Make us your home page
Instagram

My Favorite Car: '52 Jaguar XK-120 M, Johnny Johnston, Tampa

'52 Jaguar XK-120 M

After 31 years, I've said good-bye to my 1952 Jaguar XK-120 M purchased in 1980. What a car. In my 30-plus years as owner it has taken me to work, to the grocery store, to Lowe's where I could buy lumber and stow it in the passenger's seat, to a number of sports car races and a lot of Saturday night drive-in auto shows. I bought the Jaguar in San Jose, Calif., in 1980. The car was sitting in a garage with the top up when I went to pick it up. I lowered the top, stowed it behind the driver's seat, drove it home to San Francisco, and in 31 years have never put the top back up. Obviously, California has some fine convertible driving weather. In 1980, I retired to Florida out of San Diego and brought the Jag with me. However, I don't think she likes Florida: It's too hot, it rains too much and I can only take her out couple of times a month. In addition, it needs some mechanical work and I'm just not up to it. Not that I couldn't do it, mind you. In the 31 years I've owned the car, it has never been in an auto repair shop. The XK-120 M (or modified) version was basically a high-performance racing version of the original XK-120. Hi-lift cam, lightened flywheel, bigger brakes, split exhaust, bigger torsion bars — the windshield and heater were options. What would possess one to buy such an exotic car? Prior to moving to California in the early '80s, I had been a pit crew for a gentlemen who ran an English Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite in the SCCA on the East Coast with quite a bit of success. Naturally, I had a street version of the same car with quite a few racing goody hand-me-downs installed, but I had always had a hankering for a Jaguar. My work-related move to California in 1980 ended our racing partnership but exposed me to a co-worker who had the XK-120 for sale. The auto hauler took it away recently. An exotic car dealer out of California bought it, so I assumed it was headed back to sunny California. In fact, the auto hauler who picked it up said it already has been resold, and he was instructed to take it to Miami where it will be loaded into a shipping container and sent to Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It would be nice if the new owners would contact me so that I can follow the continuing saga of the old cat.

Tell us your love story

What's your story behind your favorite car? We're highlighting some of your beloved wheels. Here's what we need:

• Your name.

• City where you live.

• Age (with your date of birth).

• Year, make and model of the car.

• A description of the car and why you love it.

• A high-resolution photo or a scanned image. (The photo must be of the actual car.)

• Send these to drive@

tampabay.com.

We're still accepting submissions for My First Car. So keep them coming!

My Favorite Car: '52 Jaguar XK-120 M, Johnny Johnston, Tampa 05/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2011 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]