The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance shows off extremely rare classics every year and there are always some surprises. This year Classic Motor Cars will bring the rarest Jaguar XK120 in existence to showcase at the event.
What makes this XK120 SE exceptionally rare is its styling. Thanks to the legendary design of Pininfarina, this Jaguar is the only one like it in the world.
Any Italian car fan is familiar with the work of Pininfarina. Founded in 1930, the design house has an impressive resume of iconic designs. The Ferrari 250, Alfa Romeo 6C, and Lancia D20 all owe their beautiful styling to Pininfarina. This puts the XK120 in some impressive company.
The XK120 SE by Pininfarina was a commission of Matt Hoffman. Chances are you don’t know who Hoffman is, but you’re probably very aware of his influence in the automotive industry. Starting out as an importer of European cars for the wealthy in post-war America, Hoffman developed a close relationship with many of the big name automakers overseas. Over time he also started giving suggestion to companies to help bolster his sales in the US.
The most famous suggestion credited to Hoffman is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Hoffman thought a road going version of the W195 race car could be just what Americans wanted. Along with the 300SL Hoffman’s other suggestions are responsible for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, BMW 507, and the Porsche 356 Speedster.
As a result of his suggestions, Hoffman joined the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2003.
No one knows the full story of how the XK120 SE by Pininfarina came to be. During the 1950’s Hoffman was the distributor for the Jaguar in the US. It is thought that his connection to the car along with his power of suggestion helped influence Pininfarina.
The XK120 SE by Pininfarina made its world debut at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. It was also supposed to do a tour of the European auto show circuit, but Hoffman was antsy for his car. As a result, the car only made the one appearance before going to Hoffman.
After Hoffman’s tenure with the car, it’s unknown where the car ended up. A German collector purchased the car in 1978 though and hoped to restore it. When he finally determined he was unable to give the XK120 a proper restoration, he sold it to CMC.
After taking possession of the Jaguar, CMC put in several thousand man hours doing a full restoration on the XK120 from the ground up.
CMC thinks they’ve succeeded with giving this ultra rare Jaguar a new lease on life. We’ll be curious to see the end result when the cover comes off on August 20.