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The Jaguar Motor Company

The Jaguar Histroy and Heritage - Part 2

"There are lots of ways an Approved Used Jaguar can make you feel good. Naturally, there´s the sheer pleasure of owning one of the most desirable cars on the road. But there´s also the peace of mind that comes from knowing your car". This is a quote from the official Jaguar UK website.

Jaguar Car Gap Insurance by Click4Gap.co.ukIn 1950 the Mk7 featured the XK120 engine. It was the first saloon to be powered by the XK engine. To begin with, its production was stateside, due to the UK governments want of bringing in money from overseas to help the recovery of the British economy after the war. Production had expanded & a new site was required. An ex-Daimler aero engine factory was acquired & this is where Jaguar offices are still to this day. A Borg Warner auto box became an option in 1953, mainly following demand from US customers. In 1955 power was upped from 160bhp to 190bhp, and the model renamed the MkVIIM. More changes in 1957 came about with the MkVIII, an updated version of the MkVII, one being a single pieced curved windscreen. Two years later the last of the revisions were made, and the MkIX was born. This now had the 3.8 litre XK engine, power steering, and disc brakes front and rear. The Mk9 lasted for two more years, after which the Mk10 took place. 

Also in 1950, Lyons and the new racing manager 'Lofty' England unofficially supported 3 privateer XK120s at Le Mans & discovered what the potential that competition successes could do for the road range. So a tubular spaceframe chassis was designed by Heynes, the bodywork by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, formerly of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. For the 24 heurs du mans, three cars were entered, two retired, but the remaining car won, Road range versions of the C-Type had to be produced in order to comply with the Le Mans regs. In 1952 Jaguar fitted bonnets with a smaller air intake, all the cars retired with serious overheating problems. In 1953 Jaguar were back at La Sarthe. The cars now being built from lighter gauge tubing, and disc braking to all four corners. All three cars finished in 1st, 2nd, and 4th places. After this success, Heynes and co. started on a replacement for the C-Type. The new car would be based on the 3.4 engine in the C, upgraded to 240bhp, and featured a new aerodynamic bodywork, an integral cockpit & front subframe. Three cars entered the '54 Le Mans race, but were defeated by the 4.9 sports racer from Ferrari. Its power was increased to 270bhp in a bid to match the Ferrari, and the longnose bonnet fitted. It won the '55 race. In 1956 both works and privateer D-Types were back at Le Mans. Two of the factory D-Types crashed, another finished in 6th. The race however was won by a non-works D entered by Ecurie Ecosse of Edinburgh. After this result, Jaguar withdrew from competition, but provided unofficial backing for Ecurie Ecosse in 1957. These cars finished first and second, with French and Belgian entries in third and fourth. Jaguar had now made their mark for producing very successful, sports racing cars. 

Small sales for the road range D-Type meant that in 1957, Jaguar modified the existing D-Types they had unsold and re-marketed them as the XKSS. Few were sold, more were destroyed in a fire in the factory during 1957. In the end, only 16 cars were sold, 12 of which went to the US & Canada. 

Jaguar didn't have a medium size saloon in their range, one smaller than the Mk7. In 1956 the Mark 1 was brought out, engined by the XK straight six, but a smaller 2.4 litres. It was Jaguars first chassis-less construction. Interiors were trimmed to the excellent Jaguar standard, the exterior coachwork beautifully sculpted. In '57 a 3.4 litre version was introduced, top end speed from 100mph to 120mph. Next, disc brakes (Dunlop) featured. The Mk1 remained in production until 1960, after which approx 27,000 Mk1s had been built. The Mk2 replaced it, to become the most sought-after Jaguar saloons. 

In 1954, the XK140, was founded on the 120 but now came with rack and pinion steering, and revisions to trim and chromework. The 140 continued until 1957, when the re-designed XK150 was introduced. The wing line was much higher on the new car, and again grilles and trim were changed too. Initially the 150 only had the 3.4 engine, but the option of 3.8 power was offered in 1959 alongside the 3.4 model. Higher performance cylinder heads was available to order. The early XK150s were bodied either as fixed or drophead coupes, and in 1958 a 2 seater roadster was added.. By the end of the 1950s, it was apparent that the XK line would not continue. Most of the 9000 XK150s built went stateside. 

Based on the earlier 'Mark 1', the Mark 2 sharpened the lines and brought a style that was missing on the earlier models. The chunky window frames disappeared a larger glass area replaced them. The rear axle track was widened, the wheels filling the arches . Dunlop disc brakes now also featured. Three engine sizes were available - 2.4, 3.4, and the 3.8, all XK engines. So few changes to the Mk2 were made. 

In 1968 the brand new XJ was introduced, the Mk2 became second best. The 2.4 was now the 240, the 3.4 now known as 340. The final Mk2, the 240, finished in 1969. Also based on the Mk2 bodyshell was the Daimler V8 250. This was aimed at customers that were now under Jaguar's wing following their takeover of the historic marque in 1960. This car was powered by an all-alloy V8 of 2.5 litres. Most came with auto boxes although some were manual equipped. 

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We continue our Jaguar article in Part III

Jaguar Car Gap Insurance by Click4Gap.co.uk

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the Click4Group unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.