Posts Tagged london motor show

Classic Cars – Jaguar XK120

Jaguar XK120The Jaguar XK120 was first revealed to the public at the London Motor Show in 1948, and it reinvented the world of sports cars by providing a car with elegant curves, a fantastic chassis, and a remarkable price. It became the fastest production car at the time of launch, and was rivalled only by the V12 Ferrari which was 4 times the price.

This proved to be an unbeatable combination, and became a milestone for Jaguar whilst reviving the motor industry with much fanfare after the war. Interestingly, the XK120 was only really designed as test bed with which to show off the XK engine, but with orders flooding in Jaguar wasted no time and put the car into full production. Several versions were eventually released, with the Roadster version being a hit amongst Hollywood stars like Clark Gable. It is still a design classic today, and in 1999 the car featured in the box office hit Cruel Intentions, driven by Ryan Phillippe & Reese Witherspoon.

The XK120 was the creation of Sir William Lyons, aka “Mr. Jaguar”, and was powered by the 3442cc power plant dubbed the XK engine, generating 160bhp, and the XK120 is so named as its top speed tipped 120mph. As expected it was a success on the track and was driven by some of motor sports biggest legends such as Stirling Moss and Ian Appleyard, and helped Jaguar win the Le Mans title on several occasions.

There are still a large number in circulation today, looking as they did when they first rolled off the production lines thanks to being a favourite amongst classic car enthusiasts and being lovingly restored. If you are interested in purchasing one, expect to pay in excess of £70000 for a prime example. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bentley Automobiles

BentleyBentley Motors, Limited is a British automobile manufacturer. It was established on January 18, 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley (better known as W.O. or simply as “O”). He became well known during World War I for his rotary aero engines used in the Sopwith Camel in later versions and it was called the Bentley BR I.

The Volkswagen Group of Germany has owned the company since 1998. They are based in Crewe, England and their central production facility is there.

Before the beginning of World War I, “O” Bentley ad been partnered with H.M. Bentley, his brother to sell French DFP automobiles. He had a burning desire to create and build his own line of cars under his own name.

So, in August, 1919, Bentley Motors was actually registered and they exhibited their first attempt at the London Motor Show that was held in October, 1919. It was only a chassis without a real engine. By December, 1919, they had an engine up and running.

Following the London Motor Show, they began taking orders for their cars, promising delivery by June, 1920. Actual development took longer than anticipated and actual delivery did not take place until September, 1921.

An aluminum paperweight caught “O’s” eye on a visit to the DFP plant which gave him the idea for using instead of the typical cast iron, a light weight metal for aero engine pistons. He used this idea to make his rotary aero engines that were used during World War I in the Sopwith Camel airplane.

Constantly without funds, “O” Bentley asked for help from Woolf Barnato in 1925. Barnato became chairman and effectively owned the company after the negotiations.

The Bentley Boys (Woolf Barnato, Steeplechase racer, George Duller, Sir Henry Birkin, automotive journalist, S.C.H. Sammy Davis, aviator Glen Kidson and Dr. Dudley Benjafieldl kept the reputation for performance alive. Due to the serious dedication of this group, The Bentley Boys, the company won four LeMans races in a row from 1927-1930. Bugatti was their greatest competition at the time with their lightweight, fragile autos that were in great contrast to the Bentley which was durable and reliable. Read the rest of this entry »

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