Justin Hills is taking his 1953 Jaguar XK120 to the US and the UK

On tour: Justin Hills, pictured with Mark Yannopoulo, is heading off to the United States and United Kingdom with his 1953 Jaguar XK120. Photo: Scott Calvin.
On tour: Justin Hills, pictured with Mark Yannopoulo, is heading off to the United States and United Kingdom with his 1953 Jaguar XK120. Photo: Scott Calvin.

It's amazing what one car modified in our own backyard can do on the world's stage.

Justin Hills, from Hills and Co Customs and Auto Restoration, has modified, tweaked and reconstructed a 1953 Jaguar XK120 to the point where it could soon be recognised as one of the best historical cars on the planet.

All this done in Taree on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

Justin has received many plaudits via the Jaguar.

He was awarded the David Brabham award at the Sydney Lindsay House Concours d'Elegance in March.

Thrilled to receive the award, Justin said it was just the beginning of a flow-on effect of good news.

"That was cool but it was just the start of it," Justin said.

He will now take his prized vehicle overseas to feature in two high-class international car shows.

"These are two major events in the world," Justin explained.

The first stop will be in the United States at the Quail Lodge Car Show in California in one week's time.

"It's so prestigious," Justin said. "It's quite an honour just to put an application in.

"Cars must been assessed before applications can be accepted."

Come early September, he'll jet off to the United Kingdom for a show at Blenheim Palace.

In what will surely make motoring enthusiasts green with envy, Justin will also visit the home of Jaguar founder, Sir William Lyons.

He'll take part in a photo shoot with the car outside of the famed Jaguar Stately Home.

Before leaving the country, Justin received news the car was shortlisted for the Bespoke Car of the Year at the 2019 Historic Motoring Awards.

To give you an idea of the standard, last year's winner was used in the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

With many more exciting projects about to be started, things are really exciting in the near future

Justin Hills, car restorer

From its stylistic black shine to period correct alterations, it's evident many hours of labour and love have been poured into the vehicle.

Justin believes it's one of the first Jaguars of its kind to be modified.

"We've done lots of modifications on it, it's got things like a new engine and I've chopped down the roof," Justin said.

"It's a style that could have been done back in the day if they wanted to go with a racing design."

Under the hood lies a glorious V12 engine.

The restoration work even has the endorsement from legendary Jaguar director of design turned consultant Ian Callum. That's quite the seal of approval.

"He's approved what we've done and we hope to meet him over there (United Kingdom)," Justin said.

While most people would be hesitant to jump in the front seat in fear of causing the slightest hint of damage, Justin has had no problem in pulling up the roller door and taking it for a spin on the streets of Taree.

Justin's possession of the car will soon come to an end. While in Sydney, Justin met a collector who agreed to purchase it.

"It had only been off the truck for an hour," he smiled.

Justin will hand over the keys when his 'world tour' is finished.

If the Jaguar hasn't taken up enough time in 2019, Justin has completed a full body restoration on a historic 1948 Daimler.

This car was used by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the 1953 tour of Australia.

It's heading straight for the national museum of Australia and will be unveiled later this month.

All these high profile jobs in the last few years landed Justin the opportunity to be filmed by a television company.

He indicated negotiations are underway with a major television network in the United States for a program.

What is certain however is Justin's undisputed status as one of the world's leading vintage vehicle restorers.

"With many more exciting projects about to be started, things are really exciting in the near future," Justin said.

To check out more information and to view Justin other classic car projects, such as a 1960 Dodge Phoenix, a 1967 Eleanor Fastback and 1949 Buick Fastback Super, visit Hills and Co's website.