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Jaguar MKVII, MKVIII, MKIX Published: 3rd Feb 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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● Classy nature ● Sporty performance ● Good rolls alternative

In brief

If you think that a Rolls or Bentley is too stuffy and pompus but fancy a slice of luxury 50’s style then Jaguar’s latest cats fit the bill nicely. The MkVII-IX have all the style and substance of the Crewe classics and similar luxury and comfort, the difference is that the Coventry car also serves up a surprisingly sporting drive, as you might expect from the company that gave us the XK sportsters of that era.


In their day these big cats won races and rallies, proving that you don’t need to have a Mk2 to have fun although, as you’d expect, they aren’t half as agile or wieldy. But compared to a Silver Cloud, for instance, they are in another league, helped by that iconic and lively 3.4-litre XK engine.

Interestingly, despite the car’s size and weight, braking has never been an issue; whether they are early drums or later discs, all systems are efficient enough and can easily be uprated. Power steering only came around with the MVIII and is a must for most. There’s heaps of room inside – and how often can you say that about a Jag? – for up to six if the bench front seat is fitted as in the case with automatics, of which most are although manual with overdrive was offered and can help fuel returns which can be of V12 E-type proportions although gentle cruising may see up to 20mpg if you pussyfoot around.

Best models

This range of post-war Jaguars ran up to 1961 and in total 47,190 were made, and the vast majority went Stateside. The revised MkVIIM is the better option due to repositioned auxiliary lamps, flashing indicators instead of semaphores plus simplified bumpers front and rear. There’s also a more powerful 3.4-litre engine (190bhp) with closer stacked gearbox ratios to suit together plus a firmer suspension.

Best of the breed is the MkIX as it comes with standard power steering, disc brakes all round and the 3.8-litre XK engine destined for the E-type although condition counts the most as these Jags can be easily uprated to later specifications if required.


Values of these Jaguars have climbed significantly in recent years – especially at the top end. The best examples are now touching £50,000, although average cars fetch £20,000-£25,000, with the MkVIII worth a little less than the MkVII and MkIX.

Popular in the US, where the market loved Jaguars, but as a LHD car in the UK they may prove cumbersome and probably cost too much to convert to right-hand drive. Cars with a manual/overdrive transmission are the most desirable, but they’re not necessarily worth a premium. One of the few worthwhile conversions that it’s worth considering is the adoption of disc brakes at the front, on the MkVII and MkVIII.

Buying advice

Firstly, don’t under-estimate their size; at 16 feet and four inches long, you’ll need a lot of garage space to accommodate one – while such bulk means fuel bills will also be on the hefty side. Although these cars feature thick steel bodywork, rustproofing was poor and there are plenty of rust traps so corrosion is common; sills are weak spot. The massive chassis rarely rots badly but check the outriggers suspension points.

The XK engine is well known but even a well-maintained engine will need a fresh radiator every 5-10 years. All came with a steering box; MkIXs and some MkVIIIs featured power assistance too but powered editions can suffer from leaks. Repairs are possible but it’s time consuming – and hence very costly if you can’t do the work yourself. The suspension is also robust, with tired rear leaf springs the most likely malady due to sheer mass and weight. Parts not as widespread as other classic cats.


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