Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Jaguar Mk. 10

Size Ten Published: 6th May 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar Mk. 10

Fast Facts

  • Best model: 4.2 manual/overdrive
  • Worst model: 3.8 auto
  • Budget buy: Any
  • OK for unleaded?: Yes
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): 5232mmx1930mm
  • Spares situation: Not as good as Mk2
  • DIY ease?: Ok, but heavy-duty
  • Club support: Good
  • Appreciating asset?: Not yet, but here’s hoping
  • Good buy or good-bye?: Like to say the former…
Interior is even plusher than a Mk2 with rarer harder to track down parts and dearer to restore too. Interior is even plusher than a Mk2 with rarer harder to track down parts and dearer to restore too.
Look for rust here and around window surround. Hard to eradicate and diffi cult to properly repair Look for rust here and around window surround. Hard to eradicate and diffi cult to properly repair
Tons of space – less than 50 roomier limos were also built Tons of space – less than 50 roomier limos were also built
XJ unit is hard pressed in heavyweight – look for over silent tappet, timing chain clatter and rear crank seal oil leaks XJ unit is hard pressed in heavyweight – look for over silent tappet, timing chain clatter and rear crank seal oil leaks
Mk10 was never made in Daimler form but latter limo was made up to '92 so parts supply is not bad at all Mk10 was never made in Daimler form but latter limo was made up to '92 so parts supply is not bad at all
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Designed for the American market, the Mk10/420G was the biggest Jaguar saloon ever made, and now it’s one that’s as classic as any Mk2 or XJ6!

Pros & Cons

Value for money, luxury, E-type prowess, spaciousness, rarity, future classic potential
Acquired taste, many bodged examples, running costs, gigantic size, not half as classy as a Mk2
£1400 to £10,000

Come on, let’s be honest, have you ever considered a Jag Mk10 as an alternative to the iconic Mk2, S-Type or XJ6? Probably not and yet here’s a classic cat that’s as capable and deserving as any of that trio and at prices you simply can’t credit. The question is, does size really matter to you?


MK10 was prime development car for jag’s v12 engine

Aimed squarely at the lucrative US market, the Mk10 was introduced in 1961 and broke away with Jaguar tradition by following Mk1/Mk2 design and ditching the old chassis-framed separate body design in favour on a modern monocoque topped with very sleek clothing that, if truth be told, was as radical as the E-type. However, when compared to the rather Edwardianlooking MkIV it replaced, even at 4171lb, the Mk10 was a good deal heavier and, at well over 16ft long, the largest big cat in existence. Mechanically the Mk10 used a good percentage of E-type in its make up, including those famed XK engines (initially 265bhp 3.8-litre) and that legendary independent rear suspension that survived well into the 1990s.

The cabin was the most lavishly trimmed Jaguar yet but at around £2500 new, it was yet another Jaguar that seemed truly remarkable value for money back then. By 1964 the car gained the torquier 4.2-litre engine (with an alternator), a better all-synchro gearbox and a variable rate Varamatic power steering system in place of the original, lifeless, PAS set up. Potent V8 versions using Daimler’s splendid 4.5-litre V8 taken from the Majestic were experimented with at the time and proved remarkably quick and adept – too much so for Jaguar to consider making one although it has to be remembered that Browns Lane was developing its sensational V12 engine at the time and the MK10 also went shockingly quick when so equipped…

In 1965 the already huge Mk10 gained a special limousine offshoot, although less than 50 were built. The big cat’s last revamp came in 1966 when Jaguar’s fl agship was revised and rebadged the 420G (the outgoing S-Type became the plain 420 with a Mk10-like nose). The dawn of the XJ6 and subsequent longwheelbase versions spelt the end of the 420G, which bowed out at the turn of the decade although the basic design lived on in the stately Daimler DS420 limousines right up until 1992.


At around two tones and the size of a Transit van, the Mk10 is no E-type to push around. You need an awful lot of road space when driving even remotely enthusiastically and it’s not the best Jag in the handling stakes either, being far too – well, American! On the other hand the beast is best as a cruiser par excellence and as good as a Silver Shadow or XJ6. Certainly a good one is as comfy and as cosseting as a Roller. Even with those magnifi cent E-type engines employed, performance from thisbig bruiser is at best adequate (although the Daimler V8 development ones were reputed to have been astonishingly quick…) and because these engines are worked hard, you can expect little more than 16mpg and probably worse as age and mileage has taken its toll on the engine and fuel system. Unlike so many more modern Jags, you can’t really quibble over the cabin space in a Mk10. There’s acres of opulent room to stretch out in genuine Rolls-Royce like luxury and the boot is big too – well for a Jag at least! On a practical note, can you drive a car so big and wide where you live (taking one down a rural road is a bit of an adventure) and what about parking and storage outside the average semi? The answer is perhaps you can, because have you noticed the size of the current Ford Mondeo for example – it’s far bigger than the old Mk4 Zodiac while Vauxhall’s new Vectra replacement is almost as large as an old Land Rover Discovery! So perhaps this fat cat isn’t so big anymore…?


