The car started life in 1959 as a standard 3.8 XK 150 S coupe (chassis No. S. 825043 DN). The original engine (VA 1219-8) was later swapped (LB 2049 according the logbook.)
Handwritten records of the car seem to indicate that the original color was Cream with a Maroon interior. The logbook shows that the first two owners lived in Cheshire, UK
The car’s colorful life began on the 14th June 1964 when Douglas Hull Ltd. from Finmere, Buckingham, UK, bought it. Mr. Hull owned a garage not far from the Silverstone race track and needed a fast practical car which would also be good for towing. He asked Douglas Wilson Spratt, who was well known at the time for fettling, racing and building fast Sprites, to transform the XK 150 S.
In 1968 Wilson Spratt sent the XK to PEELS of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey UK. There, coachbuilders Alec Goldie and Les Faulkner grafted on a Shooting Brake body and – very important – a towing hook (see photo nbr. 1 in the picture gallery). It was then that the car was first painted metallic grey or gunmetal. There’s a rumor that Frank Feeley of Aston Martin fame had something to do with the swooping design of the rear wings. At any rate this is probably the best looking station wagon conversion of a Jaguar XK.
While the body was being converted, Wilson Spratt modified the engine to a full blown 3.8 E-type race engine. Soon the XK with registration 6797 N got attention within the amateur racing circles in the UK and was surnamed the ‘tow car’. It was frequently used by the late Hon. Patrick Lindsay for towing his famous ex-Bira ERA Remus to its racing successes.
Besides towing the ERA to events, Douglas Hull also entered the XK in Jaguar race meetings and hill climbs with his brother Peter, as you can see in the pictures. Chris Harvey’s book “The Jaguar XK” shows it racing on page 110.
Here’s a pretty story that was often told in race circles then: one day 6797 N was towing the ERA to the Tholty-Will hill climb in the Isle if Man. The event was marred with torrential rain throughout the meeting. Douglas decided to enter the XK against Patrick’s normally very quick ERA. The XK won the race, because the ERA simply had too much power for the wet road.
The Hull family were keen flyers and members of the Finmere Airfield Vintage Aircraft Club. Bernard Harding, a later owner of the car, was also a member and remembers Douglas Hull keeping the XK at the Airfield next to the hangar containing his Gypsy Moth aeroplane, fondly known as ‘a bag’. It seems that he used the XK to tow the Moth to the runway and back each time he flew.
In 1977 Douglas Hull passed away and the car, now in poor condition, was sold to Bernard Harding, who soon sold it on to Rodney Tolhurst. Rodney kept it standing in his yard until early 1983, when he sold it on to someone he cannot remember. Graham Radcliffe subsequently owned it for 12 years but never moved it an inch. In 1997 Peter Janssen and Jacco Mol brought it to the Netherland, fully restored it and sold it to an unknown buyer around 2002.
The Australian Jaguar Magazine featured the Tow Car in their Issue # 112 in 2003.
While the latest restoration effort did make the car shine, it unfortunately left out an important detail: the tow hook. Without it, the car denies its historical nickname… THE TOW CAR.