Produced by Jaguar between 1955 and 1959, the Jaguar MK1 is an elegant British saloon that has seen an upturn in popularity and demand in recent years. Whilst many enthusiasts may point to the E-type, XK120 or MK2 when thinking of classic Jaguars; in fact, the MK1 is equally as deserving of this title.
First introduced at Earl’s Court in October 1955, the MK1 immediately took centre stage, drawing all of the attention from attendees. It represented a change in the design and manufacturing processes of this world-renowned carmaker. It was aimed at a new type of buyer too. Up until then, Jaguar had been more widely known for producing big luxury cars and roadsters.
However, this deviation with the MK1 paid off, as the model captured the sports saloon market. It was a fresh, modern and sporty vehicle, perfectly capable of rivalling Rover, Daimler and Riley, who dominated the market at the time.
In the past few years, there has been a resurgence in interest in the Jaguar MK1, much more so than its off-shoot, the MK2. Today, the MK1 is regarded as a smart long-term investment by many enthusiasts. And, in this post, we’re going to take a look at why that is, and explore what you need to know about the Jaguar MK1 if you’re considering buying one.
Whilst we now refer to this classic Jag as the Jaguar MK1, in fact, this was not the case at the time. The MK1 was actually referred to as the Jaguar 2.4 Litre and Jaguar 3.4 Litre, according to company documents dating from the time. The name ‘Mark 1’ was first used after the arrival of the car’s replacement, the 2.4 Litre Mark 2 in October 1959.
The MK1 was the first small saloon car since the 1½ and 2½ Litre cars ended in 1949. It became an instant success, outselling the more expensive Jaguar saloons. While the 2.4 Litre saloon was announced on 28 September 1955, the 3.4 Litre saloon was announced 17 months later in the USA and aimed at the American market. It was not at first immediately available in the UK.
The MK1 broke new ground for Jaguar, being the carmaker’s first model to employ unitary construction of the chassis and body. With understandable caution in their approach, Jaguar’s engineers made the bodyshell stronger than required, and used rubber mountings almost everywhere in order to insulate occupants from vibration and noise.
The model was released with a new, short stroke, 2.4 Litre version of the proven XK six-cylinder DOHC engine. But, as mentioned above, there was the introduction of the 3.4 Litre version in 1957, following demands for more power from the American market.
Offering 190bhp on tap, the 3.4 Litre MK1 achieved a top speed of 120 mph and could get to 60mph in nine seconds. Although, it must be noted, if it was driven to the max, this improved performance did significantly tax the drum brakes.
The MK1 was an advanced design for its day; and with all the added strength built into the shell, it became a very successful competition car. MK1 3.4 Litre saloons competed in a number of rallies, touring car and saloon car races, with notable drivers including Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn and Tommy Sopwith.
David McKay won the 1960 Australian Touring Car Championship in a 3.4 Litre Mark 1, and Bill Pitt won the 1961 Australian Touring Car Championship in the same model. Overall, the MK1 was and still is an excellent choice of classic car. It offers a more vintage feel than the MK2, and is much rarer too, with values outstripping the MK2 nowadays.
The Jaguar MK1, whilst at one time was overshadowed by the MK2, is now the most prized saloon to choose from the Coventry carmaker. It has never been so highly regarded, making it a sound investment for any enthusiast exploring the market right now.
If you are interested in buying a Jaguar MK1 for sale, then DM Historics is the place to come. We specialise in the sale of classic sports cars, with a dedicated specialism in classic Jaguars. Our team provides a trusted purchase and sales experience for your classic sports car and competition cars.
All of our handpicked classic cars have undergone rigorous inspections for quality before being displayed in our showroom. We currently have the 1958 Jaguar MK1 Goodwood Racer in our showroom. This is an historic, competitive racer, well regarded in classic motorsport circles with numerous successful campaigns over the years.
It is eligible for the Historic Sports Car Club, HRDC, and Classic Sports Car Club. As well as this, it is eligible for prestigious racing events such as Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic and Spa Six Hours. Available for immediate viewing, should you wish to enquire today, please contact us on +44 (0) 1732 440 494 or email email@example.com.