1952 Jaguar XK120 custom roadster owned by Joseph Limongelli
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
The standard Jaguar XKs produced from 1948 to 1961 have long been considered icons among British car enthusiasts. And one of their earliest fans was Hollywood superstar Clark Gable, who bought three, including this 1952 version massaged by legendary California customizer George Barris. While retaining the beautiful lines of the original, Barris shaved some of the trim and body, and created a kind of Carson top, a tall removable hardtop, to give Gable extra headroom.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it from an estate through St. Louis classic car dealer Mark Hyman. “I’ve had many cars over the years,” he says, “but I wanted something different that could start competing at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and Villa d’Este (concours) in Italy.” Limongelli’s Jag was, indeed, one of the highlighted cars at Florida’s prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 10, 2019.
Limongelli says the roadster was completely refurbished several years ago by JK Restorations, an Illinois Jaguar specialist. “That car has over $330,000 in restoration,” he says. “I’ve always loved Jags, but I never owned an XK because I figured it was old back in the day. But a piece like this, it’s a mantelpiece. You don’t even drive it.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
He advises using an expert like Hyman when making a purchase. “He was sure it was the real deal,” says Limongelli. “And I knew everybody in the background, so it was worth it. That’s the way to do it today.”
Limongelli estimates the Jaguar is worth $400,000 to $425,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“It’s just a wonderful car,” he says. “It feels a little weird, obviously, because it was Clark Gable’s car, but you have to remember that, for the time and the age, it’s a nimble car. Because the restoration is so high quality and so way out there, it’s almost like driving a new car even though it’s old.”