When it came out, the Jaguar XK120 was the fastest production car in the world. Really. It’s 193 km-per-hour top speed was the very top. Since then, surviving examples have been relegated to Concours duty, with rich men poring over refinished trim and delicately preserved patina. That’s one way to respect a legendary car. Ths company has another one in mind.
British electrification outfit Lunaz Design has launched an electric conversion program for XK120s (and 140s and 150s) that gives the old Jag a new jolt of power in the form of one or two electric motors powering the rear wheels instead of the old straight-six the car was originally fitted with. That motor was good for 160 horsepower when new, and more than sixty years after the first XK120s were produced, those numbers are sure to have dipped in surviving cars.
Lunaz says that its motors can produce up to 516 lb-ft of torque and a healthy 375 horsepower in its converted XK120s. That should be enough to push these cars far beyond the 193 km/h top speed the cars had when they were new, though Lunaz won’t say what the car’s new top speed is.
The first Jag Lunaz has converted is the black 1953 fixed-head coupe pictured here. Its conversion goes a lot deeper than swapping out the motor, with upgrades to the brakes, suspension, steering and other mechanicals sorted as well. The interior is also totally redone, and Lunaz says that any other converted XK120s would feature similarly exclusive attention to aesthetics as well as the mechanical upgrades.
As electric vehicles become more common, I’m sure we’ll see more projects like the Lunaz XK120. We’ve already seen electric crate motors launched that’ll fit in Volkswagen Beetles and Minis, and others are sticking electric motors in cars as diverse as BMW M3s and ‘83 Honda Accords. Those are nice, but they’re not quite as special as this machine. Hopefully, it’ll be only the first in a long line of EV swaps that really do justice to their donor cars.