1958 Jaguar XK150 S: Dad’s daily driver

Staff reports
Farm Forum

In the summer of 1958 college student Bill Lightfoot accompanied his father to the Jaguar store where he traded-in his two-year-old Jaguar for a new XK150 “S.”

The sticker price on the 1958 Jaguar XK150 S was lofty at $5,193. Compare that to a 1958 Corvette, which was selling for $3,631, or a 1958 Cadillac Coupe deVille that carried a price of $5,251. It was difficult to determine who was happier on the drive home to Hudson, Mass. — father or son.

The elder Lightfoot had ordered one of the earliest XK150 S models painted in red. When the car arrived, the Jaguar folks called to say racing driver Briggs Cunningham wanted the red one. Lightfoot reports his father said he didn’t mind so long as he got an XK150 S. For his cooperation he got one painted in Dove Gray, a hue that Lightfoot describes as “shiny primer.”

The XK150 S was in reality the XK120 taken as far as that model could go with available technology. Beneath the sleek XK150 S exterior lay the skeleton of the XK120 with a heavy body-on-frame design. Performance capable of being commanded by the excellent front suspension of the XK150 S had been unattainable in the XK120 by virtue of the antiquated live-axle rear suspension mounted on traditional leaf springs.

One area where the Jaguar was second to none was in braking. Visible behind each of the painted 60-spoke, 16-inch wheels are the disc brakes. Chrome-plated knockoff hubs help dress up the otherwise drab wheel treatment.

The Jaguar was well cared for but it was a daily driver. As the years went by the Jaguar was driven less, until Lightfoot received a telephone call. His father asked, “Why don’t you take the Jag?”

The younger Lightfoot arranged for one of his sons to make the trip to New England and trailer the Jaguar home to Virginia. The ravages of New England winters and road salt were evident along the sills on both sides. Other than that, the Jag was in unique original condition.

The rust could not be ignored, so Lightfoot had the cancerous rust cut out and healthy steel welded in place. The decision was made at that time to have the entire car repainted in the original Dove Gray. With the exception of the new paint and tires, the car remains as it was on that July day when it was new.

Included in the model are the red leather upholstery and the ignition wiring. The XK150 S engine was painted a distinctive “old gold,” according to Jaguar literature of the day. Lightfoot places the color closer to “pumpkin.”

Twin fuel pumps feed gasoline to a trio of S.U. carburetors, bringing the 3.4-liter engine to life. “As far as I know, the head has never been off,” Lightfoot reports about the twin-overhead camshaft engine.

There is no identifiable mark on Lightfoot’s Jaguar to identify it as an XK150 S model. Later models had a chrome-plated “S” mounted on each door by the windshield.

The batteries under the front fenders are kept charged and the dual exhaust system whole, just waiting for an opportunity to go someplace. “I don’t want a garage queen,” Lightfoot exclaims.

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