Wednesday 19th June 2019,

Jaguar MK X 1961 – 1967

The 1961 Earl`s Court Motor Show in London was taken by storm when the Jaguar MK X was unveiled. Bill Lyons and his staff had shrouded the project in tight security. The new model had already been announced but the `cloak and dagger` operation was so successful that the motoring press and the public had no idea what it looked like or had any information about it`s specifications.

The MK X was four years in development and was truly a revolutionary car. By comparison the lovely Jaguar MK IX was a horse-drawn museum piece. The MK X was the first production monocoque saloon in the world. It was equipped with a de-Dion fully independent rear suspension system. Initially the 3.8 XK engine was used, 265 bhp driving through the now-familiar four speed /overdrive gearbox with Borg-Warner 212 automatic as an option. Switchable twin ten gallon fuel tanks were fitted. Power steering was standard.

The first problem for the purchaser was the choice of colour! The Jaguar MK X was available in the usual flat colours or the new `opalescent` metallic finishes. The car looked glorious in all of them. However, the body shape was the most striking part of the new package. Longer, wider and lower than any previous Jaguar, the shark-like body shape was beautiful from it`s raked-forward nose to it`s long, shapely tail. The boot space rivaled most American cars, huge by British standards. Another `first` was the fitting of servo disc brakes all round. The interior was truly sumptuous, all Connolly hide and walnut. If the prospective customer was not already in love with the MK X, driving it sealed the deal.

The engine was the most powerful Jaguar XK available, rated at 265 bhp. It was, as stated, a very big car but not heavy. The MK X was surprisingly fast with superb handling. The noise-level inside was perfect. Thanks to the four-wheel disc brakes it stopped very quickly too. A truly fabulous car but there were some design problems with it.

The most obvious one was getting into it. Being a monocoque it had very wide inner door-sills. If the driver was less than agile the only comfortable way to get in was to sit on the door-sill while outside the car and swing the legs in. The usual method of putting one leg in, against the transmission tunnel didn`t work because the tunnel was so far away. The E type had a similar problem.

More important was an example of `over-engineering`. Other cars with power steering had the hydraulic pump bolted to the engine and driven by a drive-belt. The Jaguar MK X was very crowded under the bonnet so unfortunately, a designer at Jaguar decided to mount the pump on the back of the dynamo (no alternators yet) to save some space. The problem was that the `pump to dynamo` oil seal kept blowing and flooding the dynamo. Occasionally the leak would be severe enough to disable the power-steering, rendering the car un-driveable. This problem only affected early 3.8 cars and Jaguar came up with a modification. It is worth pointing out that the offending dynamo/pump unit was produced by Lucas and not Jaguar.

The car was a great success in Britain and the US, but the second-hand popularity was not as good as other models because of high fuel consumption. However, the MK X is best remembered as the Jaguar everybody wanted to own. In 1966 the new 4.2 XK engine was fitted, oddly giving the same bhp output as the 3.8 litre unit. Also in that year British Leyland took over Jaguar and things began to change and not for the better.

Foot-note (Story);

In 1964 my father bought a new Jaguar MK X, reg. no. 606 DFH. It was a manual overdrive version in Opalescent Dark Green. It was beautiful to behold but beset with problems from the outset. The unfortunate combination of PAS pump and dynamo disabled the car so often that it spent six months of it`s first year in the Jaguar agent. The problem continued into the second year, at the end of which the engine caught fire! The resulting conflagration destroyed the bonnet`s paint work and also consumed my father`s patience!

The car was recovered by the agent. A heated argument ensued over who was going to pay for what. As I am the only living witness to my father`s impressive ability to deliver an argument, the reader must take my word that the discussion was volcanic! The Jaguar dealer supplied Dad with their `demonstrator` MK X (JCY 76D) to use while the chaos ensued. This car was the first automatic my father had ever driven and it was a 4.2 as well. He took to it with only one reservation, the colour. Warwick Grey is a flat light grey with a pink tinge to it. British Leyland had introduced the new colour range, including Warwick Grey in 1966 and it was horrible!

However, Dad got used to the colour and finally solved the impasse at the dealership. `Solved` is probably not the right word. He marched into the office of the dealership and spoke thus; “I will keep the 4.2, you can have the old one and I don`t care what you do with it!” Panic broke out, Jaguar was consulted via telephone and the deal was done with no transfer of funds. The new car was faultless and served him well.

Sadly, not only was it his first automatic, which he came to love dearly, it was also his last. My father died in January 1968, still loving the car but hating the colour!

Jaguar MK X 1961-1967 Specifications
Body Type5 seater 4 door saloon
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Cargo Volume765 L27 cu. Ft.
Engine3.8 Jaguar XK DOHC 12V Hemispherical (1961-1964)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3781 cc230.7 cui
Power198 Kw265 bhp5500 RPM
Torque346 Nm255 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight141 bhp/t
Top Speed219 km/h136 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph9.8 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 speed automatic
Weight1880 kg4145 lb
Engine4.2 Jaguar XK DOHC 12V Hemispherical (1964-1967)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement4235 cc258.4 cui
Power198 Kw265 bhp5500 RPM
Torque385 Nm284 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight141 bhp/t
Top Speed196 km/h122 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph9.9 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 speed automatic
Weight1883 kg4151 lb
GD Star Rating
Jaguar MK X 1961 - 1967, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 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. Franco righetti 28. September 2015 at 6:14

    Los autos jaguar antiguos los de william lyons tienen algo magico, no se si son los tableros de madera de raiz de nogal, la piel conolly, las alfombras de lana o los hermosos motores con la cabeza de aluminio y las tapas de los arboles de leva en aluminio bien pulido, o la sensacion de flotar en una nube a 200 km por hora, pero para mi son lo maximo

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