This is the best bit. Because the Jag Mk10 is so overlooked compared to the more fashionable Mk2 and XJ6, prices are almost a joke. Even the best-kept ones will fi nd it impossible to bust the £15,000-£20,000 barrier while less than half this will fund an entirely decent example. Try fi nding a compatible Mk2 for that sort of money! If anything, the earlier Mk10s are valued slightly higher than the fl ashier 420G. As ever, it’s best to buy the best you can afford: because there’s so little worth in this big cat, many have been run and restored on the cheap and are money pits of tomorrow for you to fall into.

What To Look For

  • The Mk 10/420G is a mixture of good and bad news. The former is that because this fat cat provided the mainframe of the Daimler limousines (such as hearses!) right up until 1992, parts and panels are in reasonably supply even from the manufacturers.
  • The bad news is that because these big old Jags are not seen as collectibleand values are low, the vast majority are bodged lash-ups that may look good on the outside, but are real liabilities under all that metal (and plastic fi ller!).
  • Rust has to be the biggest enemy. Start at the fl oorpan and work upwards! Look for signs of serious rot and poor repairs on the fl oor, especially by the front seats, all box sections, jacking points, radiator cross-member and the suspension pick-up points.
  • Despite their size, the front wings appear to last better than other Jags of that period, although the sills can rot badly (but they are well under £20 a side from specialists). Ditto the lower half of the rear wings. Other points to watch are the front and rear aprons, boot lid, door bottoms, fuel tanks and that huge bonnet: the latter should also be checked for alignment.
  • The Mk10 shares a good number of cabin parts with other Jags and holds no real worries so long as the hide is in good shape and that forest of a dashboard is okay. Otherwise you are looking at an expensive restoration job. Some parts, such as those super picnic tables, are particular to the Mk10.
  • Those massive bumpers should be scrutinised for damage and corrosion because refettling all that chromework will prove very expensive.
  • Mechanically the big cat holds few fears as it’s common to any Jaguar of the 1960s. Once again, due to the car’s lack of value watch for bodged repairs.
  • The XK engine is well known and generally durable. Chief wear points are noisy timing chains, over-silent tappets (meaning that they have closed up in service and require re-shimming – a head off job), overheating and signs of coolant stains around the head, spelling gasket failure. Most old XKs leak oil via a failing rear crank oil seal. It’s rarely serious though and usually highlighted by trying to keep the lube topped up to maximum level. More importantly see that the oil pressure is a strong 40-45lb on the gauge at 3000rpm with the engine hot and that there’s no smoking from the exhaust.
  • Transmissions are strong and the optional automatic suits the car well. With manual boxes, watch for a slow change due to weak synchromesh, noisy operation and lazy overdrives units.
  • On such a big car expect to fi nd tired springs and dampers. The E-type independent rear end is fi tted with a number of bushes and these are prone to wear, meaning the subframe needs to be removed – a major job on the driveway. Expect also to fi nd play in the steering system, while PAS systems were never pin sharp anyway.
  • The disc rear brakes are peculiar to the Mk10 being inboard mounted and these can seize, especially the handbrake which – being a Jag – is rarely that effective anyway! Also irregular to this Jaguar are an odd wheel and tyre size (205 x 14) that is becoming extremely hard to source (watch for commercial van tyres fi tted instead: these are okay for the car’s weight, but unsuitable for very high speed cruising). Early XJ6 rims and tyres (15 inch) can be substituted and are fi ne, although the car rides a tad higher.

Three Of A Kind

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
Like the Mk10, the Silver Shadow dragged its maker into the 20th Century and today they make exceptional value buys – if you buy a good one. Pre ’70 cars can feel strangely ponderous; T2s after ’76 drive the best. Bentley T Series a somewhat classier option, but all excel with their refi nement, craftsmanship and sheer sense of occasion. Not as dear to run as you’d fi rst image and there are even specialist breakers around to contain costs.
American cars
American cars
It’s diffi cult to select one particular Yank Tank of that era so we’ve grouped them all together… Caddys, Chevrolets, Lincolns, the range is massive and all match the Jaguar for size and appointments. The cat licks them all for handling dynamics however, but Yanks are super simple to run and most are well supported for spares and stuff across both side’s of the pond. Can be cheap, but most will be left-hand drive.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin Lagonda
If you are after a big and brash Brit, then Aston’s square Lagonda is almost the spiritual successor to the Jag. Based upon a stretched DBS platform with V8 grunt and futuristic interior, the Lagonda is greedy and gaudy but still great value for money. Not cheap to run or maintain but there are dedicated specialists around to help. Has to be the cheapest way to own an Aston and who knows, like all DBs, their day may well come…


Grace Pace and Space or an oversized fat cat that verges on the vulgar? Well it’s all of the above but also fantastic value for money and a Coventry cat on the cusp of being a full fat classic. Yes, it’s more a substitute for a typical Yank tank or as a poor man’s Roller, but the Mk10 is also a good alternative to the Mk2 or XJ6 being equally accomplished for a lot less cash. Mark our words – the Mk10 has a big future ahead of it in the classic world. So buy now while they offer so much for so little.

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine
Britians top classic cars bookazine