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Thornley Kelham’s Modernized Jaguar XKs Take 5,000 Hours to Build

Photos: Thornley Kelham Ltd.

Based in the UK and working out of a state-of-the-art 32,000-square-foot facility, Thornley Kelham Ltd. is an elite auto shop specializing in Concours-grade restorations, classic car and exotic vehicle maintenance, and rally preparation, among other fortes. For the last few years, the English outfit has also been offering what it calls its “European Progamme,” a special division that focuses on delivering modernized continuation cars based on vintage automotive icons like the Porsche 911 and 356 and the Lancia Aurelia B20GT. And after its initial success, Thornley Kelham has now opted to expand the program to include the fabled 1950s-era Jaguar XK.

This lightly-modernized yet still faithful reinterpretation of the XK was penned by Paul Howse, the same designer behind the McLaren P1 and 720S. Each unit is born out of approximately 5,000 expert man-hours of restoration and modification labor, including the creation of a custom suite of bodywork and the tuning of a fuel-injected 340-hp 3.8-liter XK engine mated to a five-speed gearbox.

Equipped with a built-in FIA-spec roll cage, the retro-inspired yet modernized full Connolly aniline leather interior also features heated seats, wireless phone charging, electric windows, a Bluetooth stereo, re-engineered original gauges, Wilton carpeting throughout, an Alcantara headliner, a modern pedal box conversion, a competition steering wheel, and the buyer’s choice of numerous dashboard finish options. Performance upgrades on the classic Jag include 16” alloy-rimmed wire wheels, up-specced brakes with quad-piston calipers, a redesigned rear axle with a limited-slip diff, and a double-wishbone coil-over suspension setup with Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs.

Produced on an extremely limited built-to-order basis, Thornley Kelham’s Jaguar XK ‘European Programme’ Continuation Car is available now, with pricing starting from £550,000 (~$718,500), plus the cost of the XK donor.

Purchase: $718,500+

Photo: Thornley Kelham Ltd.
Photo: Thornley Kelham Ltd.
Photo: Thornley Kelham Ltd.