Value and collectibility question

Wanted to get your option and maybe some facts about the collectibility of the XK120. Is the last year of the XK120 considered more desirable than some of the other years? I understand some of the very early ones with alloy body are very rare. My question is on the other steel body ones. Thanks in advance.

Simon:

It obviously depends on condition and many other factors, however, if you visit the online auction site Bring-a-Trailer and select British cars there are frequently XK120s listed, there is an OTS currently on offer. As I noted a few weeks ago, having tracked the site with respect to XK120s for the past couple of years selling prices have ranged from $40,250. (U.S.) for an uncompleted “project” car to $125,000. (U.S.) for a DHC, and everything in between. As a rule, although not always, open cars (OTS-DHC) will fetch higher prices than FHCs. Some prefer a totally restored car, others one that is largely original with a patina to show it and bidding often reflects that fact. As you say, early alloy cars will generally command the highest prices.

Chris.

Thank you Chris! Does the value of those XK120 (in general) continues to go up or pretty much steady with minor incline?

up and down…up and down…after a long time of up up up up…the older people that remember them and now buying are fewer…the young not so interested…so lets all take our cars out for drives…I have not found one year to another to matter much except the first year alloy cars. I think from late 52 or so on…cars with Salisbury differntials and the Special Equipment may be more enticing to many…wire wheels being the main visual. The OTS, (roadster) a bit more…but there are DHC fans…with the nice interior, wood dash…and now the FHC have come on more …fewer made, kinda nice and the nice interior. I have found, on any give day, or sale…it just depends who sees the car and wants it badly and how hefty their off shore bank account is. There are those who shop on line a lot…and look for price, Bring a Trailer and all the other web sales, they are keen on condition and price. There are those who see one, want it, can afford it easily and make wildly high offers…I have had that on mine…way higher than you would ever think…sorry, mine is not for sale at any price. I don’t want to be without one…don’t want a different one…I built up THIS one…so it just depends. There are good ones on the 80K USD and really good ones in the 100K to 120K. Below 80K and one may have to spend another $40K on it…but that is OK if it brings it up to the perfect car at $120K. Just depends…a Porsche 928…a rather ordinary car, most around $35,000 sold at Mecum Auction for 1.8 million…Tom Cruise had sat in it for a movie…go figure.
Nick

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The alloy cars are special because they were the first. Many of them had celebrity first owners.
There’s another way to look at it.
The latest ones have all the engineering improvements that the early ones lack.
For example:
The early engine mounts are prone to cracking, as has been discussed recently on this forum.
Water pumps were improved several times.
Higher lift camshafts.
Turn signals were added.
Side vents were added.
Heater was added.
Wire wheels became an option.
Stiffer torsion bars became an option.

For that matter, the 140 has engineering improvements over the 120.
And the 150 has engineering improvements over the 140.

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You can take auction and other published sales data as a pretty good proxy for collectability. Mine is a '54 SE OTS. As a matter of academic interest I’ve been following Hagerty #2 condition valuations for several years and have come to a couple of conclusions.

  1. XK120 SE OTS cars were produced over three model years, 1952, '53 and '54. Their valuations are consistently the same. Similarly, for base model steel bodied OTS cars, values for 1949 through 1954 are valued the same - ie. the '54 is no more or less collectable than the earlier cars.

  2. Collectability over the past 15 years has declined. Peek valuation for a 1954 XK120SE OTS in #2 condition in 2006 was $203,200. A mere five year later, mid 2011, valuations bottomed out at $118,000, a decline of almost 42%. Current valuation is $141,00, a 19.5% improvement over 2011 but still 30.6% less than the 2006 peak.

Hagerty predicted a surge in XK120 values this year, but they failed to materialise. The trend is clearly on a positive slope but the XK120 heyday appears to have passed.

Wise, wise advice!

