1951 Jaguar Mark V 3½ Litre Drophead Coupé LDU 604

This particular Mark V was built towards the end of the production run in 1951.  It was originally sold locally in Coventry, but from 1977 to 1988 spent its time in the USA.  After re-importation it was for a time registered under the ‘age-related’ mark SSU 113 but the original mark LDU 604 was re-allocated in 2003.

Launched alongside the XK 120 and the Mark V saloon at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show was the drophead coupé model.  The chassis and engine were the same as found on the saloon models, and the drophead was also available with a choice of the 2½ litre or 3½ litre engines, as well as either right-hand or left-hand drive.  However, it took almost a year for the drophead model to go into production which finally happened in September 1949.

The general body styling followed the lines of the saloon, and the car was almost as spacious, but had slightly less room in the rear seat to allow space for the hood to be folded.  In construction however, the two body types were different:  The Mark V saloon had an all-steel body, but the drophead coupé body was built on a traditional wooden frame.  With only two doors access to the rear seat was naturally difficult, and once installed, rear seat passengers found their vision somewhat restricted, as they had no side windows or quarter lights, and the rear window was only a narrow slit.

Jaguar had offered drophead coupés since 1937, and the Mark V version clearly resembled the previous model, sometimes in retrospect called the ‘Mark IV’.  These were all very stylish motor cars, and very practical with the versatile hood which could be used in three different ways – fully closed, fully open, or in the intermediate ‘de ville’ position with only the front portion of the hood folded back.

Almost exactly 1,000 Mark V dropheads were built, compared to 9,500 saloons.

Registration Mark: LDU 604

Chassis Number: 640383

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 41/J.10