1954 Jaguar Mk VII home-time

By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

She’s been with us in the workshops for sometime now but today we bid farewell to our 1954 Jaguar Mk VII.

Looking beautiful and fresh, the car is now ready to be driven and enjoyed, hopefully to have many many more years out on the country roads.

Source: Lancaster Insurance – the Jaguar Mk VII at 70

Over 70 years ago, Jaguar introduced a large saloon that epitomised the famous slogan ‘Grace, Space, Pace’. Here are some useful facts.

  1. Jaguar kept the Mk. VII a secret until its debut at Grosvenor House on 16th October 1950.
  2. The sales material claimed the Mk. VII was ‘An entirely new car of unparalleled beauty’ – and it was undoubtedly a star of Earls Court -The Mk. VII replaced the Mk. V; there was no “Jaguar Mk. VI” as the name was registered to Bentley.
  3. The XK120 was intended as the test-bed for the Mk. VII’s 3442cc DOHC straight-six engine.
  4. The initial price was £1,693, which included adjustable steering, a sliding roof, fog lamps, and (naturally) leather upholstery.
  5. The top speed was a shade over 100 mph – an astounding achievement for the period.
  6. On 25th April 1952 Autocar magazine concluded the Mk. VII was an outstanding car. It has extremely good performance, is very comfortable to drive and to ride in, is very completely equipped, has a modern yet dignified appearance and is very good value – indeed, it is in that respect phenomenal.
  7. 1952 saw the Mk.VII became the first Jaguar available with Borg Warner automatic transmission; albeit on export models only.
  8. Laycock de Normanville overdrive became an optional extra in 1954.
  9. Stirling Moss drove a Mk. VII to victory at the 1952 and 1953 International Trophy Production Touring Car race at Silverstone. Ian Appleyard equalled this feat in 1954.
  10. In September 1954 the Mk. VII was facelifted as the Mk. VIIM, featuring externally mounted auxiliary lamps, improved transmission and flashing indicators.
  11. Automatic transmission was now available on the home market, and Autocar of 11th May 1956 descried the Borg Warner-equipped Jaguar as ‘a happy marriage’.
  12. Famous Mk. VII owners included Diana Dors, Jack Hawkins, Peter Sellers and HM The Queen Mother.
  13. Browns Lane fitted their Mk. VII test-car, registration KRW 621, with lightweight magnesium body panels, disc brakes, modified suspension and the D-Type
  14. The Jaguar crewed by Ronnie Adams, Frank Biggar and Derek Johnstone took first place at the 26th Monte Carlo Rally in 1956.
  15. Later that year, the Mk. VIII made its bow at the London Motor Show.
  16. As compared with its predecessor, the latest model sported a single-piece windscreen and a choice of two-tone paint finishes. The 3.4-litre engine now sported a modified “B-Type” cylinder head. Jaguar also enhanced the list of equipment, and the automatic version even boasted a clock for the rear passengers.
  17. In 1958, the Mk. IX featured the famous 3.8-litre engine and – “firsts” for a Jaguar – power-assisted steering and all-disc brakes as standard.
  18. Motor Sport described the Mk. IX as: the business executive’s ideal motor-car, handsome, impressive, able to hurry to the tune of 0-60 mph in under 19 secs and a top speed of over 115 mph when called upon, yet luxuriously and sensibly appointed and equipped.
  19. British films frequently used the Mk. VII family as screen getaway cars into the early 1960s – perhaps most famously in The Fast Lady.
  1. The Mk. X replaced the Mk. IX in October 1961 – by which time the previous generation of “Big Jaguars” had re-defined an entire market sector.
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