1949 Jaguar Mark V 3½ Litre Saloon NPC 557
This vehicle is on display in the Jaguar Gallery at Coventry Transport Museum

The first post-war Motor Show in London’s Earls Court Exhibition Hall was held in October 1948.  Here, for the first time, visitors could see many new post-war models from the British motor industry.  One of the most popular stands was that of Jaguar Cars Limited, where there were two new models on display – the stunning XK 120 sports car and the Mark V saloon range.

In comparison with the debut of the XK, the Mark V perhaps made less of an impression.  However, under the skin the two cars shared the same basic design of chassis, with Jaguar’s first independent front suspension, and hydraulic brakes.  Unlike the advanced new twin overhead camshaft engine of the XK, the Mark V still used the traditional overhead valve layout with push-rods, in 2½ litre and 3½ litre sizes, inherited from previous Jaguar saloons.

Similarly, the body style was developed from the classic Jaguar shape first seen in 1935.  It was somewhat modernised, with built-in headlamps, while another difference was that the traditional wire wheels had been replaced with smaller disc wheels.  Seen for the first time on the Mark V saloon was the rounded, extended quarter-light window in the rear door.  This would become a Jaguar styling hallmark, and may be seen more than fifty years later on current XF and XJ models.

At the time, the Mark V represented worthwhile progress for Jaguar.  Its modern chassis combined with traditional styling and a typically well-finished interior, gave the model great appeal to the British car buying public, but the Mark V also increased export sales usefully.  Altogether some 9500 Mark V saloons were built from 1949 to 1951.  The Mark V was also seen in motor sport, with Cecil Vard coming third in the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally, and fifth in the 1953 rally, using the same car!

Registration Mark: NPC 557

Chassis Number: 620143

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 38/J.08