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Jaguar MK1

Jaguar MK1 Published: 7th Feb 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar MK1
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After living in the shadow of the iconic Mk2 for virtually all of its life, there’s been something of a sea change in attitudes towards the car over recent years to the point where values have positively prospered, and not stagnated as in the case of the Mk2 meaning price parity across the ranges. The significance of the ‘Mk1’ in Jaguar’s history can’t be overstressed and that’s why it’s more a classic than the Mk2.


A good Mk1 is a delight to drive, although the 2.4 feels sedate the 3.4-litre however is a completely different animal with a genuine 120mph possible. Jaguar had the temerity to fit drum brakes on the early 3.4s – many duly converted!

Handling can be curious to say the least, especially if the original style cross-ply tyres are fitted – a rarity. Modern radials make a huge improvement and to most mortals, the Mk1’s infamous narrow rear axle is just something only read about in the motoring press. It’s only when really pressing on in damp conditions that the driver becomes aware of the waggly tail although any step out of line is easily cured with a little opposite lock. In period, Jaguar offered off-set competition wheels for the rear and this pretty much put things right. Curiously, the thick door frames afford less wind noise than the later Mk2 although the later car is more comfortable.


The days of picking up a cheap Mk1 are long gone and you won’t get much of a car to cherish under £20,000. Indeed, pampered pussies breach £30,000 and 50 grand is not unknown for the more desirable 3.4 and six figures for concours will follow. Because of this, watch for converted 2.4s; fine if done correctly but many aren’t and so may have the wrong gearing etc – this goes for autos switched to manual transmission.


1955 2.4 Saloon launched with monocoque construction and down-sized 3.4-litre engine to 2483cc, tied to four-speed transmission with optional overdrive

1956 Altered rear axle mounting bushes to cure creaking noise and welding up Panhard Rod on to stop from fracturing. Longer front springs and altered rear axle ratios while overdrive models gained closer intermediates for better performance

1957 3.4: Essentially it’s the XK140 engine; car is identified by its narrower slat radiator grille to aid cooling and cut-away rear wheel spats. Later that year, Dunlop disc brakes become an option on all models plus larger servo for drum braked versions.

1958 Automatic versions launched, rear suspension retuned on 3.4

Best models


This is the top cat in Mk1 circles with residuals to prove it with manual/ overdrive examples to the prize pick; easy to pay over the odds though


2.4s uprated to (Mk2) 133bhp 240 spec and/or conveted to 3.4 can be goodb ets if done right but latter won’t hold same values of a true 3.4


If you find a standard 2.4 keep original. Yes, performance is sedate but the 2.4 is the creamiest XK engine of the lot and fine for cruising

Top five faults


Supply isn’t as plentiful as they are for a Mk2 so be prepared to scout round more for what you need, making restos harder and pricier. Mk1 used parts particular to the car that didn’t even find their way onto the Mk2


Rot attacks the floorpan, bulkheads, rear suspension pick up points and the famous ‘crow’s feet’ by the front valance. All these areas are MoT points so check carefully for proper repairs


Solex carbs are dear to overhaul and while not original, it’s popular to fit later ‘E-type’ cylinder head and twin SUs as found on the 240. That said, you’ll find that most 2.4s have been upgraded to 3.4-litres – but has it been done properly with the correct gearing employed, and so on?


There’s even more wood to preserve in a Mk1 so expect to face big bills for a full-on resto: £2000 for the dashboard alone


Timing chain and tensioners can be overlooked. The bottom one is worst to replace although it can be done at home

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