12 Best Modern Café Racer Bikes
They roar like lions in the jungle and cut the road with the stealth of a dragon in the wind. Their ... [Read More]
This fabulous racing XK120 boasts an extensive period competition history that spans over a decade from the early 1950s through to the 1960s in addition to more recent successful appearances at the Mille Miglia.
Constructed in late 1950 this original RHD roadster was registered LOB908 in January of 1951 and delivered via P J Evans, the famous Birmingham distributors, to Geoff Mansell, a well-known local competitor. Mansell had initially started out in trials and rallying but moved onto hill climbing and circuit racing, often teaming up with other Midlands-based drivers such as Lew Tracey and Denis O'M Taylor. Mansell wasted no time in putting LOB908 into action with an appearance at Prescott in June of 1951 and two meetings at Silverstone in August and September where he finished 4th on both occasions. He returned to hill climbing for latter part of 1951 with further appearances at Prescott and at Shelsley Walsh.
The beginning of the 1952 season saw Mansell venturing a little further afield with an entry at Castle Combe in April before more hill climbing and circuit racing at Prescott and Silverstone over the summer. This pattern was to be repeated in 1953 and early in 1954 with the odd minor sprint and speed trail also featuring in his calendar. During Mansell's tenure of ownership the car remained in very standard trim with the exception of aero-screens, which were fitted for circuit events, but by 1956 Mansell had commissioned an HWM (XPA748) and the XK had been acquired by Robin Sturgess who began a program of upgrading the car to keep it competitive in the face of newer machinery. In addition to tuning the engine and improving the brakes he also fitted a lightweight Perspex wrap-around screen and re-painted the car Red from its original Pastel Blue Metallic. Sturgess, of the famous Leicester Jaguar dealership, was a very capable driver and campaigned LOB908 with some success over the next two years. At his hands the XK120 made its first appearances at Brands Hatch and Aintree as well as at the more local Silverstone circuit. By 1959 Sturgess had proved his ability and set his sights on a faster car, eventually buying the ex-works C-Type from Mike Salmon, himself a former XK120 driver. LOB908's racing career did not end here however and it subsequently found its way to Graham Williams, a Welsh racer who had links with the RISCA Garages team. Williams had the engine further uprated with a gas-flowed head and the block bored out to 3.8 Litres. In this form he campaigned the car at many Bentley & Jaguar Drivers Club meetings, again mainly at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Reunited with the car at XK60, Williams recalled to a previous owner that on one Boxing Day meeting at Brands Hatch he had competed against Graham Hill and even met Steve McQueen in the paddock at another event. While not racing he used the car as his daily driver and even took it on his honeymoon, although unfortunately picking up a parking ticket on his wedding night.