XK120 by Pininfarina shortlisted for Restoration of the Year award

CMC’s 6,725-hour restoration of the one-off Pininfarina bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE, unveiled at Pebble Beach Concours has been shortlisted for Restoration of the Year at the Octane Awards 2017.

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 into the United States, who inspired the production and refinement of several vehicles.

It is believed that Hoffman inspired Pininfarina to reinterpret the shapes of the XK and then unveiled it at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. There is little trace of the car’s history, but it is certain that Hoffman was the supplying dealer and first owner, and that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, making this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence.

In 2015, CMC purchased chassis S675360 from a German gentleman who bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it but never got round to it. An epic 6,725-hour journey began.

During the forensic inspection it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as the basis, also 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 were impossible to find such as bumpers and chrome work, so CMC remade them by hand from photographs. The technicians also had to scan the front and rear end of the car in order 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 scan 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 was 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.

Chassis S675360 was one of the most challenging restorations ever undertaken by CMC, who managed to restore every aspect of it, from the unique body and structure through to paint, trim and mechanical elements, whilst saving as much of the original car as possible. It was unveiled at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won the runner up award in the O-2 Postwar Closed class.

Winners of the Octane Awards will be announced at the ceremony in London’s Globe Theatre on Thursday 16th November.

The team

  • Luke Martin (32, Panel Beater)
  • Neil Pountney (Panel Beater)
  • Andrew Turvey (49, Engine)
  • Ben Taylor (24, Engine)
  • Craig Brush (29, Electrician)
  • John Langston (56, Painter)
  • Andrew Wright (36, Painter)
  • Tom Hampton (50, Trimmer)
  • Luke Adams (24, Trimmer)
  • Zoltan Nemeth (61, Mechanic)
  • Robert Brookes
  • Dan Brown (36, Valeter)
  • Andrew Hill (29, Parts)
  • Paul Norton (25, Parts)
  • Finn Walton (31, Quality Control)