Jaguar XK150 - Classic British Sports Cars
Just for once it wasn't the speed of a Jaguar that go the headlines when it was introduced, but how it stopped. The Jaguar XK150 came with four-wheel disc brakes, at last tackling the problem of the old drum brakes tendency to fade with an aggressive driver pushing the car. A significant step on from the old Jaguar XK120 and Jaguar XK140 models.
It still offered amazing value for money with the XK150SE available for under £2,000 in 1957. It was still the old 3.4-litre engine with 190 bhp in the standard Jaguar XK150 car but the XK150SE version now had a later, improved B-type cylinder head. It still only gave 210 bhp but now at 5,500 rpm and the peak torque figure was lowered by a whole 1,000 rpm making the car more flexible and easier to drive.
The book opens with an introduction of the XK140. Then comes a technical analysis of the new car. This sets the scene for the coverage of the XK150. Production changes are recorded, and production and sales are analyzed in depth. Six outstanding examples of XK140s and 150s are featured in specially commissioned color photography, accompanied by some 250 photographs from the archives of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and reproductions of XK sales and publicity material.
The Jaguar XK150's transmission was still either the clunky old Moss box four-speed manual or a three-speed auto which was becoming increasingly popular in America, Jaguar's main market.
In order to compete with the V8 competition in America Jaguar developed a new 'straight-port' head for the XK engine in 1958 and badged the cars as the XK150S. These cars had 250 bhp at 5,500 rpm and could hit 136 mph and 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
By 1959 the Jaguar XK150 had gained the new 3.8-litre engine in either normal (B-type head/220 bhp form) or 'S' form (265 bhp). The 'S' variant could hit 0-100 mph in less than 20 seconds. (A modern hot hatch like the Honda Civic Type-R gets there in just under 18 seconds - but the lighter and more aerodynamic Jaguar E-type did it in around 16 seconds.) There were very few 3.8S models built, only around 280 in total. Total production figures for the Jaguar XK150 models were just over 9,000 with the fixed-head coupé being the commonest. Production ended in 1961, overlapping the start of E-type production which carried on using the 3.8S spec engine.
Jaguar XK150 on the road
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