Monday 22nd July 2019,

Jaguar MK VII 1951 – 1956

The MKVII was the first Jaguar saloon to be supplied with the new 3.4 XK engine and was designed with the US market in mind. It made a huge impact with it`s futuristic streamlining and startling good-looks. There was no competition for it on the British market and it sold well. It was another classic car right from it’s birth.

The European makers could not understand how Jaguar could make the MK VII so good within the price. The MK VII was the first Jaguar to offer automatic transmission by Borg-Warner as an option and as if to prove that it was more of a sports saloon than it first appeared, it won the Monte Carlo rally in 1956. Bearing in mind that `the Monte` is always run in deepest winter, the victory was worthy of note. There were two versions of the Jaguar MK VII, the M version (1954 to 1956) is the rarest. We will concentrate on the 1953 model.

The body and chassis;

Built on the MKV chassis, the body had a streamlined sweeping style with full spats covering the rear wheels. It was a four-door, five-seat saloon with a two-piece `split-windscreen`. The coachwork was usually mono-coloured. Drum brakes were fitted all round with servo-assistance. Recirculating-ball steering was utilised. The front suspension was up-to-date coil and wishbones with live-axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. The wheels were pressed steel, 16 x 6.7 cross-ply tyres. The fuel tank held 17 Imperial gallons.

The interior;

The interior of the MKVII was very comfortable, warm and quiet, typical of a Jaguar, more so than most of it`s competitors. The US market loved it, especially the finish. Connolly Hide and half a walnut tree made the American interiors look cheap and nasty. The walnut fascia was beautiful with a full compliment of instruments. The superb leather seats were as good to look at as they were to sit in. Even folding picnic tables, also walnut, were fitted in the back of the front seats. Quintessentially English!


The MKVII was the first Jaguar saloon to be fitted with the XK 3.4 litre engine that was already fitted in the XK120 sports-car. The XK motor was the legendary DOHC with cast-iron block and an alloy cylinder-head. Twin SU carburettors supplied the fuel. The engine produced 160 bhp and 195 ft/lbs of torque with a compression ratio of 8:1. The transmission was a four-speed manual with synchro-mesh on the top three gears or a Borg-Warner three-speed automatic, very popular option. The MKVII was capable of 102 mph, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 13.7 seconds.

Driving impressions;

With a kerb-weight of 1676 kg the MKVII had a respectable power-to-weight ratio of 95.47 bhp per ton. The whole package was well described at the time, as `like a GT Bentley`. The Jaguar MKVII was a superb car and was deceptively fast. Compared to the venerable MK V it was a true classic supercar.

Jaguar MK VII 1951-1956
Body Type5 seater saloon
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Cargo VolumeCould fit 2 bodies
Engine3.4 Jaguar XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical (1951-1953)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power119 Kw160 bhp5000 RPM
Torque264 Nm195 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight95 bhp/t
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13.7 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 seep automatic
Weight1676 kg3695 lb
Engine3.4 Jaguar "M" XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical (1954-1956)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power142 Kw190 bhp5500 RPM
Torque285 Nm210 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight111 bhp/t
Top Speed169 km/h105 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 seep automatic
Weight1715 kg3781 lb
GD Star Rating
Jaguar MK VII 1951 - 1956, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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