Rarest Jaguar set for Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance reveal
Two years of "top secret" restoration work on a one-off 63-year-old Jaguar is close to a worldwide reveal.
The work of 13 staff at Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth in central England has been shrouded in secrecy as they have restored the 1954 XK120 SE by Pininfarina to its full glory for an unveiling at the famous Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the US on August 21 (NZT).
On Friday, the restoration team were pictured with the car - which, of course, remained "under wraps" - before it began its journey to the US.
"We always said that we would unveil the car for the first time at Pebble Beach and that is exactly what we are going to do," said Peter Neumark, chairman of the Employee Ownership Trust that runs CMC, who found the car in the first place.
"I will have the privilege of taking the cover off the car at the world famous Concours d'Elegance in California and I think that car collectors and aficionados from around the world are going to be astounded by what they see."
The car was first delivered to a Max Hoffman and unveiled at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. Hoffman was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles into the United States during the 1950s. He was a real petrol-head and inspired the production and refinement of several vehicles from the main manufacturers, which earned him entry into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2003.
"Perhaps Hoffman inspired Pininfarina to style and produce such a rare XK? We just don't know, but he was the supplying dealer and then first owner of the car," said David Barzilay, chairman of CMC's operating board.
"There is little trace of the car's history, but we are certain that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence."
CMC, founded in 1993, purchased the car from a German who bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it. Unfortunately, he never got round to it and eventually decided to sell. CMC then took on the challenge and have spent thousands of hours carrying out a full nut and bolt restoration.
CMC operate from 3344 square metre premises and some 50-60 cars can be found in various stages of work every month including famous marques such Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti and Lancia.