Monday 22nd July 2019,

Jaguar MK VIII 1956 – 1958

This car was a simple update of the MKVII, several areas were improved but the most noticeable things were two- tone paintwork (as a very popular option), the one-piece curved windscreen and the smaller rear spats that exposed more of the rear wheels.

The interior was up-dated and the engine modified. The MK VII was getting old and the MK IX was far from ready so a facelift was the obvious strategy. It gave Jaguar two years to produce the tooling for the MK IX and, though the MK IX was similar in appearance to MKs VII and VIII almost all the body panels were slightly different.

The most relevant revision was in the cylinder-head. The original head, now retrospectively labeled as the `A type` head, was fitted with the big valves from the `C type` but the inlet ports were reduced in bore. The effect of this modification was to improve fuel/air mixing in the lower and middle revolution range to reduce fuel consumption.

Jaguar reasoned that the high revolution range would not be used very much on this particular model. The head was coloured blue for identification purposes. This specification produced 190 bhp and a top speed of 106 mph.

As an option the full `C type` head was offered which produced 210 bhp. There were also transmission options available, Laycock de Normanville overdrive on the manual or a Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic.

The MK VIII was not a great success and did not sell particularly well because the market was waiting for something new. Competitors were catching up though alternatives to the MK VIII were still largely inferior. The Jaguar principles of beauty, power and true family size within a very reasonable price posed a big problem for the other manufacturers.

In the two year production-run only 6227 were sold. Because of the short production run, available examples are hard to find today.

Jaguar MK VIII 1956-1958
Body Type5 seater saloon
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Cargo VolumeCould fit 2 bodies
Engine3.4 Juaguar XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power142 Kw190 bhp5500 RPM
Torque285 Nm210 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight107 bhp/t
Top Speed171 km/h106 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13.6 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 speed automatic
Weight1784 kg3933 lb
Engine3.4 Jaguar XK 12V DOHC Hemispherical (C-type head)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3442 cc210 cui
Power157 Kw210 bhp5500 RPM
Torque292 Nm215 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight118 bhp/t
Top Speed177 km/h110 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 speed automatic
Weight1784 kg3933 lb

We’re looking for pictures!

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Jaguar MK VIII 1956 - 1958, 8.2 out of 10 based on 5 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.

1 Comment

  1. Adrian 5. May 2017 at 13:48

    You’re getting your Jaguars confused! You say the NkIX had completely different panels – it didn’t. The MkIx was absolutely identical in appearance apart from (after a year of production) slightly larger tail lamps. Ythe differences were all under the bonnet. You’re thinking of the revolutionary new MkX, which was launched in 1961 and was a totally new body shell.

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