[xk] Ralph Lauren's XK120

Ralph Lauren’s cars at the Boston art museum are featured in the April
Road & Track, and the alloy 120 is Clemente Biondetti’s old JWK 650, chassis
no. 660043. He says he likes to drive it on weekends in good weather.
There is a fair writeup of its history in “Jaguar XK Series” by Jeremy
Boyce @1996. The factory prepared 6 cars for selected drivers to race in the
1950 season, and this is one of them, the others being 660040 through 044
and 660057, so that’s apparently where the “one of 6” comes from.
Biondetti was running 2nd in the 1950 Targa Florio when the engine threw a
rod through the side of the block, which is presumably why it does not have
the original engine anymore, and is also the reason all Jaguar connecting
rods have been crack tested and rod failure pretty rare since then.
Next he ran in the Mille Miglia, where he dealt with misfiring,
overheating, breaking a rear spring, and finished 8th.
Then he crashed it hard in another race, and afterwards used some parts of
it to make a Ferrari/Jaguar Special, which he ran in the 1950 Italian Grand
Prix and DNF’ed. In 1951 it was cycle winged and on a Maserati based
chassis, and in the Mille Miglia he fried the engine. Moss tried it before
the race and said it was slower in top speed than his HKV 500 but had better
cornering and acceleration due to the weight reduction. To his credit,
Biondetti did not crash it on an oil slick where Ascari, Johnson and Moss
all did. By the 1952 Mille Miglia it was rebodied to resemble a C-type.
Its murky history picks up again in 1957 hill climbing in the hands of a
Mr. Harvey-Bailey, then his son Roddy in 1965, still on the track, but with
a standard OTS body and wire wheels.
I wonder if Ralph has read this book. He is mentioned in the last
paragraph as the current owner.
Rob Reilly - 679187