Monochromatic Past?

For those of us who weren't around before color TV, it’s hard not to imagine people in black and white moving awkwardly and ungracefully fast through overly crowded streets, when we think of the “olden days.”

Sometimes we don’t realize how colorful the past actually was. Well here is an example of how colorful some things really were.

It’s a 1953 Jaguar XK120 Drop Head Coupe in a blue usually only seen on modern exotic cars like Lamborghinis. It rolled off the Browns Lane Factory assembly line in Coventry in 1953 in this exact color.

When the current owner bought the car for $5,000 in 1982 from a 90-year old man in Portland and brought it back home with him to Seattle, where the car was originally from, it was rusty, used, and driven hard.

He bought the car when he was 25 years old thinking it would be a relatively quick and easy restoration but after the body and frame were separated, it was apparent this would not be the case. It was taking so long that he went out and bought another XK120 DHC in white which he drives on a daily basis. 

25 years later, after a painstakingly thorough and frankly unimaginable restoration, the car was completed.

The owner could have easily changed the body color during restoration to something “safer” which is what a lot of people do, but instead he went with the original loud light blue and finished it off with a set of matching spoked wheels and white walls. The complete package was something he had specifically dreamt about since he was a kid.

The entire dashboard is a beautifully crafted walnut, which is probably not the safest and softest in the world, but if I were to burn to death in a car, I would choose to be cooked in walnut. 

The car has won several Jaguar North America Concourses (1st place in 2011) and 1st in class in plenty of other shows. 

Since the car’s completion, the owner went out and bought yet another classic cat, a 1934 Jaguar SS1 Touring car which he is still working on and hopes to have it finished for his retirement.

Thanks to Joe Fenstermaker for the photos and thorough description (almost as thorough as the restoration) of his father’s beautiful Drop Head Coupe! You can see more of Joe’s photos here which include some of the restoration process shots.