reds. The original seats were dyed black by somebody.

Almost every car in my town is white or black.
So I’m carefully refraining from giving my opinion of white cars. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

For concours judging, I believe any color that was offered as standard in the year the car was made would not be a deduction. There is a demarcation by body numbers for late '52 cars based on Service Bulletin 114.

Here’s the car of another forum member, though I haven’t heard from him in awhile.

We spent quite a bit of time and effort coming up with a good match for this color, using among other things the never-repainted inside of my spare wheel.
When I get around to restoring mine, I probably will go with pastel green metallic with suede green interior. It will look something like this one.
pastel green metallic

Rob, those cars in those colors are MAGNIFICENT.

And as we observed in another recent thread, two FHCs in PGM sold recently for high prices. It’s all in the owner’s preference of course.
A couple of years ago I found a company called TCP Global that has the color chart for the '48-'52 colors and did some Gunmetal for me, so I suppose they can do PGM.
They unfortunately did not have the '53-'60 colors last time I checked.

1 Like

As long as the experts are in this thread, I would like to ask a related question. My early XK120 OTS (built September of 1950) was originally birch grey with a red/biscuit interior. I don’t like that color combination and bowing to the conventional knowledge that no points are deducted for a period-offered color, would like to choose something else. My strong preference is gunmetal metallic with red interior. I contacted JDHT to verify that gunmetal was offered as a standard color for my car and was told it was. However, I am seeing other indications on this forum that it may not have been. So, I’m left with the quandary of what to believe. I’m probably asking the impossible, but does anyone know definitively whether gunmetal metallic was offered for the early steel cars?



Very definitely, Gunmetal was offered until late 1952.
My April 1950 Mark V was originally and is restored again Gunmetal.

Tim, as far as I know, it is not " gunmetal metallic" as you wish but rather simply “Gunmetal Grey”. Is that correct Rob? I thought that the only metallic colors offered up until December 1952 were Pastel Blue Metallic and Pastel Green Metallic. Incidentally, I saw the information in my new Volume 2 of Urs Schmid’s book “Jaguar XK120 - Anatomy of a Cult Object”. I have been chasing that book for years. What a book!

Bronze was a metallic, too.

The original metallic colours were
Pastel blue
pastel green
Blue sheen
Twilight blue

1 Like

that is straight pastel green no the metallic version

Missed the text. I love this colour, but it is very personal. Suede green inside, and modern, green tinted front screens. Very cool!

You’ve done what I did, but I did it by mistake. I thought the beading round the number plate plinth should be body colour like the wing piping. I only discovered later that it correctly should be black. But, I rather like it!

Now, right here is a reason to be a patron to help support this forum! What a goldmine of information to be had… Mike, is that the color swatches that were offered a year ago or so by a forum member?

1 Like