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Jaguar XK150 Review (1957-1960)
After the immense success of the XK140 and the initiating model of the bloodline – the XK120, the XK150 came. As expected, it brought loads of improvements that went in line with technological advancements in the automotive industry, while still keeping the most recognizable and revered features of the previous two models.
The first two models available were the Fixed Head Coupe (dubbed FHC) and Drophead Coupe (DHC) and they saw the light of day in 1957. A year later the roadster, or Open Two-Seat (OTS) came and completed the lineup of the XK150. The DHC actually had a second row of seats, but they were rather minimal with questionable comfort even during short trips.
At the time of its inception, the XK150 was significantly different than its older brothers. The windscreen got an all new design, leaving the split shape behind. Also the long hood became even longer, due to the fact that the windscreen was moved towards the cabin by 4 inches. There were thirteen different colors available for the XK150: Red, Pearl Grey, White, Indigo Blue, Claret, Cotswold Blue, Black, Mist Grey, Sherwood Green, Carmen Red, British Racing Green, Cornish Grey, and Imperial Maroon.
On the inside, the designers did away with wood dashboard and kept the leather one for all models, save for the early DHC models which had a central dashboard panel made of aluminum. However, this was dropped as early as June 1958.
There was no power steering available for the XK150, but there were five powering options. The base model came with a 3.4 l I6 engine that resembled the one from the XK140, the main difference being the cylinder head. There were two more 3.4l I6 engines and two 3.8 l ones. The power ranged from 190 hp to 265 hp. The mark XK150 3.4 stood for the base 190 hp model, while the different cylinder head and exhaust valves increased the power to 210 hp for the XK150 SE.
The first XK150 that was actually faster than the Jaguar XK140 was the S model. It came in 1958 and it featured better carburetors and cylinder head with straight ports so the power jumped to admirable 250 hp.
The displacement was increased to 3.8 l for the 1959 model and there were two models available – SE and S, with power ratings of 220 hp and 265 hp. The most powerful model reached 60 mph in 7 seconds and topped out at about 135 mph. In order to stop the car, Jaguar opted for all round disc brakes, instead of drums.
The XK150 saw its end of production in October 1960. It was also the end of the XK models evolution, since the XK150 was replaced by the Jaguar E-Type, one of the most popular cars in the history of the industry.
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Driving & Performance
In terms of the driving feel, the XK150 was a real successor to the XK140. Although the starting models were actually slower than the previous model, the later models brought a significant increase in performance, so the most powerful XK150 was a full second and a half faster to 60 mph than the XK140.
However, the XK150 might be the best driver’s option of all the classic XK models. The XK120 was a very nimble car to drive. Capable enough in terms of power, but beautifully balanced and very light, so more capable drivers actually preferred it to the XK140, due to the involvement of the driver it required. On the other hand, the XK140 had a more comfortable interior, rack and pinion steering, better suspension and better brakes, which were the worst feature of the XK120. The problem was that the increased comfort also brought an increase in weight, so, even though the performance figures were quite similar, the weight issues spoiled the driving feel somewhat.
The XK150 combined the best of the two worlds. It was comfortable, it had the same suspension and chassis as the XK140 and it was lighter. It had even better brakes than the already capable set on the XK140, it had the rack and pinion steering, while it also offered far more powerful engines than both of its predecessors, with the most powerful version reaching 60 mph in about 7 seconds; far better than 8.5 – 9 seconds of the XK140. If you had to choose between raw sportiness and GT comfort with the previous two models, the XK150 eliminated the differences and offered an all in one Jaguar XK experience.Back To Top
Equipment & Comfort
The biggest change in the interior was the drop of wood dashboard panel. All dashboards in the XK150 were now bathed in high-quality leather, although the initial models had the central panel made of aluminum. Even though the windscreen was moved back towards the cabin, the interior was very roomy and comfortable, partly due to the new door design which made them much thinner, allowing more room on the inside. The XK150, compared to the XK140 had the same wheelbase, but it was 1 inch longer.
The basic design idea was still present. Most cars had plush leather interiors and very comfortable, long and flat seats. The rear seats of the Drophead Coupe were the biggest ones in an XK so far, but they were definitely insufficient for any kind of a trip, resembling the size and even design of the Porsche 911’s rear seats.
The handbrake was now also changing sides along with the steering wheel, usually resting on the passenger’s side.
There were five dashboard clocks, with the two large ones serving as speedometer and rev counter, while the other three were significantly smaller. The central part of the dashboard which hosted the instruments was usually of a different color compared to the rest of the interior.
The XK150 finally got door handles. The roadster still had a light canvas top, while the Drophead Coupe had a sturdier one.
There was no power steering available, but the plush interior, balanced chassis and wonderful I6 engines provided a very comfortable and reassuring ride for the era.Back To Top
The XK150 was a continuance of the XK120 and XK140 so it shared lots of their parts. For example, the exhaust valves of the XK150 were the same as the ones on C-type head of the previous models and they now cost about $10. Tach generator for the later versions of the XK150 was different and it now costs about $350. A pair of front and rear shocks for the XK150 is the same as for the XK140 and they stand at between $300 and $400.
It is not surprising that so many parts are the same. Every new generation of the XK was an improved and more refined version of the previous model, so the parts and systems that had proved their merits were left intact, while the ones that needed improvement would became better. This is most easily seen with power increases and brakes improvements which were more capable with each new generation. The XK150’s reliability is not an issue in any way.Back To Top
History & Development
The XK150 came in 1957 and the last one saw the light of day in 1960. It was an improved XK140 which was, in turn, an improved XK120. However, it was a big step forward and a car which brought the lineup to the end – after that the legendary E-Type came.
The visual changes included body styling revisions such as new windscreen design, wider and longer hood and a revised interior. Speaking of the interior, the wood was no longer on the dashboard. The early models had leather dash with aluminum central panel, while the models made from 1958 featured an all leather dashboard with the central panel usually in different color.
The doors were also thinned down for increased interior space.
The most notable changes were the engines. The first one was the 3.4 l DOHC I6with 190 hp. However, not many cars had this one, since the tuned version with the same size quickly upped the power to 210 hp in the model dubbed XK150 SE. A year after the XK150 came, the 3.4 l got another boost from three SU HD8 carburetors and cylinder head with straight ports for better air flow. The result was a respectable increase in power rating to 250 hp for the XK150 S.
In 1959, for the 1960 model, the XK150 got an engine with increased displacement. There were two versions – SE and S – with 220 hp and 265 hp respectively and the latter had the acceleration to 60 mph of 7 seconds, which was a huge increase in speed.
The last XK150 was produced in 1960 and it was replaced by the Jaguar E-Type.Back To Top
Facts & Figures
|Body||Roadster, coupe and drophead coupe|
|Engines||3.4 l DOHC XK inline 6 (190 hp) – 1957 to 1960|
3.4 l DOHC XK inline 6 (210 hp) – 1957 to 1960
3.4 l DOHC XK inline 6 (250 hp) – 1958 to 1960
3.8 l DOHC XK inline 6 (220 hp) – 1959 to 1960
3.8 l DOHC XK inline 6 (265 hp) – 1959 to 1960
|Dimensions and weight|
|Jaguar XK150 years of production|
|All models||1957 – 1960|
|Jaguar XK150 production numbers|
|All models||Roadster 2,265|