We’ve seen plenty of classic car restoration jobs in our time, but the salvage project facing the winning bidder of this particular auction item is undoubtedly a daunting prospect. However, buying it could be a very lucrative decision in the long run, according to experts.
This rare 1960 Jaguar XK150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe has seen better days – in fact, it currently looks more like ‘dropped from a height’ than a Drophead.
Having been crashed by the owner in 1996 and stored in a garage ever since, it is set to be sold at auction for an estimated guide price of – wait for it – £10,000 to £15,000.
While that might seem steep for a motor in such a catastrophic state of disrepair, the financial return of restoring it to its former glory could be extremely profitable indeed, with vintage car experts claiming a mint-condition version of the Jag could be worth up to £250,000!
Drophead that looks like it was dropped from a height: This 1960 Jaguar XK150 3.8 S Drophead Coupe has certainly seen better days. It is due to be sold at auction for around £10,000 to £15,000 – but is worth far more than that once fully restored
The smashed-up Jag is being offered to potential buyers at the upcoming Bonhams MPH Auction, which will be held online on 22 May.
It is one of the vintage motor lots that will be sold alongside the 2013 Range Rover previously owned by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, which is estimated to achieve between £30,000 and £40,000.
While the Royal Range Rover remains in exquisite condition, the same can’t be said about the Jaguar.
However, the battered example of the 1960 sports car is much rarer than a mass-produced gas-guzzling SUV – and far more valuable if refurbished to a high standard.
Just 2,672 examples of the XK150 were made by the British marque at its Coventry assembly plant shortly after the Browns Lane factory was rebuilt following a fire in 1957 that infamously claimed 9 of the 25 ultra-exclusive XKSS road cars featuring the Le Mans-winning D-Type’s engine.
The latter 3.8 S was built between 1959 and 1960 and 282 were produced in total – and only 69 (this one reportedly the fifth) were right-hand-drive Drophead Coupes like the red rubble being auctioned in a few weeks.
The XK150 is an often overlooked vintage model from a glowing era for Jaguar, especially with its immediate successor being the renowned and now iconic E-Type. But it’s still worth a pretty penny.
The classic Jag was crashed in 1996 by the current owner when the car skidded off the road and into a tree in the rain in Hull, East Yorkshire. The extent of the shunt is still clearly visible today
The keeper, who first bought the super-rare Jaguar in 1971, collected the car from the crash scene on a trailer and transported it to a garage at his property, which is where it has remained for the last 25 years
No attempt has been made to start the engine since the crash in 1996. Given the rarity of the model, a full restoration could provide more than a healthy financial return for the new owner
The 3.8-litre, straight-six-cylinder petrol engine fitted to ‘S’ versions like this one – in its heyday – produced a claimed 265 horsepower.
Accelerating from rest to 60mph took 7.3 seconds and the top speed was a then mesmerising 136mph. Fuel economy was just 18 miles per gallon – around the same fuel efficiency as a 2017 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta with a thunderous V12 engine under the bonnet.
The XK150 is also famed for being the first car to ever offer disc brakes on all four wheel (as an optional extra), which were 305mm Dunlop parts.
Dunlop Road Speed tyres were standard, though buyers could pay extra for 16-inch radial Pirellis. There was also the choice of solid wheels or – pricier – wire wheels, as this one has.
Extremely rare, just 69 examples of the XK150 in this guise were built in right-hand drive, making this an extremely collectible and sought motor indeed
Bonhams says the leather interior is all original, which comes as little surprise given that the car hasn’t been sat in for 25 years
The XK150 was the first car to offer disc brakes on all four wheels when it was launched over 60 years ago
The owner of this battered version – first registered in 1 January 1960 and finished in Carmen red paint and a black leather interior – bought the car some 50 years ago, in late 1971.
He drove it for almost 25 years without issue. However, in September 1996 while on a wet road in Hull, East Yorkshire, the vendor and his Jag had an unfortunate encounter with a tree, which resulted in the damage to the car that you can still see the full extent of today.
