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The Mark X : One Big and Rare Saloon !
By Chris Canning, SFJC. Pictures Pascal Gademer

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In October, 1961 Jaguar cars brought a beautiful saloon to the London Motor Show, a car which was to set a new standard in automotive design and comfort. Announced seven months after the E-type, The Mark X was the largest Jaguar ever produced. The massive bulk of the car was disguised with innovative styling, which was much lower and sleeker than the Mark IX. The styling was thoroughly modern as the bonnet was lowered and a slimmer grille was sloped forward to give the impression of less height. The car featured quad headlights and smaller 14 inch wheels help disguise the size of the car.  

The goal of Sir William Lyons and his team was to create a combination of elegant craftsmanship, beautiful styling, advanced engineering and high performance in a large saloon. They focused on a car that would bring the buyer a sense of effortless speed, safety and dignity.  The Mark X was produced to replace the Mark VII, Mark VIII and Mark IX large saloon cars that had been produced between 1950 and 1961. 

Even when the Mark VII was announced, it was far better suited to the American roads than those in Britain. The 17 MPG fuel consumption of the Mark VII, that shocked most Europeans, was not a concern for U.S. buyers. British writers at the time of the announcement called the Mark X excessively wide (at 6 ft. 4 inches it was the broadest car on the British market) and thirsty but like the smaller Mark II Jag, it did improve with age. In 1966 the Mark X became the 420G and lasted until 1970 when it gave way to the XJ6. 

There was a dramatic change in styling from the Mark IX to the Mark X.  The X was much sleeker and had lower and more flowing lines. It was a break with its predecessor and it established a vision and a preview of what Jaguar was planning for the next 30 years.  The Mark X can be looked upon as a transition from post-WW II design to the very modern XJ6 10 years later. 

The 420G was a change in model name that brought about no mechanical changes but there were changes in styling and interior design. The radiator grille added a center bar and side repeater lights were fitted to both fenders. A chrome strip ran down both sides of the car and it was also available without the strip if a customer ordered two-tone paint. The hub caps were changed and a new badge was added at the rear of the boot.  The interior added a padded top rail on the dash board and a centrally mounted clock. The 420G was priced at 2238 Pounds Sterling and was also offered as a limousine.

This Man Likes Them Rare

Question: If you owned the Garage Mahal (The Taj Mahal for vintage cars) what Jag would you acquire to go with your 1937 SS 1/2 liter Saloon, your 1959 Mark IX and your 1988 Daimler ? How about a low mileage 1962 Mark X from California !!

For Rick Hartwell, past President of SFJC, there is a never ending desire to find very special and very rare Jags. Rick has a number of Jags in his stable (affectionately known to SFJC members as the Garage Mahal.) Besides the two mentioned above, Rick has an E-Type (in restoration) and an XJ-40 Daimler as an everyday driver. This man just cannot get enough Jaguars and his latest acquisition is an absolute gem. I caught up with Rick’s new car over at The Jaguar Doctor’s shop. Rick got the car over the internet and had it transported from the West Coast. The Jaguar Doctor was asked to do an inspection and safety check and fix a couple of minor problems to get the car road ready for Rick. When we say road ready—this is they guy who took his 43 year old Mark IX for a 200 mile run around Lake Okeechobee a couple weeks ago. Just another Sunday drive to, in his words, “blow out the carbon.”

Rick bought the car from the original owner’s son who now lives in Portland, Oregon. The car was purchased new in 1962 at a dealership in San Bernardino, California. It was a floor demo model and the new owners Leigh and Maria Burton traded in a MKII during the purchased. It was late in the year so the car was titled as a 1963 model. The proud new owners took the car back to Big Bear Lake where it spent the next 40 years in very good hands. Leigh passed away and Maria was in her nineties and could no longer handle the huge car so their son Mike took possession of the car in 1993 with 24,608 miles on the clock. He returned to Portland Oregon where he added another 5,000 miles over the next 9 years.

The car currently has 29,700 miles on it and looks remarkable. The interior is completely original and the wood and leather look great! The exterior had some quality paint repairs in the 80's and the trunk looks like new.

The tool kit is untouched and the original spare is present. There was even a newspaper from Los Angeles from 1964 in the trunk and Rick found a mercury dime (that’s real silver) under the front seat. Rick says that the car is in great mechanical condition and went to the Jaguar Doctor in Boca Raton for a check up and some new pipes that were damaged in transport. Unfortunately, the perfect original windscreen was broken in transit so a newer triplex unit has been installed in its place.
There was a total of 3848 3.8 Liter MK X’s produced and this car is number 25, one of the first to be produced.

Not medium, not well done..just very rare..if you please.

