Very Rare Vintage Jaguar Barn Find Was Raced Hard and Put Up Wet and Still Worth $250,000

Every time we think we have seen all the insanely rare barn find cars buried in dust and decades, another one always comes along. Imagine finding a vintage racing Jaguar XK140 from the ‘50s that is one of four to get a custom body from Ghia. Well, you don’t have to imagine too hard, because here it is. 

front end sticking out of a barn
Jaguar XK140 Coupe | Bonhams

This vintage Jaguar XK140 barn find is mind-blowing

I know this vintage Jaguar doesn’t exactly look like any Jaguar you’ve ever seen. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Ghia of the VW Karmin-Ghia fame designed and built this body on the chassis of the Jag. According to Silodrome, of the four cars that had bodies built by Ghia, this one is the most unique as it features modernizations applied by Ghia after it was initially built.

In 1956, Ghia changed the grille for a bigger mouth. In 1959, after some front-end damage, Ghia redid the whole front end. So even of the four, this one is particularly special. 

So, what exactly is this Jag? 

The Jaguar XK140 debuted in 1954 as the replacement for the Jaguar XK120 – the fastest car in the world at the time. The XK140 was available as a powered rolling chassis. A small number had custom bodies fitted built by coachbuilders, including four that were made by Carrozzeria Ghia with design work completed by Giovanni Michelotti.

The XK140 had a hell of a blueprint in the XK120. Jaguar was wise not to try to change too much about Jaguar XK140. All they really did was touch up some of the flaws from the XK120. These improvements included brakes, suspension, and some engine tweaks. 

This vintage Jaguar XK140 came with a 3.4-liter Jaguar XK straight-six engine with double overhead cams and 190 or 210 bhp, depending on the final specification. 

This vintage Jaguar barn find looks more like an Aston Martin

Vintage Jaguar XK140 barn find in a vintage photo racing a Ferrari
Vintage Jaguar XK140 | Bonhams

As with many custom coachbuilders, these Ghia bodies were made from an aluminum alloy instead of the stamped steel Jaguar used. This alloy was easier to work for custom body panels and made the car lighter. In this case, the Ghia-bodied Jags were 220-lbs lighter than the regular XK140s. 

Silodrome says this car changed hands in 1969. The owner wanted to take advantage of the lighter-weight body and the racing prestige of 1950s Jags, so he decided to race this insanely rare car. 

He swapped the original motor for a high-performance 3.8 liter Jaguar XK engine with a D-Type head and triple twin-choke Weber carburetors. This pepped things up a touch. The listing says that he raced the car extensively. He says he won at Monza and even beat a Ferrari 250 TDF once. 

In 1979 the vintage Jaguar barn find was parked. It hasn’t moved since then, until now. 

How much is this Jaguar XK140 worth? 

These things are always hard to figure out. The average auction price for a regular 1955 Jaguar XK140 is right around $100,000. But the folks at Bonhams – who are the ones auctioning it – have estimated this Ghia-bodied Jag could sell for anything between $250,000-$350,000. 

If you would like to read more, check out the Bonhams listing here.

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