Jaguar XK 120 Book Reviews & Testimonials - Exceptional Cars 2

xk120 jaguar book

Historic Racing News, April 2017

'Chas Parker and Philip Porter’s new book tells the story of one of the six alloy-bodied XK 120s that were prepared by Jaguar in 1950 for racing and rallying. This particular Jaguar, known as JWK 651 due to registration number it has carried since new, was owned by Leslie Johnson and raced by him in some of the most prestigious events of the time, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, twice in the the Mille Miglia and the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. Beyond that, Johnson and up-and-coming Stirling Moss visited the speed bowl at Montlhéry, near Paris, for a record-breaking attempt and Johnson also took part in the RAC Rally.

'JWK 651 made its competition début on the 1950 Mille Miglia coming home in a superb fifth place for Leslie Johnson and John Lea, beaten only by three Ferraris and a works Alfa Romeo driven by Juan Mnauel Fangio. The Jaguar performed strongly at Le Mans that year, driven by Johnson and Bert Hadley, the car lay in second place after 15 hours and was gaining on the leaders when the clutch failed.

'While Stirling Moss won the 1950 Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod, in Northern Ireland, in another alloy-bodied XK 120, Johnson finished seventh on handicap to help secure the team prize for Jaguar. The pair joined together at Montlhéry in October later that year, Johnson and Moss averaging 107.36mph for 24-hours while in March 1951 Johnson returned to achieve 131.83mph in one hour.

'A final flourish in 1952 brought another Mille Miglia appearance, which ended in retirement, and an outing on the RAC Rally of Great Britain that saw Johnson reach third place before dropping back to 16th by the end.

'The 128-page book contains over 120-illustrations combining a wealth of period photographs as well as a portfolio of studio images.

'The Co-authors: Chas Parker is a long-time motor racing enthusiast who has written nine books, including co-authorship of the Jaguar C-type and D-type volumes in the ‘Great Cars’ series. Philip Porter, who is also the book’s publisher, has written over 30-motoring titles, many on Jaguar subjects, and twice won the Montagu Trophy awarded by the Guild of Motoring Writers for the best book of the year. His work includes Jaguar E-type – The Definitive History, Ultimate E-type and a Lightweight E-type title in the ‘Great Cars’ series.'


Octane, April 2017

'JWK 651 is 'the Jaguar that did everything', and that now includes having a book written specifically about it by two leading Jaguar historians.  Aside from that JWK (one of six alloy-bodied competition XK 120s) competed in the Mille Miglia, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Dundrod Tourist Trophy, established speed records at Montlhéry and came close to winning the RAC Rally of Great Britain.  All this makes for many great tales, brilliantly relayed by Parker & Porter.' DL


Jaguar Club of North America, Jaguar, September - October issue

...'Not being steeped in XK lore as some are, I figured it couldn't be that remarkable because I couldn't recall the registration number, unlike the famous multi-rally winning NUB 120, or LWK 707, the coupe which in 1952 broke the 100 mph average barrier at Montlhéry over seven days and seven nights (100.32 mph).  However, against expectations, if the objectives of non-fiction publishing include entertainment as well as education, then this book justifies its existence by having educated and entertained this reviewer splendidly for several hours.  Bravo, Messrs.  Parker & Porter. Again.

'...The quality of the modern commissioned photography balances the period images, which are almost inevitably in monochrome and grainier - especially when enlarged for such a big book.  Yet the over-enlarged images are almost always atmospheric and carry the day, blurring notwithstanding.'

The Bulletin, Summer, 2017

'All together another fine book from Porter Press and, like the first in the series, excellent value for money. XK 120s were always the best looking of the XK series and this six alloy bodied competition cars are historically the most important; the authors have done a good job of portraying one individual example.'

Good evening

Just to let you know that the books have been received earlier today in perfect condition. Delivery was much earlier than I expected which I find very impressive.

Very many thanks for the service and all the excellent books. I am looking forward to the next publication, Monza Alfa by Mike Walsh later this spring.


J. Cocker

Automobile Sport, Winter 2017

'Informative and with a lot of background, they describe the story of the car in both words and pictures - from the original build up in Coventry to its outings at Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, and the Tourist Trophy, to its recent restoration. Along with technical descriptions, the magnificent 1950s era of British motorsport is also captured. Overall a truly enjoyable read, offered at a very attractive price.

back to XK 120 book