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Thank you so much for the detailed info wow. Mine is a 54 SE OTS as well and trying to learn more about it as much as I could. Thanks again :smiley:

your car is a very nice one, end of the run of the 120, has all the bells and whistles…a top rate car indeed…have fun…Given the age of the engines…a lot of us use a conservative limit on rpm…somewhere in the 3800 to 4800 range. I use 4200 rarely…mostly around 3500 top…and most driving is much less than that. Back in the day when new though these cars ran at 5,000 rpm all day and night. Literally…they ran one for 7 days and 7 nights stopping only for fuel and drivers…averaged over 100mph, 16,850 miles, and on engine inspection almost all parts would pass new inspection.
Nick

Thank you so much! This one is special I think, it has 21k origins miles and was owned by Sam Linder for most of its life, he used to own Jaguar of Monterey. He kept and passed to me every paper and all awards. Not that I would want to sell it, but in your opinion how much is it worth in today’s market roughly for this particular one? Thanks and sorry to bug you with all the questions.

my long comment above kinda deals with how variable value can be…some who shop price, some who just want it badly and can pay…I would insure it for $120,000. On the right day, right buyer it could achieve that or even more. Are there others for less…yes…but yours is very nice and no reason for a buyer to reject it. Just find a photo of Tom Cruise in it and maybe 1.8 million !! Nick

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Thank you so much for all the guidance. Last questions as I really enjoy your answers and tips, do you see this car as an appreciating asset or you think it will continue to be just up and down within that price range? thanks again :slight_smile:

just my opinion…everything kinda creeps up…unless we have an economic crash…but as I think of who owns these cars now…their age and past connection that makes them love them, I don’t see that in the next generation…nor do I see many young at car shows or concours…so that indicates to me less demand…BUT…the XK120-150 are true classics and somewhat rare…compared to many other cars…that may help in values. USA muscle cars seem to be doing well, Ferrari’s and Ford GT40, D and C Types are doing well. I will say then…up and down about where they are now. I have mine cuz I love it…I have little interest in value other than for insurance. No plan to sell ever…nice to drive it, but I also enjoy just sitting with it in the garage…Nick

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Good question. I tell my wife it is an investment. I just don’t tell her it is a good one. When the stock market dives as it did the other day, you can take solace in the fact that an XK will never drop in value that precipitously and if it does, you will never know it. Nick raises the key question: Will the next generation value these cars as highly as we do? I think the answer is a conditional yes, if the cars represent a milestone in design and performance. Few if any of us were kids when Duesenbergs, Packards and Bentleys were in production and on the road, but they are still recognized as among the best cars of their day. XKs are not as rare, but still iconic, still attractive, and still desirable. That said, I would not buy an XK expecting to make money unless it was dirt cheap survivor. The enjoyment of these cars is in working on them and driving them and staring at them in your garage, not watching their values creep up or down.

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amazing, thank you Nick. I plan to keep and enjoy this one. BTW, I’m one of those youngerish guys that do appreciate such art on wheels :slight_smile:

I took the XK120 out for a drive yesterday…first went to a guys house who I know used to have one 40 years ago…took him for a nice drive…he loved it. Then later while getting fuel (no ethanol 93) a guy in his 30s came along side in his construction worker pick up…he raved about the car, wanted to know all about it…I said park your truck…lets go for a ride…and we did…he raved non stop the whole time…touching everything…dash, grab bar, cockpit leather…looking over the hood…yaaaay ! lets drive and share !! Nick

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671529 on BAT hi bid $84 K…, noit sold as the reserve was more…most comments thought it should be a 100K car…an OTS not SE, a nice restoration…nothing not to like it seems…just how it goes sometimes in auctions…another day…could be over the 100K mark. lots of good photos in the listing. Nick

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Hello, I am new here and have a question. I have come across a 1954 xk120 ots, it will need a complete restoration from the ground up. Everything seems to be there but a lot of rust it has been in a garage for 35 years+. what should someone pay for something like this?
Thank you,
Matthew

Hi Matthew:

Wow! How high the moon?! Really difficult to speculate. I have seen so-called “barn finds” that looked like basket cases go for $45,000. (U.S.) I guess it depends on what is required in terms of restoration (i.e. how bad is it and what has to be done), does one want a “driver” or a show car and so on.

Chris.

Welcome Matthew.
Depending greatly on condition, like if its a pile of rust held together by cobwebs, maybe $5,000 , or if the rust is only surface, like deteriorated paintwork, up to $50,000 , or anywhere in between.
Inspect the body and chassis carefully before deciding.
A clear title with matching chassis number ID plate are still worth something if nothing else is restore-able.

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