AN EPIC 6,725-hour restoration of the one-off Pininfarina-bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE by Classic Motor Cars won the Restoration of the Year trophy at the Octane Awards in London yesterday.
It’s the second time that the company has taken home the accolade, having done so previously in 2011 with its restoration of the Lindner-Nocker Lightweight – a legendary Jaguar that many thought to be beyond repair. The restorers are the only company to have won this award twice.
Nigel Woodward, managing director at Classic Motor Cars (CMC), said: ‘We are tremendously grateful to the judging panel for their recognition of skill and craftsmanship of our team of specialists who created this restoration. We are also blown away to have won this award for the second time.’
The awards are considered the most prestigious in the industry, recognising the elite in the international historic motoring world, and include a judging panel of industry experts and personalities such as five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, collector and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, collector and TV host Jay Leno, and the editors of Octane, Evo, Auto Express and Automobile.
This XK120 features unique bodywork by famed Italian design house Pininfarina. It was first delivered to Automotive Hall of Fame inductee Max Hoffman in 1954 – an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles, who inspired the production and refinement of several vehicles. It is believed he inspired Pininfarina to reinterpret the shapes of the XK then unveiled it at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show.
The Bridgnorth-based restorers bought Chassis No. S675360 in 2015 from a German man who had bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it but never got round to it, and so the 6,725-hour journey began.
During the forensic inspection, it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as the basis and that a previous owner had painted the exterior in burgundy, covered the seats with tan leather and changed various other aspects.
CMC’s specialists faced many challenges. Some of the original parts, such as bumpers and chrome work, were impossible to find so CMC remade them by hand from photographs. The technicians also had to scan the front and rear end of the car to make mock-ups of the lights, which were then scanned and reproduced. Smaller missing items were also produced in-house.
The rear window was missing and 3D scanning technology was used to scan the window aperture and make a new rear screen from the data.
There were no signs of the original paint colour, but when the front screen was removed a small section of original paint was discovered and used as a colour match by CMC’s paint specialist.
The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original trim colour. A small sample of original leather was discovered when stripping the car down, which was colour-matched, and the original leather type and colour were used to recreate the original ochre tan. The shape and pattern of the door cards were recreated by looking at similar Pininfarina-designed cars from the period.
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