The cars we experience as kids can have profound effects on us as adults. You can probably remember the first cool car you ever saw, or a favorite model, or if you're younger, the best choice in a racing game. The first sports car Jay Leno ever sat in was a Jaguar XK120. An XK120 was the first sports car he bought when he could afford it, and he's got it to this day.
Leno's XK120 is a white example from 1954, which he bought back in 1982—he thinks the only car he's owned longer is a 1955 Buick Roadmaster he used as a daily-driver. So clearly he loves the thing, and, well, wouldn't you? The XK120 was one of the greatest sports cars of its time, and it still looks gorgeous today.
This XK120 has been modified with a 3.8-liter straight-six from a later Jaguar, which provides a bit more power, but a similar character to the original 3.4-liter. Leno thinks it's one of the best-sounding sports cars of all time, and it's hard to disagree.
Leno notes that the XK120 has always been a sort of people's exotic—it wasn't as expensive as a Ferrari or a Maserati in its day, but it offered similar performance and good looks. He notes that the prices are still fairly reasonable today, especially compared to its rarer Italian competition. XK120s routinely cross the $150,000 mark, but we found . That's a lot, but good luck finding any running 1954 Ferrari for that sort of money.