Jaguar XK: the definitive 1950s British sports car
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Jaguar XK: the definitive 1950s British sports car

By DrJohnWright - 14 September 2020

The XK120 not only redefined the Jaguar brand, but it was the most inspirational new car of the 1940s. On 27 October 1948, the first British postwar motor show opened its doors to the public in Earls Court. By the time the last spectator was bound for home on the Clapham (or whatever) omnibus, a record 562,954 people had attended, dramatically eclipsing the previous best tally of 315,000. A snapshot of Great Britain in 1948: no longer really so Great despite the Allied victory in World War Two; the best of times (optimism for the era of peace and new opportunities) and the worst of times (fresh memories of loss and privation, continuing austerity with wartime measures such as petrol rationing still in place).

In the US an unprecedented era of prosperity, epitomised by bold new cars with extravagant styling and high-compression V8 engines was already evident by 1948.

On 29 November 1948, Australia got the Holden and the rapid move to mass motorisation followed.