With the bonnet crumpled, grille bent, headlights missing, engine shoved back towards the cabin and ‘NRN 6’ front registration plate twisted almost beyond recognition, the once proud Jaguar’s face is a sorry looking affair.
And it looks like the driver took a fair whack too, with the steering wheel taking the brunt of the impact and snapping under the force of the 1996 shunt.
Here’s how the stunning Jaguar, registration ‘NRN 6’ looked before the crash into a tree in 1996 that caused the catastrophic damage. The photo was provided courtesy of the vendor
Left: The car’s registration document verifying it was first registered on 1 January 1960. The vendor bought it second-hand in 1971. Right: As seen in these two photos, the car was recovered on the back of a trailer in 1996 following the accident. It was taken to a garage and has been kept there ever since
Just 282 versions of the XK150 3.8 S were built between 1959 and 1960, and only a fraction of these were right-hand-drive Dropehead Coupes like the one seen here
With the bonnet crumpled, the engine shoved back towards the cabin and the ‘NRN 6’ front registration plate twisted, the once proud Jaguar’s face is a sorry looking affair
Fortunate enough to walk away from the accident unscathed, the keeper picked up the car from the scene of the incident on a trailer and transported it to his garage at his property.
And it’s there the car has remained ever since, under the premise that it would be restored.
Having failed to get around to the job, and the car standing in a garage for over two decades and accumulating plenty of dust and cobwebs in the meantime, the vendor is now offering the crumpled Jag as a ‘restoration project’ to the highest bidder.
Showing to have covered 115,763 miles in its 61-year life, the Jag was clearly a used – as well as treasured – motor, and despite the condition today still retains almost all of its original parts, most importantly the engine.
Rob Hubbard, head of Bonhams MPH, explained that the steering wheel is broken from the impact of the crash but parts are ‘plentiful and relatively easy to obtain’
Bonhams says all the engine and chassis numbers are present and correct and verify the authenticity of the vehicle
The Jaguar badge denotes the British marques list of wins during at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans during the era. The XK-120C won in 1951, the C-Type took victory in 1953 and the three consecutive titles from 1955 to 1957 were all clinched by the legendary D-Type
1960 Jaguar XK 150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe specs
Built in: Coventry
Examples produced: 282, though just 69 were right-hand-drive Drophead Coupes like this one
Price new: Approx £2,100 (according to The Motor magazine in 1959)
Claimed value in 2021: £200k-£250k (in perfect condition), according to Bonhams
Engine: 3781cc, 6-cylinder inline twin-overhead camshaft, petrol
Power: 265 horsepower at 5,500 rpm
Gearbox: 4-speed, synchro on 2nd, 3rd and top, optional overdrive or automatic
Driven Wheels: Rear
Brakes: Servo-assisted Dunlop disc brakes front and rear
Top Speed: 136mph
0-62 mph: 7.3 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 16-18mpg
Rob Hubbard, head of Bonhams MPH, explains exclusively to This is Money that the car ‘looks worse than it is’.
He told us: ‘It has all its original leather and the original matching-numbers engine, which needs to be overhauled as it has not started for more than 25 years.
‘The steering wheel is broken, from the impact of the crash. However, parts are plentiful and relatively easy to obtain.’
And if the new owner completes the rebuild properly and gets the car back on the road in a fabulous condition, it could be worth a cool quarter of a million pounds, according to the auction house.
‘When completely restored the car could be worth between £200,000 and 250,000,’ Hubbard claimed.
That’s 25 times what a it could sell for next month.
The auction house last sold a pristine right-hand-drive example of a later 1961 XK150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe in 2019 for a price of 161,000, including the sale premium.
Interested bidders can take a closer look at the mangled classic a day ahead of the online sale, with the vehicle being showcased at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire on 21 May.
