This XK120, more than any other, was the car that established Jaguar’s motor sport credentials. Though neither the first nor the last of the competition XK120s, NUB 120 was by far the most successful of the breed.
Unlike most other competition cars in the collection, NUB 120 was not a works car, but was privately owned and campaigned by Ian Appleyard, with his wife Patricia, William Lyons’ daughter, acting as navigator. It missed victory in its first ever event, the 1950 Tulip Rally in Holland, by one quarter of an inch. Appleyard did not make the same mistake again, entering the 1950 Alpine Rally and winning a Coupe des Alpes.
The following year, Appleyard and NUB 120 repeated their success in the Alpine Rally and added the RAC Rally and the elusive Tulip Rally to their string of victories. Despite failing to win the Alpine Rally outright in 1952, the third consecutive run without incurring a single penalty point earned the first ever Gold Cup for the car!
The secret of the XK120s competition success was its extremely rugged chassis, the extraordinary reliability of its then new 3.4-litre, twin-cam engine and the light weight of its all-alloy bodywork (later production cars were built from steel). Its only weakness was its brakes, with heavy wear rates and susceptibility to fade, which almost proved the undoing of the Appleyards on many occasions during their time together.
At the end of its active career in 1953, NUB 120 came back to Jaguar and has been with us ever since. Ian Appleyard replaced it with a new XK 120, registered RUB 120. Today NUB 120 is maintained in full working order and can often be seen at classic car events supporting the marque whose reputation it did so much to establish.
Registration mark: NUB 120 (13 March 1950)
Chassis number: 660044
Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust
Inventory number: 039/J.09