A new book on the XK120!
“It’s taken over four years”, writes Paul Skilleter, “but we can finally confirm that our new title, The Jaguar XK120 in Competition, will be published this year. Almost certainly it will be ready for the major XK70 events in June and July.”
“The author is Dr James Fraser, who has long owned historic XK120s and for many years has researched and recorded cars that have competed in races and rallies. In fact I was originally intending to compile this book myself, and James was one of my first ports of call – but chatting to him, it became very clear that he knew much more about the subject than I did, so it was logical to ask him if he could take it on!”
“Fortunately he agreed, and, with the help of other enthusiasts, not least David Bentley, what he has produced has exceeded my best expectations. So here for the first time is a comprehensive account of the XK120 in races, rallies, hill-climbs and sprints from the very first time the car ventured onto a race track (Silverstone 1949). The XK120’s most successful years were the early 1950s, when it was the sports car to beat in international rallies, and the major part of the book covers the cars and drivers which took part during this time – led by such as (Sir) Stirling Moss in racing, and the Appleyards in rallying. But literally hundreds of other XK120s also competed, and James has attempted to record most of them.”
“Towards the middle of the decade talented club drivers took over to continue the car’s successes, though XK120s in motor sport were thin on the ground by the early 1960s. Then in 1967 came the formation of the XK Register, which from 1969 tempted owners back onto the track. To provide them with suitable opposition, Thoroughbred Sports Car racing was subsequently established, resulting in many fine dices between XKs, Aston Martins, TRs and Austin-Healeys during the early 1970s. In fact I believe there is now a growing interest in the XK120’s racing renaissance of the late 1960s/early 1970s, though I may be biased as I was racing my own XK during this period! So the book covers these years in some detail, before briefly taking the story to the present day, when the JEC-sponsored series are so popular and attract more XKs than ever before.”
“The book, which is to the same format and quality as our XK ‘Explored’ series, will run to over 350 mainly pictorial pages, and is being designed by Tony Bailey, who co-authored and designed our Mike Hawthorn Golden Boy books. More than 1,000 illustrations are included, many from Ted Walker’s Ferret Fotographics archive and from my own Photo Junior collection.”
“But James has spread the net much wider and obtained rare and interesting images from most of the world’s major picture libraries, and from owners and former owners of competition XK120s. One of the many fascinating aspects of the book is to see how some ‘regulars’ were developed over the years, a number passing through the mod-sports wide-wheeled era only to be returned to early 1950s-spec. in more recent times.”
The Jaguar XK120 in Competition by Dr James Fraser is published by PJ Publishing Ltd and target date for release is June 2018. ISBN 978-1-908658-05-0. Price to be announced but provisionally £115.00.
See also Paul Skilleter News: November 2018