Potential buyers – who won’t mind getting their hands greasy and forking out for new parts – can then decide if they want to raise their virtual paddle when the sale takes place on 22 May.
Once fully restored, this is how a sublime example of a Jaguar XK150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe should look
This very car was sold by Bonhams in September 2019. Like the mangled version up for grabs next month, it is one of just 69 RHD examples. It sold for a fee of £161,000
A prospective collector could be tempted to splash around £10,000 to £15,000 on the wrecked Jag knowing this is what the car could look like when completed – and will be well aware that the value once restored could soar by as much as 2400%
How much could the Jag be worth? Classic car experts reveal its true value
John Mayhead, Manager of UK Intelligence at classic car insurer and valuations company Hagerty: ‘For many purists, the Jaguar XK150 DHC was seen as a compromise: too heavy compared with earlier XK models and lacking the sporty design of the Roadster. But today the model, with its all-round disc brakes, makes more sense, especially with the uprated ‘S’ specification engines offering 250bhp in the 3.4 and 265 in the 3.8.
‘Values tend to vary quite significantly according to origin, originality and condition. An imported, drivable 3.4 XK150S DHC without matching numbers would be valued in the Hagerty Price Guide at £54,000, whereas a pristine, home-market concours 3.8 example would be valued at £197,500. This has dipped slightly since the April 2017 Hagerty Price Guide when top values peaked at £209,000.
‘And recent auction results have been mixed.
‘Of all 29 sales of XK 150s (of all body styles) that Hagerty tracked since January 2020, only 45 per cent reached their reserve.
‘The most recent sale was on 18 April 2021 when a standard 3.4 XK150 DHC sold for £87,360, some way short of its pre-sale estimate of £95,000 to £110,000.
‘These figures are likely to result in a downward movement in their values when the Hagerty Price Guide is next updated in June 2021.’
The car will be sold without reserve on 22 May, meaning it could – though unlikely, given its provenance – change hands for less than the estimate of £10,000 to £15,000.
Bonhams acquires online car auction site The Market
Bonhams this week announced it has acquired The Market, one of the leading and fastest growing online marketplaces for classic and collectible car and motorcycle auctions.
Founded in Oxfordshire in 2017, The Market sold vehicles with a total value of £13million last year, growing turnover by almost 300 per cent compared to 2019. Incredibly, despite the pandemic, it sold an impressive 94 per cent of lots it offered last year.
The acquisition adds another dimension to Bonhams’ motor auction arsenal. Founded in 1793, it is considered one of the major players for collectible automobile auctions alongside the likes of RM Sotheby’s.
Maarten ten Holder, managing director of Bonhams Motoring, said: ‘This acquisition is a perfect fit for Bonhams and is happening at an exciting time in the car auction world. For the first time a classic car auctioneer will now offer cars at all price points, around the clock, to collectors wherever they are in the world.’
Tim Joslyn, founder of The Market, added: ‘I am delighted that Bonhams will be taking The Market to the next level. The combination of such a prestigious auction house, representing traditional high-end car auctions, with our premier digital offering will create an incredible opportunity to reach a wider, more global audience.’
Bonhams confirmed this week that it has acquired The Market – an online car auction website that has taken the collective automotive sales industry by storm in recent years
John Mayhead from Hagerty said the acquisition was a ‘fascinating move’ by Bonhams, with The Market recently establishing itself as one of the UK’s top dedicated online marketplaces for classic and collector cars, along with rival site Collecting Cars.
‘The Market’s range of sales have almost all been within the £2,000 to £200,000 range compared with Bonhams, whose top sale of the period was over £4million,’ he explained.
‘The Market’s average sale price was an impressive £21,191 compared with Bonhams/Bonhams MPH where it was £53,970.
‘Given Bonhams’ industry presence, the potential for expansion of The Market is clear: rival Collecting Cars already offers a wider range of more valuable cars and achieved a reported £10million sales last month alone.’
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