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Jaguar Mk. 10

The Big Times Published: 14th Jul 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): L 5131mm x W 1930
  • 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?: Grossly overlooked Jag
XK engine is essentially same as E-type but lower compression (top). XK engine is essentially same as E-type but lower compression (top).
MK10 has luxury details that would do a Rolls proud MK10 has luxury details that would do a Rolls proud
Not quite E-type sleek but eye-catching Not quite E-type sleek but eye-catching
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When it comes to sheer size and metal for your money then nothing can beat the mighty Mk10 – the overlooked, underrated Jaguar that’s almost as good as an XJ6

Pros & Cons

Great value and luxury, E-type prowess, spaciousness, rarity, future classic potential
Acquired taste, many bodged examples, gigantic size and running costs, perhaps too vulgar for some?

Does size matter? Well, it probably depends what you’re talking about… but if you’re after a classic car that offers the most metal for your money, then few can match the biggest cat of them all – the Mk10. It was launched in same year as the E-type, but there will be very few birthday bashes for this leviathan limo, and that’s sad because in many ways the Mk10 was like an E-type saloon.


Aimed squarely at the lucrative Stateside market, the Mk10 was introduced in March 1961, just a few months before the E-type. It broke away from Jaguar tradition, by following the Mk1/Mk2 design and ditching the old chassis-framed separate body design, in favour on a modern monocoque topped very sleek clothing, that was as radical and desirable as the E-type. This Jaguar became the widest production car ever produced in the UK – it was only surpassed when Browns Lane produced the limited-run XJ220 supercar 30 years later! 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, it was also the size of a small lorry. Mechanically, the Jag Mk10 used a good percentage of E-type in its make-up, including those famed XK engines (initially the 265bhp 3.8-litre) and that legendary independent rear suspension that survived well into the 1990s. The cabin was the most lavishly trimmed Jaguar interior yet, but at around £2500 new, it was yet another Jaguar that seemed truly remarkable value for money back then. A square-style ashtray and a standard heated rear screen were the changes for ’62, while a new larger brake pedal for automatics and a centre boss horn to complement the ring made the news a year later. By 1964, after less than 13,000 had been made, the car gained the torquier 4.2-litre engine (with an alternator), and better all-synchro gearbox that the E-type now boasted. The Mk10 also received a variable-rate, Varamatic, power steering systemin place of the original, lifeless, PAS set up. This was essential for this big heavy fat cat, plus an improved heater was also added. 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! 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 as the 420G (the outgoing S-Type became the plain420 with a Mk10-like nose – another underrated Jag that lives in the shadow of the Mk2). Air conditioning was now made available and, that December, the standard MK10 was discontinued in favour of the 420G. The dawn of the XJ6, and subsequent long wheel base versions, spelt the end of the 420G, which bowed out at the turn of the decade (not before the Mk10 gained the brake servo from the XJ6). However, the basic design lived on in the stately Daimler DS420 limousines right up until 1992. A total of 24,175 big cats were sired by Jaguar, the majority being the 3.8 (12,961). The 4.2/420G were evenly split.


At around two tons, and the size of a Transit van, the Mk10 is no E-type to push around – at any speed. You need an awful to of road space when driving enthusiastically and in all honesty 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 a cosseting and gracious as a Roller and a lot more sporting. Even with those magnifi cent triple carb E-type engines employed, pace from this big bruiser is at best adequate these days (0-60mph in 10 secs) and, because these engines are worked bloody 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 – well, for a Jag at least! On a practical note, consider whether you would be able to drive a car that’s larger than a Ford Galaxy MPV (and so wide) where you live and as for parking and storage outside the average semi, might that also be a problem? Having said that, the current Ford Mondeo, for example, is far bigger than the old Mk4 Zodiac, while Vauxhall’s new Vectra replacement is almost as large as an old Land Rover Discovery! The Mk10 is now within an inch of the previous generationXJ saloon and practically the same height, so perhaps it’s not such a fat cat anymore.


This is the best bit. Because the 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 thanhalf this will fund an entirely decent and usable 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 right from the start. Because there’s so little worth in this big cat, many have been run and restored on the cheap and are potential money pits for you to fall into. Keep your feet planted!

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 – such as wings, frontals, inner panels, fl oors and trim remain in decent supply, even from the manufacturers.
  • The bad news is that, because these big old Jags are not seen as collectible and of low value, the vast majority are bodged lash-ups that may look good on the outside but are real liabilities under all that metal (and fi ller!).
  • Rust has to be the biggest fear. Start at the floorpan and work upwards! Look for signs of serious rot and poor repairs on the floor, especially by the front seats, all box sections, jacking points, radiator cross-member and 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 (although 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 Mk 10 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 veritable 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 car.
  • 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 components are 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, oversilent 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 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 good and 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.
  • 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 sizes (205 x 14) that are 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 as a result.

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 land a good one. Pre ’70 cars can feel strangely ponderous; T2s after ’76 drive the best. Bentley T Series a somewhat classier option. 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, but Yanks are super simple to run and most are well supported for spares and stuff across the pond. Can be cheap to buy too 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-cut Lagonda is almost the spiritual successor to the Jag. Based upon a DBS platform, with V8 grunt and futuristic interior, the Lagonda is greedy and gaudy but still great value. Not cheap to own but there are dedicated specialists around to help. It 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 really, but always fantastic value for money and a Coventry cat on the cusp of being a true classic we reckon. We’d sooner have one on the drive instead of a typical Yank tank! The Mk10 is also a good alternative tothe Mk2 or XJ6, being equally accomplished for a lot less cash. Mark our words – the Mk10 is worth considering if you fancy making a big impression in every sense of the word.

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