By James Peace
A historic court battle was won by a body shop and service centre owner at Damastown, Blanchardstown in Ireland after he was awarded by the Circuit Civil Court ownership of a 1951 Jaguar XK 120.
Adjudged to be the car’s legal owner was Derek Tynan who spent more than $40,000 USD and thousands of hours of labor in restoring it. Mr. Tynan provided the court with receipts that he had amounting to more than $40,000 worth of parts he imported from the UK, and for specialized work done in the said country through official Jaguar outlets. The costs, he said, does not include his own labor and that of his staff in Ireland. Tynan claimed that the car was given to her by the widow of a former car dealer as a gesture of gratitude for helping her clear her barn. Said widow was Mrs. Mary Duffy, who affirmed Tynan’s story on stand. Mrs. Duffy had given the car simply on the basis that if ever he fixed it up, he would take her “for a drive in it in all its former glory.”
Meanwhile, classic car dealer Desmond Quinn was insisting he was the owner of the car. He allegedly only asked Eamonn Duffy, late husband of Mary Duffy and who he claims as his good friend, to store the car for him in 1989. This was adamantly denied by Mrs. Duffy, however. She said, “It was a rusty old shell covered in bird droppings and I wanted to get rid of it. Mr. Quinn never came near me at any time and I have absolutely no recollection of a conversation with him at my husband’s funeral about the car. It would have been the last thing in my mind.”
Circuit Civil Court Judge Jacqueline Linnane found Mrs. Duffy a credible witness but doubted the veracity of Quinn’s assertions. It was shown in court that there were several inconsistencies in Mr. Quinn’s statements particularly with regards to whom he bought the car. He claims that he bought the car from a certain Charles Norton in 1969, but in his 2012 statutory declaration he said he bought it from Robert McKay. Furthermore, he only sought to register ownership after 44 years. “I don’t find Mr. Quinn a very credible witness or, indeed, Mr. Norton, and I don’t accept there was any agreement between the late Mr. Duffy and Mr. Quinn to the effect that the vehicle would be stored, as it seems indefinitely,” Judge Linnane said.
Shipped in Ireland in 1951, the said Jaguar XK 120 will now be worth more than $130,000 after restoration. This classic roadster was first launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show in UK and was an instant success. The number ‘120’ in this Jaguar was in fact the car’s top speed timed at 120 mph. The first cars have alloy body panels over an ash frame, but later switched to steel body to keep up with the demand. This was the first car to feature a double overhead camshaft engine with one cubic capacity. Later models offered a 3.4 liter straight six engine using twin cams and twin carburettors, followed by Special Equipment (or SE) models that have higher lift cams and twin exhausts that raised its engine’s power at 160 bhp maxing its speed at 217 kph. It goes from 0-60 in 12 seconds with a fuel consumption of 22 mpg. The production of the XK 120 ended in 1954 with 12,055 units produced when the XK 140 was introduced.