Keno family 1938 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster speeds to auction


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Leslie and Leigh Keno with their family's beloved 1938 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster 3 1/2 litre during the 1,000-mile Louis Vuitton China Run in 1998. (Great Wall of China in the background).

BLENHEIM, Ont. –  American antiques experts, authors and television hosts Leigh and Leslie Keno are no strangers to the spotlight, regularly sharing their expertise with the American public as furniture appraisers on the popular television series Antiques Roadshow. This August, it will be their family’s beloved 1938 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster 3 1/2 litre taking center stage as it is offered without reserve at the highly anticipated Sports & Classics of Monterey auction in California, presented by preeminent international auction house RM Auctions.

A cherished part of the family for over 40 years, the beloved Keno Family Jaguar, chassis number 39037, was purchased by Ron Keno in 1969; Ron’s twin sons, Leigh and Leslie, were just 12 at the time. However, as soon as they were old enough they had full access to their dad’s rare British sports car, using it for everything from impressing prom dates and friends during their college years to driving it in various vintage racing events.

Though its seasons have been short – the car has spent much of the past 40 years at the family property in Mohawk, N.Y., where it has only been driven during the summer and fall – it is perhaps one of the world’s best-traveled SS 100s. The previous owner shipped it to the U.S. from Scotland, and in 1998 the Keno twins took it on the 1,000-mile Louis Vuitton China Run, passing such famous sights as the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Additionally, it has enjoyed various cameos on Antiques Roadshow.

Whilst it will be no doubt bittersweet to part with the car at the August auction, for it holds a treasure chest of memories for the family, the Kenos look forward to passing it on to another passionate motoring enthusiast for their driving pleasure.

“We grew up in this car and absolutely love it,” says Leigh Keno. “But we have others and the reality is that this one is a family car – we can’t just cut it up into pieces so everyone can still have it. We hope it brings the next owner as much joy and adventure as it has to us,” he adds.

A longstanding summer tradition for vintage car collectors and enthusiasts from around the world, RM’s Sports & Classics of Monterey event was the first and original auction held during the famous Monterey Classic Car week. Now in its 24th year, it is still regarded as the ‘heartbeat’ of the annual motoring week festivities and one of the largest auction events of its kind.

This year’s event is set to offer over 200 collector cars for auction, with something to appeal to all automotive tastes. Other notable consignments set to join the beloved Keno family Jaguar on the auction block include: a rare 1952 Jaguar C-Type Sports Racer, the first delivered to the United States and driven by the legendary, late Phil Hill – then just 25 – in the 1952 Sheldon Cup to claim the first C-Type victory in North America; a historic 1931 Miller V16 Racing Car, the only V16 Miller built and boasting a fascinating tale of survival; a champion 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 ‘Scuderia Filipinetti’ Le Mans Racing car, one of the most successful Corvette racing cars in history; a stunning 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Murphy Convertible Coupe boasting a fascinating provenance including a transfer of ownership involving unsettled U.S. Navy sailors’ bar tabs in Mallorca, Spain; and no less than 26 milestone Ferraris, including a sleek 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder, formerly owned by legendary LA Lakers player and coach Jerry West.

Also set to cross the block at the event will be a magnificent series of pre- and postwar Ford and Mercury wood-bodied station wagons from the distinguished private collection of Mr. Nick Alexander, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Midland School of Santa Barbara, Calif., along with a factory-original 2005 Ford GT supercar, which will be offered on behalf of the Ford Motor Company with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

RM Auctions’ Sports & Classics of Monterey auction event will be held Aug. 13-15 at the Portola Hotel and Spa and Monterey Conference Center, in Monterey, Calif. Admission to the three-day event is $40 per person, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge. An auction catalog is available for an additional $100 U.S., including shipping and handling within North America.

For further information, call 800-211-4371 (within North America) or +1 519 352 4575 or visit www.rmauctions.com.

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