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The love story of Clark Gable and the Jaguar XK120

the Jaguar XK120

Clark Gable was never an actor. The nicknamed “The King of Hollywood” is recognized as one of the first American film stars after the arrival of the sound to the big screen, leaving the memory of masterful interpretations like the one that happened one night (1934) and that would be worth an Oscar, Rebellion on board (1935) or the epic What the Wind Went (1939).

the Jaguar XK120

But the American actor was as or better known for his intense personal life, a fascinating story that would lead him to marry five times to join the Armed Forces during World War II and in this case to Be a lover of the most luxurious cars of the time.

A symbol of masculinity and mid-century American seduction, Clark Gable quickly developed a strong interest in automobiles, his perfect complement to Hollywood’s busy social life. For his garage would pass pieces as exclusive as elegant, which we can highlight:

  • Duesenberg Model JN 1935
  • Packard Eight Convertible Victoria 1938
  • Jaguar 3.5-Liter Mark IV Drophead Coupe 1948
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 1955

the Jaguar XK120

And after his good feelings at the wheel of the Jaguar Mark IV, in Clark Gable arose an interest unleashed to be able to acquire one of the first units of the Jaguar XK120, the new sport that the British mark marketed between the years 40 and 50.

That convertible two-seater, widely remembered for its long hood and its rear wheels covered, would quickly be a sales success among the upper classes of society, who wanted to enjoy the magnificent sound of its engine and its stylized silhouette, a design that with the passage of the years it becomes increasingly beautiful and admired.

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The XK120 was an advanced car at the time. The spectacular 6-cylinder in-line engine with 3.4 liters of displacement provided 160 hp of power, reached 205 km / h of maximum speed and was 0-100 km / h in less than 10 seconds, all of this very interesting data in the time. Its cost was 3,940 dollars and was manufactured a total of 12,078 units over six years.

the Jaguar XK120

Clark Gable soon discovered the potential of the XK120, so fascinated by its mix of beauty and performance, asked the brand managers to be the first customer to acquire such a model on the West Coast of the United States. This should be no problem for the Coventry firm as it was a big publicity claim.

But the huge demand generated by the XK120 caused Jaguar to start manufacturing units with molded aluminum body by hand before serial production could be started and began to manufacture the pressed steel bodies.

So Clark Gable could be the proud owner of one of the few XK120s with an aluminum body for the American country, but the car fell in love so much … it would be with three other units of the same model!

One of them, the one that illustrates this report was donated to the actor by the Circuit of Indianapolis when in 1950 was present in the well-known route of Indiana to roll the film, where it interpreted to a race pilot that a journalist wanted Sink its path.

the Jaguar XK120

In fact, the actor was so attracted to the creation of Jaguar that he offered to practice as a tester of the car for Road & Track magazine, for which he wrote a report entitled my favorite sport where he explained how this vehicle of all series reached the 200 km / h.

This particular unit, in beautiful black color, only saw the light of the sun once a year, when Gable used that car to get close to enjoying it as a spectator of the Indianapolis 500. To date, with 65 years old, the car hardly registers 10,000 kilometers on its odometer. Undoubtedly, a perfect homage for an actor who broke molds and was, by his own merits, The King of Hollywood.

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