Female racer Patsy Burt’s Jaguar XK120 joins H&H Pavilion Gardens auction

Female racer Patsy Burt’s Jaguar XK120 joins H&H Pavilion Gardens auction

1954 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe  -  Supplied new to Britain's most successful lady racing driver Patsy Burt  -  Estimate £100,000 - £120,000 

Registration No: OLF 460
Chassis No: 669108
MOT: Exempt

1 of just 195 right-hand drive XK120 Fixed Head Coupes made
Supplied new to, and campaigned by, Patsy Burt
Subsequently part of the late Richard Colton's collection alongside his Ferrari 250GT SWB
Comprehensively restored and upgraded to fast road / rally specification
Rob Beere Racing 3.8 litre engine, five-speed manual gearbox, LSD, uprated brakes / suspension and power steering
A very fast wolf in very pretty sheep's clothing!
Used for events in North America, South Africa, Europe and Russia
An exceptional XK with a wonderful history

"Look, a woman driving. Oh, what a waste of a beautiful motor car" – It was comments such as this one, made by a spectator at Goodwood, that convinced the indefatigable Patsy Burt to switch from campaigning road cars and sports racers to single-seaters in 1958.

1 of just 195 XK120 Fixed Head Coupes built to right-hand drive specification, chassis 669108 was supplied new via Henlys of London to Britain’s most successful lady racing driver Miss P.M. Burt. Road registered as 'OLF 460' on January 1st 1954, the Jaguar was among Patsy's first competition cars. Driven by her in a variety of sprints and hillclimbs, it continued to chase silverware in the hands of second owner Robert Rees Esq. Though, an accompanying RAC Engineer's Examination Report dated 26th October 1961, by which time the XK120 had covered an indicated 81,639 miles and was up for sale with Performance Cars Ltd of Brentford, suggests that such spirited early use had done it no harm.

Belonging to Donald Alan Clarke Esq. of Hampstead, London NW3 by May 1963 and still being MOT tested in the same locale five years later, 'OLF 460' subsequently fell into disrepair. Having toyed with the idea of a Nigel Dawes' car (and indeed turned down a freshly completed example at £42,500), the late Richard Colton spent nigh on £80,000 acquiring chassis 669108 and having it transformed into his own version of an uprated XK120 Fixed Head Coupe. Overseen by Michael Stewart of Stewart's Classic Motors (who had achieved numerous concours wins with his own XK120 OTS), the project took a year to complete (1996-1997).

Responsible for refurbishing the chassis and body, John Brown of Leaping Cats relocated the engine / gearbox mounts so that rack and pinion steering and a tubed XK140-type radiator with 'closed circuit' cooling could be fitted. The suspension was enhanced via Leda telescopic rear shock absorbers, competition springs, one-inch diameter torsion bars and a stiffer anti-roll bar, while the brakes and rear axle were upgraded with four-wheel discs and a limited slip differential respectively. Aside from a Monza-style fuel filler and reprofiled arches (the latter necessitated by the presence of larger 15 x 6J wire wheels), Richard Colton wanted onlookers to be unaware of 'all the goodies under the skin!'

Built by Rob Beere, the 3.8 litre XK DOHC engine boasted: a straight-port cylinder head, lightened flywheel, electronic ignition, high capacity oil pump, alternator, Kenlowe fan, oil cooler, D-Type camshafts, triple SU carburettors, forged Accralite pistons, wide blade balanced / shot-peened rods, top hat cylinder liners and fabricated exhaust manifolds (the latter leading to a stainless steel system that was routed through the relevant chassis cross member to improve ground clearance). Developing 264bhp @ 5,500rpm and 268lbft of torque @ 4,000rpm, the straight-six was allied to a five-speed manual Getrag gearbox. To the interior, the area behind the driver's seat was re-shaped and the oddment box removed to liberate sufficient legroom for a 6ft 2in occupant. Interior / map reading lights were added to the headlining and the wood veneer dashboard altered to accommodate separate oil and water temperature gauges. The speedometer recalibrated and the rev counter given an electric feed.

Writing in the Jaguar Drivers' Club Newsletter (July 2006 issue), Richard Colton recalled that the rejuvenated Fixed Head Coupe's `first trip was a Rally Atlantique in France, a mixed marque event when it won the Most Desirable Car award. It has been to North America (JEC Anniversary Tour), JEC Millenium Tour of South Africa, Jabbeke Speed Trials (fastest XK, standing kilometre 27.68 seconds), Angouleme Circuit des Remparts, Wales, Scotland (Reivers and Highland Tour, 1,983 miles door-to-door), Entente Cordiale to Alsace, Loire Valley, Le Mans Historic, XK Club Alsace to Alps, and will be doing XK Club St Petersburg. It has also done many weekend and smaller trips in the UK'.

Ever keen to improve his cars’ competitiveness, Richard Colton commissioned Keith Fell of HRG Classic Jaguar to install a Vicarage power steering kit and polybush the front suspension during autumn 2006. More sparingly used over the next few years, ‘OLF 460’ is thought to have covered less than 29,000 miles since its transformation. Purchased by the vendor from the late Richard Colton’s estate for £114,400 on October 14th 2015, the Jaguar was thoroughly serviced and recommissioned. Found to be even quicker than anticipated, the seller entrusted the two-seater to Ramsport Engineering Ltd of Denbighshire with instructions that the rear axle be more securely located (and thus less prone to move under load).

Disarmingly easy to drive thanks to its power assisted steering and five-speed gearbox, the XK120 remains a very fast wolf in very pretty sheep’s clothing! An accomplished hillclimber and trials rider as well as a long-term member of the Bentley Driver’s Club and Vintage Sports Car Club, the vendor is only reluctantly parting with the ex-Patsy Burt machine in an attempt to downsize his collection. In our opinion it would be impossible to source a genuine right-hand drive XK120 Fixed Head Coupe (let alone one with provenance) and have it restored / upgraded to this standard for anything like the guide price. Indeed, one of the Nigel Dawes’ cars referenced above sold for over £208,000 a few years ago despite not being as powerful or as well-honed as ‘OLF 460’. Beauty, history and speed – an alluring combination. Offered for sale with V5C Registration Document and history file.

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