Jaguar Mark VII

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Jaguar Mark VII
Jaguar Mark VII M
Jaguar Mark VII Saloon 1954.jpg
Manufacturer Jaguar Cars
Production 1950–1956
30,969 produced[1]
Body and chassis
Class Large luxury car
Body style 4-door saloon
Engine 3442 cc I6 ,
160 bhp (119.3 kW)
3442 cc I6,
190 bhp (141.7 kW)
Wheelbase 120 in (3,048 mm) [2]
Length 196.5 in (4,991 mm) [3]
Width 73 in (1,854 mm) [3]
Curb weight 3,696 lb (1,676 kg) MarK VII
3,724 lb (1,689 kg) MarK VII M
Predecessor Jaguar Mark V
Successor Jaguar Mark VIII

The Jaguar Mark VII is a large four-door luxury car produced by Jaguar Cars of Coventry from 1951 to 1956. Launched at the 1950 London Motor Show as the successor to the Jaguar Mark V, it was called the Mark VII because there was already a Bentley Mark VI on the market. A version of the Jaguar Mark V with the XK engine had been designated as the Mark VI, but it is thought that only two were built.[2] The Mark VII achieved several successes in racing and rallying.

Jaguar Mark VII 1950–1954[edit]

The Mark VII chassis came from the Jaguar Mark V and the wheelbase remained the same at (10 feet (3,048.0 mm)). The new model's body looked more streamlined, with integrated headlights and mudguards, a two-piece windscreen, and longer rear overhang. As on the Mark V, the rear wheels were partially covered by removable spats.

Whereas the Mark V had a prewar engine originally developed by the Standard Motor Company, the Mark VII was powered by the newly developed XK engine. First seen in production form in the 1948 XK120,[4] the 3442 cc straight-six provided 160 bhp (119.3 kW), the same as in the XK120, and the saloon's claimed top speed was over 100 mph (160 km/h).

When the car was being developed Jaguar thought it would find most of its customers overseas, mainly because UK car tax at that time penalised buyers of larger-engined cars. However it went into production just as Britain's postwar economic austerity began to ease, and in 1951 the car's enthusiastic reception in both the British and American markets prompted Jaguar to relocate production to larger premises, at the Browns Lane plant, which had been built for wartime production as a shadow factory and was now available for immediate use.[4]

The published performance figures for the Mark VII were based on the standard 8:1 compression ratio, but as this was unsuitable for the UK market's low-octane Pool petrol a 7:1 engine was optional.[5] British motoring magazines tested the car's performance with the higher compression ratio, using the Ostend to Brussels autoroute in Belgium, where 80 octane fuel was available.[5] A Mark VII tested by The Motor in 1952 had a top speed of 101 mph (163 km/h), accelerated from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.7 seconds and returned 17.6 miles per imperial gallon (16.1 L/100 km; 14.7 mpg-US). The test car cost £1693 including taxes.[3]

By the time the Mark VII was upgraded to M specification in 1954, 20,908 had been produced.[1]

Jaguar Mark VII M 1954–1956[edit]

The Mark VII M was launched at the London Motor Show in October 1954. Although the engine continued with the same capacity and 8:1 compression ratio, it was uprated to 190 bhp (141.7 kW), giving the car a claimed top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h).

The four-speed manual gearbox was standard, while the Borg Warner automatic, introduced in 1953 and hitherto available only on exported Mark VIIs, now became optional for British buyers.

Jaguar Mk VII M

Distinguishing the Mark VII M from its predecessor, circular grilles over the horns were installed below the headlights in place of the former integrated auxiliary lamps, which were moved slightly further apart and mounted on the bumper.[6] Both bumpers now wrapped further around the sides of the car.[6]

In 1956, with the advent of the Suez Crisis Britain anticipated fuel rationing, and bubble cars appeared on the streets. Jaguar switched focus to their smaller saloons (the Mark I 2.4 had been introduced in 1955), and neither the Mark VII M nor any of its increasingly powerful but fuel-thirsty successors would match the production volumes of the original Jaguar Mark VII. Nevertheless, before it was superseded by the Mark VIII, the Mark VII M achieved 10,061 sales during its two-year production run.[1]

Racing and rallying[edit]

Both variants of the Mark VII competed in saloon car races driven by Stirling Moss and others,[7] and an M version won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956.[8]

Entered by the factory, they won the Daily Express International Trophy Production Touring Car race at Silverstone four years running, twice taking the top three places. Moss was the winning driver in 1952 and 1953; Ian Appleyard in 1954 with Tony Rolt and Stirling Moss 2nd and 3rd; Mike Hawthorn won in 1955, from his teammates Jimmy Stewart and Desmond Titterington in 2nd and 3rd; and Ivor Bueb in 1956, with the French journalist and racing driver Paul Frère 4th.

In 1954 Jaguar constructed a lightweight Mark VII M, road-registered KRW 621, using magnesium body panels, D-type engine, Dunlop disc brakes and modified suspension. Although built as a competition car, it never participated in contemporary events.[9]

The winner of the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally was a Mark VII M driven by Ronnie Adams, Frank Biggar, Derek Johnstone.[10]

In August 1956, Paul Goldsmith won the NASCAR Grand National race at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, in a Jaguar Mk., VII sedan with a winning speed of 59.2 mph. [1]


  • Schrader, Halwart: Typenkompass Jaguar - Personenwagen seit 1931, Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart (2001), ISBN 3-613-02106-4
  • Stertkamp, Heiner: Jaguar - Die komplette Chronik von 1922 bis heute, 2. Auflage, Heel-Verlag (2006), ISBN 3-89880-337-6


  1. ^ a b c Sedgwick, Michael; Gillies (1993). A–Z of cars 1945–1970. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  2. ^ a b Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Jaguar Mark VII saloon". The Motor. 16 April 1952. 
  4. ^ a b "The Lyons share - interview with WL". Motor: 18–21. 19 February 1972. 
  5. ^ a b "Jaguar Mark VII Saloon (road test) Autocar road tests compendium (1952)". 1952. 
  6. ^ a b "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist. 6 Nbr 68: 768–769. April 1960. 
  7. ^ Stone, Matt (January 24, 2011). "Classic Drive: 1955 Jaguar Mark VII M". Motor Trend. Source Interlink Media. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Georgano (Ed), G N (1968). The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motorcars 1885–1968. London: Ebury Press. 
  9. ^ Classic Cars magazine, April 2013
  10. ^ "Ronnie Adams". The Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group Ltd). April 17, 2004. Retrieved March 5, 2014.