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Jaguar Mark VII driving report: Flying Englishman with camouflage dress

Dino Eisele
Jaguar Mark VII driving report
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Anyone interested in sporty post-war classics from J aguar thinks that there are usually two models a: Mark II and E-Type. The Mark VII from 1951, on the other hand, is not expected to have racing ambitions due to its lordly lordship appearance. A huge mistake.

Elegant and elitist on the outside, a rally heart beats on the inside

Looks like a race - Sedan look? The overall winner of the Monte Carlo Rally? A class winner of the Tour de France? Even the length of five meters and 1.7 tons of weight are a huge challenge for the pilot - also for the brakes, the steering and the chassis. The stately Jaguar Mark VII- The body with covered rear wheels, with plenty of chrome decorations and a rounded roof structure and rear end does not look very fast either. It is elegant to elitist and says: don't rush.

In the sideline, we discover the roadster contour of the Jaguar sports car XK 120 presented in 1948 as an incorporated relief. A stylistic stroke of genius by the Jaguar boss William Lyons, because the Jaguar Mark VII is the heart of the 200 km /h road sports car, whose 3.4 liter in-line six-cylinder with two overhead camshafts develops 160 hp and accelerates the Mark VII up to 165 km /h.

The successor Jaguar Mark VII M (Modified) with 190 hp, presented in 1954, drove the top speed to 175 km /h. In 1956, the three-man team of Rony Adams, Frank Bigger and Erik Johnstone achieved overall victory in the Monte Carlo Rally ahead of the Mercedes-Benz 220 with Walter Schock and Rolf Moll.

Fast car with lots of space

To document the superiority of the five-seater Jaguar Mark VII from 1953 - from The year our photo vehicle is from - a look at the car catalog from that time is enough. There we find, for example, the newer Beetle Ford 12 M with 38 hp and 110 km /h top speed. Or the Mercedes 170 V with 45 hp and 116 km /h. Both moved in slow motion compared to the Mark VII. The big Mercedes 300 with its meager 115 hp also had to be overtaken by the flying Englishman.

The special thing about the Jaguar Mark VII, as the trade journal 'The Motor' noted at the time, is that many cars that run faster than 160 km /h 'combine a powerful engine with little space for passengers and luggage' . The Mark VII, on the other hand, is 'a spacious, comfortable five-seater'.

Pre-war dashboard

In fact, you are in good hands on the leather sofa in the rear of the Jaguar Mark VII plenty of space for the legs and enjoy the view of solid real wood on the top edges of the door and the dashboard as well as the chrome-plated hard metal of the window frames, ashtrays, door openers and window cranks.

Behind the large steering wheel there is still the typical pre-war look: operating elements and control instruments are placed nicely symmetrically in the middle of the dashboard, the steering wheel itself near the windshield. A short center shift lever and the large tachometer that reaches up to 5,500 rpm are indications of the drive mechanism adopted from the XK 120. Depending on nationality and steering wheel position, the Jaguar Mark VII driver has either the rev counter or the speedometer better in view.

The low-vibration DOHC six-cylinder engine pulls through powerfully even at low engine speeds and allows easy gliding along as well as rapid overtaking. But the most convincing features of the Jaguar Mark VII are the relatively direct (4.5 turns from lock to lock) and precise steering as well as the steadfast drum brakes. The drive unit, which is installed slightly backwards, prevents cumbersome understeer.

The Jaguar Mark VII is well prepared for a hot rally ride - with four instead of two co-drivers if necessary.

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