The 1948 London Motor Show was a momentous occasion for Sir William Lyons and his newly re-named Jaguar Cars. The London show was famously the event where the world first saw the sensational new XK120 sports car, with its sublime feline styling and exotic twin-cam engine. Sharing the stand, and the limelight, was Jaguar’s latest saloon model, the Mark V.
While it was somewhat in the shadow of the XK120 at the Motor Show, the new Mark V had its own distinctions. The Mark V was the first all-new Jaguar model since the end of World War II. Since it beat the XK120 to production, it was also the first Jaguar to feature hydraulic brakes, independent front suspension, and pressed steel wheels. For the anoraks among us, the Mk V was the first production car to use sealed ball-joints in the front end, a design featured in virtually every mass-market vehicle since. The elegantly styled Mark V retained a touch of traditional English formality inspired by the pre-war models, and buyers had the choice of either a closed four-door saloon or the equally handsome open two-door drophead-coupe. Power came from either a 2 ½-litre or 3 ½-litre single-cam pushrod inline six-cylinder engine, derived from a Standard unit used in the Mk IV and pre-war SS models. Despite all of its milestones, the Mark V was produced for just 28 months, barely topping 10,000 units before the XK-powered Mk VII replaced it (Jaguar skipped over “Mk VI” because of its use by Bentley). Collectors covet these rare and beautiful Jaguars for their elegant baroque styling, luxurious accommodations, and delicate balance of sporting performance with long-distance touring comfort. In powerful 3 ½-litre form, the luxurious Mark V Drophead was akin to an XK120 for the family man.
This lovely Mark V 3-position drophead is a desirable 3 ½-litre model, presented with a well-maintained older restoration, finished in its original color scheme of black over red upholstery. According to the Jaguar Heritage Certificate, this car left the Jaguar works in Coventry on October 10, 1950, destined for James L Cooke Motors of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1959, Mr. Harold Allsop of Willowdale, Ontario, purchased this car to accompany his two-seat Cord. Later, he began to restore the Jaguar, but when it took time away from his Cord, he set the MkV aside. Finally, when he retired at age 70, Harold revived the Jaguar project, and poured a great deal of time and energy into its restoration.
The drophead since changed hands since the Allsops restored it, and as offered today, it is nicely presented with good black paintwork displaying some minor imperfections from age and occasional use. Black rear wheel spats and the low, wide stance give it a distinctly sporting and purposeful appearance. Body fit is very good, and the car is detailed with a mix of restored and excellent original chrome, with period-correct touches, including a leaper mascot and twin fog lamps. Opening the bottom-hinged boot lid reveals a capacious luggage compartment and the extensive factory tool kit, which is complete minus one wrench.
The cabin is restored to original specification, using high quality red hides and wool carpet sourced from England. The leather remains quite supple and attractive with just a touch of broken-in character on the seating surfaces. Wilton wool carpets are similarly excellent, and the only deviation from standard is the tan canvas soft top in place of the original black. Restored Smiths gauges sit in the central instrument panel, which is finished in a burl walnut veneer. The lacquer finish on the wood shows some lifting and patina in places, but is in good condition otherwise.
Under the bonnet is a correct specification 3 ½-litre OHV inline-six with twin SU carburetors. It features the correct air cleaner and aluminum plenum, and the presentation is tidy, with authentic detailing and many period-correct fittings. The engine pairs with a four-speed manual gearbox with floor-mounted gearshift, enhancing the sporting, purposeful character.
This is an appealing example of the most desirable Mark V Jaguar variant, restored for the personal enjoyment of the family that loved it for 54 years, and now offered with an inviting character that encourages continued use.
Offers welcome and trades considered