It is the year 1948, the war is over for three years. One of the largest auto shows of the post-war period, the London Motor Show at Earls Court nearing his reopening. The show is scheduled for 27 October. In the automotive forging Jaguar is to be confronted with a dilemma.
The new developed 6-cylinder inline engine XK (X = experimental, K = Model), and the chassis are indeed finished in time, but the body, which is made in order by the Pressed Steel Company, is missing. These three components are part of a new developed and fast saloon, the Jaguar Mark VII. Jaguar expects a better business deal in the saloon segment and would like to introduce the new car on the motor show.
As more and more apparent that the schedule can not be kept they designed a "temporary solution". William Lyons shorten the MK VII chassis about 18 inches, in order to find the correct wheelbase for a sports car. Single-handedly he designed a matching, elegant open two-seater body. Together with Fred Gardner, his man for practical implementation, it transforms them into reality, in the backyard of his factory in Foleshill. Just in time the venture is finished before the fair begins. This temporary solution will be produced in a limited edition of 200 vehicles, once for potential customers of the London Motor Show and second to bridge the time to introduce the new MK VII.
Knowingly, things never turn out the way you expect. The new Roadster beats like a bomb and the orders are so numerous that they exceeds the targeted quantity more than twice, not at least of the good price-performance ratio. They decided to manufacture the Roadster in series. The Jaguar XK120 was born.