The Mark X employed monocoque construction. Monocoque, translated from the French, means “single shell.” The monocoque principle had been applied to aircraft design in an attempt to combine the greatest possible strength with the lightest possible weight. Jaguar had also used monocoque design in the E-Type, incorporating aerodynamic styling which was unlike anything in mass production at the time.  Monocoque helped the E-type become the fastest production car that you could buy in 1961. Jaguar used this design to provide a body that could withstand stress without strain. They sought a body that provided a ride of amazing smoothness and stability regardless of road conditions. In 1961 Jaguar was the only manufacturer to offer the monocoque principle at a price that the middle class could afford. 
At the time, Jaguar was trying to capitalize on the racing successes of the XK-120/140/150 cars. From the earliest days of Jaguar, saloons had formed the basis of the company’s profitability. The top of the line saloons inspired the advertising tag line “Grace, Space, Pace.”   The Coventry team raced Jaguar cars during the 1950’s so that they could use the race track as a real-time laboratory to measure stamina and performance of their cars. Jaguar’s advertising at the time noted, “The lessons learned on the race track went into the making of a motor car of supreme superiority, the Jaguar Mark X.”   

The craftsmen at Coventry spared no expense to put top quality materials into the interiors of the Mark X. Seats and interiors were made of top quality glove leather. Hand-rubbed walnut covered the dash, window surrounds, panels and vanity tables that were fitted to the rear of the front seats. When opened, the tables revealed rectangular mirrors. Comfort was important with reclining front seats and both front and rear seats had a central folding armrest.
Under the instrument panel there was a stowage area that ran the full width of the car.  The theme for the Mark X was good taste and correctness as unnecessary adornments were eliminated. A full set of instruments including tach were standard equipment on all models.  

Jaguar incorporated exacting precision in driving control systems. There were two transmissions offered. There was a manually operated four-speed gearbox with overdrive and also a fully automatic transmission. For comfort, the driver was presented with an adjustable steering wheel and power steering was standard. Four disc brakes provided stopping power with independent front and rear brake systems along with front and rear brake fluid warning lights – a Jaguar exclusive.   Independent front and rear suspension systems gave passengers a very smooth yet stable ride.

This Jag featured a 265 HP  3.8 Liter  6 cylinder engine with twin overhead cams, hemispherical combustion chambers and triple SU carburetors. The engine block was chromed iron with aluminum pistons and cylinder head. The engine was quite similar to the one used in the E-Type. The car had a top speed of 122 mph and could run from 0 to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds.  Gas economy suffered with extensive high speed driving.  Like the E-Type, the Mark X acquired a 4.2 liter engine and synchromesh gearbox for manual versions in 1964.

Mark X Specifications:

Engine: Six Cylinder twin overhead cam 3.8 liter XK Jaguar design. 3781cc. Compression ration: 8 to 1  (7 to 1 or 9 to 1 were options)  265 HP at 5500 RPM. Torque: 260 ft lbs at 4000 RPM. Three HD8s SU Carburetors. Aluminum heads and pistons – iron block.

Transmissions: 4 speed gearbox with optional overdrive. Borg Warner Automatic available with gear lever on steering column.

Suspension: Independent front suspension incorporating semi-trailing wishbones and coil springs with telescopic shocks. Anti-roll bar between lower wishbones.
Fully independent rear suspension incorporating on each side, a lower transverse tubular link pivoted at the wheel carrier. Twin coil springs, each enclosing a telescopic hydraulic damper. The entire assembly together with the differential unit was carried in a detachable sub frame.       
Brakes: 4 Dunlop bridge type disc brakes. Front brakes fitted on wheel hubs. Rear brakes were fitted inboard of both half shafts.

Steering: Power assisted recirculating ball type. 17 inch adjustable steering wheel.  

Wheels: Pressed steel bolt on wheels with Dunlop 7-50 X 14 in tires.

Fuel: Twin petrol tanks in rear wings- total capacity 20 gallons. Tank changeover switches on the fascia panel. Separate fuel filters for each tank.

Electrical: Lucas 12Volt battery - 60 amp per hour. Four headlamps controlled by foot operated dipswitch. Twin reversing lamps. Two position dimmer switch for dash. Two blade, two speed windscreen wipers.  Electrically operated windscreen washers.

Body: All steel, 4 door, 5 passenger saloon. Counterbalanced forward opening bonnet.  The boot has a capacity of 27 cubic feet. Illumination provided by an automatically controlled interior light.

Dimensions: Wheelbase: 10 feet.  Track: 4 ft. 10 inches. Length: 16 ft. 10 inches.
Width: 6 ft.  4 inches. Height: 4 ft. 6 inches.  Ground clearance: 6 inches. Turning Circle: 37 feet.  Curb Weight: 3500 lbs. 
3.8 Liter Mark X - 12,678 units
4.2 Liter Mark X - 5,680 units
420G – 6554 units


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Posted: 7/26/2002