My Car Quest

June 21, 2024

An Inspirational Jaguar XK120 Roadster

Full chat in top cog…

by Wallace Wyss –

One of the great things about old cars is they are a time machine that, for the attuned enthusiast, can reach back into eras you miss. For me, when I was out in Malibu recently, one of the most exciting cars I saw (and this is even considering a Bizzarrini) was a Jaguar XK120 roadster, in a sort of baby blue.

Jaguar XK120

Now I’ve seen several 120s before, going back to their original era, but this one had racing windscreens. For those of you new to Olde cars, those were little baby windshields which you could flip up to protect the driver and passenger, a device usually used by racers but street legal.

The last time I saw them being used on a XK120 was at Lime Rock Park at least three decades ago when three ’50s 120s rolled into the car park, the drivers wearing goggles and I believe leather helmets (WWII bomber style) I remember how jazzed the drivers and passengers were, having driven hundreds of miles with only the flip up windscreens and goggles to protect themselves.

Jaguar XK120

I even think Jaguar ought to go around the car park at vintage races during events and give rewards to owners of their breed who drive them in the way God and Coventry intended. Same with other sports car builders. I didn’t get to talk to the car’s occupants but I want to thank them for braving the 50-deg. temperatures (hey, it’s California and that’s cold!) and evoking great memories.

Jaguar XK120 art by Wyss

I was inspired by one shot enough to make a painting. I loved the “period” helmets with flip down face shields….

When I got up last Sunday at 5:30 am to drive an hour West to Malibu, I gave up sleeping in on a Sunday in the expectation I’d see great cars, plus have a great setting to shoot a picture that might inspire a painting.

I succeeded, a glimpse of the ocean behind it and the daring duo in their matching helmets. The important thing was being there when the light was right. All I needed after that was a very inspirational car.

Tally Ho or something like that…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR SPEAKS; If you know a gallery into automotive art, tell them I’ll send a sample for them to try out on the wall. I can be reached at


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Photos by Wallace Wyss.

An Inspirational Jaguar XK120 Roadster
Article Name
An Inspirational Jaguar XK120 Roadster
One of the great things about old cars is they are a time machine that can reach back into eras you miss. One of the most exciting cars I saw recently (and this is even considering a Bizzarrini) was a Jaguar XK120 roadster.


  1. This XK120 is a great looking car.

  2. John Shea says

    I was recently surprised opening my mail. I recently received a photo taken of a very early aluminum 120. I know it was aluminum because the owner always yelled at us kids “not to touch the Jaguar ! You will dent it “ ! Before that I was never ever told that about any other car ? The car was owned by a close family friend in Tampa. He was an architect who built a special room next to his garage just to protect the Jaguar. His son and I were close in age and ran around together until his passing. We would actually sleep in the room on the weekends, acting like we were at Sebring. Neither of us ever actually got to drive in it much less drive it. The son passed, I moved out of town and lost touch with the family back in the late 70’s. A few years ago I drove by to find the house abandoned. I talked to the neighbor who explained that the father had just passed a few months earlier. The Jaguar ? It was drug out of its tomb and sold off many years ago. The photo is very degraded but you can still make out the unmistakable profile of that wonderful machine. I would like to share the photo but I never can get past your photo requirements…Jack

  3. wallace wyss says

    I though John was going to say “The son called and asked if I wanted his dad’s old car” but it had a sadder ending. Reminds me of when i met a Hollywood producer who had a gullwing Mercedes, left it in his old house in Malibu when he went to iive with his French wife in France. Then a couple years later he gets a call from the buyer of his house , to whit:” What’cha want me to do with this old car you lett in the garage?” And the producer said “Keep it.”

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