The Jaguar XK140 was a sports car manufactured by Jaguar Cars between 1954 and 1957. Upgrades over its predecessor, the XK120, included better brakes and rack and pinion steering. A jump seat was added to the coupe version to improve practicality. The name referred to its 140 mph (225 km/h) top speed. The XK140 continued to feature the famous Jaguar XK engine.
With the introduction of the XK140 in late 1954 (all sold as 1955 models), the primary visual change was the more substantial front and rear bumpers. The front grill was the same size as the grill on the XK120 but the number of vertical slats were reduced and each slat was thicker. The grill was also a one piece cast unit. The interior was also more comfortable for taller occupants with the addition of 3 inches in length. This was achieved by moving the engine forward which allowed the firewall and dash location to be relocated as well. The lever arm shock absorbers of the XK120 were also replaced with modern tube type shocks. In 1956, the XK140 was the first Jaguar sports car to be offered with an automatic transmission. As with the XK120, the availability of wire wheels and dual exhausts were options although most cars imported into the United States had wire wheels. The special C-Type cylinder head as an option was also carried through from the XK120 catalogue.
The XK140 was available in three body styles. A Roadster or OTS (Open Top Sports) which had a light canvas top assembly that when lowered fitted behind the seats and thus completely disappeared inside the body. The interior of the Roadster was very sparse with no wood embelishments. Just like the XK120 Roadster, the XK140 Roadster had removable canvas and plastic side curtains. The Drop Head Coupe or DHC had a more substantial padded top that when lowered sat above and outside the body of the car. The dash of the DHC was a very elegant veneered dash. The DHC also had roll up windows. The wood dash and roll up windows was also carried through to the Fixed Head Coupe or FHC.
Realistically, a stock XK-140 SE could achieve a top speed of 120–125 mph (193–201 km/h). Road & Track's XK-140 MC test in June 1955 recorded a best two-way average of 120.3 mph (193.6 km/h). Best one-way run was 121.1 mph (194.9 km/h). Sports Cars Illustrated's test of the same model in Aug 1957 had a fastest two-way average of 121 mph (195 km/h). Their best one-way run was 124 mph (200 km/h). Karl Ludvigsen's test published in Sports Car World (July 1957) had the same results as the SCI test.
Acceleration times from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) were 8.4 seconds, 9.1 seconds and 9.1 seconds respectively. Only the R&T test tried 0–100 mph (160 km/h) which took 26.5 seconds. Standing 1/4 mile (~400 m) times were 16.6 seconds (82 mph (132 km/h) approx) and 16.9 seconds (86 mph (138 km/h)).
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