Return to The Jaguar Car
The Jaguar company started production with the pre-war 1.5, 2.5 and
3.5 Litre models which used engines designed by the Standard Motor
Company. The 1.5 Litre four-cylinder engine was still supplied by
Standard but the two larger six-cylinder ones were made in house.
These cars have become known unofficially as the Mark IV's.
The first post war model was the 1948 Mark V available with either 2.5
or 3.5 Litre engines and had a more streamlined appearance than the
pre-war models, but more important was the change to independent
front suspension and hydraulic brakes.
The big breakthrough was the launch in 1948 of the XK120 sports car
with the new XK twin-overhead-camshaft, 3.5 litre, six-cylinder engine
designed by William Heynes and Claude Bailey. This car had originally
been intended as a short production model of about 200 vehicles as a
test bed for the new engine until its intended home, the new Mark VII
saloon was ready. The XK120's reception was such that production
continued until 1954 and it was followed by the XK140, XK150 and
E-Type models, keeping Jaguar in the sports car market.
Introducing the large Mark VII Saloon in 1951, a car especially
conceived for the American Market, Jaguar soon found itself
overwhelmed with orders. The Mark VII and its successors gathered
rave reviews from magazines such as Road & Track and Motor. In 1956
a Jaguar Mark VII won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally.
The 1955 Mark 1 small saloon was the first monocoque (unibody) car
from Jaguar and used a 2.4 Litre short stroke version of the XK engine.
In 1959, the car was improved with a larger engine and wider windows
and became the Mark 2, one of the most recognizable Jaguar models
The Mark VIII of 1956 and Mark IX of 1958 were essentially updates of
the Mark VII but the Mark X of 1961 was a completely new design of
large saloon with all round independent suspension and unibody
The independent rear suspension from the Mark X was incorporated in
the 1963 S-Type which closely resembled the Mark 2, and in 1967 the
Mark 2 name was dropped when the small saloon became the 240/340
range. The 420 of 1966, also sold as the Daimler Sovereign, put a new
front onto the S-type, although both cars continued in parallel until the
S-Type was dropped in 1968. The Mark X became the 420G in 1966.
Of the more recent saloons, the most significant is the XJ
(1968-present), still the definitive Jaguar saloon car for many. Since
1968 the Series I XJ has seen major changes in 1973 (to Series II),
1979 (Series III), 1986 [Europe] / 1987 [United States] (XJ40), 1995
(X300), 1997 (to the V-8 powered X308), 2003 (the present model,
X350). The most luxurious XJ models carry either the Vanden Plas or
Jaguar Heaven © 2004