The XK140, despite having one of the finest sports car chassis and engines, appeared somewhat outdated when it debuted in 1954. Its design closely mirrored its predecessor, the XK120, crafted by Jaguar’s boss William Lyons in 1948.

Lyons, known for his eclectic style, had incorporated the best of European designs into the XK120. However, by the time the XK140 was introduced, automotive design had advanced significantly. Jaguar offered the XK140 in rolling chassis form for custom bodywork by independent coachbuilders, catering to wealthy clients seeking modern styling.

Jaguar provided eleven XK140s in rolling chassis form for independent bodywork, with the most notable being four crafted by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin. Ghia, known for its earlier work on the XK120’s ‘Supersonic’ cars designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi, created four closed coupés for the XK140, all sharing a broadly similar design.

Constructed entirely of aluminum, these custom XK140 bodies were typical of hand-built ‘one-offs’, making them 100kg (220lb) lighter than the steel-bodied production models. The use of aluminum not only reduced weight but also highlighted the bespoke craftsmanship of these exclusive vehicles.

Photos by Darin Schnabel courtesy of RM Sotheby’s