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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is This the Movie Jaguar No One Noticed, Or Just a Hoax?


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

Is this Jaguar a Hollywood starlet, or a wallflower fleeing half a world away from her lies?
I’m cringing and intrigued all in the same breath when this car crossed my desk. A 1957 Jaguar XK140 Fixed Head Coupe (FHC) was pulled out of California and is now for sale in The Netherlands. This sleek classic is rare and interesting on its own, but it has the extra attraction of appearing in some of the best movies…at least that’s the claim.

I get to come across plenty of move/celebrity cars. It’s often an interesting/long/frustrating/obsessive/unending trail. It leads everywhere from celebrating an unsung Bond movie hero, to weeding out the real Bandit Trans Ams from the dozens that just got a whiff from Burt’s ample moustache. In the case of this Jag, the seller claims its provenance includes The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, American Graffiti, Jaws, Rocky, E.T., The Godfather III, Jerry Maguire, Ray, and many others.


This coupe’s resume reads more like an essential’s movie list, and it even doubles down on actors like Dustin Hoffman, Talia Shire, and Richard Dreyfuss.

That kind of heavyweight Hollywood history has me immediately engaged, and so I fire off an email to the classic car dealership to find out more. With no official response yet, I only want to dig deeper.

An XK140 FHC is already intriguing even without star power. Over its three-year production run only about 2,800 coupes were made with about 2,000 exported. This makes the left-hand drive XK140 FHC one of the rarest of the entire legendary series.

According to the seller, commercial producer George Vieira purchased this example in 1962 from a person who worked in the MGM Studio’s production office. The former owner used it in movies to help make some extra money, and Vieira continued with that tradition.


The Jag would be flatbeded to movies, and then stored at Vieira’s studio garage. Later in the 70s, it was moved to a family storage facility in North Hollywood. For the next couple of decades the coupe’s life was trucking it to film sets and then tucking it away.

More recently, the car has been rejuvenated through a five-year full restoration. It started out as a desirable MC/SE model, but it’s unclear how much of those upgrades remain. That makes the €109,500 (currently about $124K) price seem in-line with similar classics, and a bargain for a Hollywood starlet. But its history makes me wonder how some of the movies on this coupe’s list overlap.

Was any of Midnight Cowboy filmed in LA? Weren’t the outdoor scenes in Rocky shot in Philadelphia and on a tight budget? Could this car really have been sent to these movie sets from Cali? I remember an E-Type and a Volvo P1800 chewing the scenery in Jaws, so why have I never spotted this one?


Part insomnia and part need for instant answers made it time to raid my DVD closet and have a brief movie marathon. E.T. – no; Rocky – nada; Jaws – nope; The Godfather III – zilch. There are others in my collection, but it’s easier finding a well-adjusted teen in a John Hughes film than searching through American Graffiti for a specific car.

I know this XK coupe is not the star of any of these movies because plenty of us would remember the sleek Jaguar. Not even the IMCDB places this car in the legendary movies list.

I’m not disappointed watching all these films and going slo-mo on the traffic scenes, because it’s a good excuse to enjoy some great movies. It’s just a letdown because how much I want the tale to be true. I’m still waiting for that cathartic moment when I finally recognize that this Jaguar was always in the background, but we were all too caught up in the best Tinseltown plots to notice.


There are currently more questions than answers. That’s part of the fun of this business, and also why I wanted to share it while there’s still the excitement of the unknown. This Jaguar is the perfect excuse to go watch some of your favorite movies.

See one of films I didn’t, or go back and find what I missed. I didn’t spend all day on this and neither should you. But now when someone asks why you’re intently watching Ben Braddock race his Alfa up the California coast, you can proudly answer, “research.”