While looking for another interesting Jaguar topic I came across this Youtube video of racing Jaguar MKVII’s in 2001 for the St Mary”s Trophy at Goodwood.
Being in England the cars are predominantly British from the 1950’s and 60’s era with a good number of MKVII Jaguars plus Mk1 and Mk2’s, plus European mainly Mercedes and Alfa’s.
But to stir the pot a bit in pole position #1 was a 1955 Chevy, and it was a hot one too.
Star attractions of this 1 hour race was Jack Brabham in a Jaguar MKVII, and Rowan Atkinson and Stirling Moss also in a MKVII.
Stirling Moss is no stranger to racing Jaguars, he had good success’ racing MKVII’s and also many of the other Jaguar sports and racing cars.
The high lights filmed of this race are very interesting along with interviews with Brabham, Atkinson, Moss and other drivers.
Full marks to the drivers, it is good to see classic racing cars from this era on the track again, even better that the competitive nature of the drivers is still there as they pedal their cars to the limit around the track.
To watch this 18 minute video click on it.
Special thanks to Super 100mph for this cvlassic video. Screen shots are from the video.
The MKVII was produced from 1951 to 1956, a total of almost 31,000 being made and price in 1951 was GBP1,600.
At the time it created much interest and set the pattern in motion for Jaguar as a manufacturer of not only luxury cars, but the same cars would excel at the race track and rallies, and attract many of the top racing and rally drivers.
In spite of the high sales tax on large cars in Britain it sold very well especially once it started clocking up success’ in racing and rally.
It was the American market however that really got Jaguar going at this time, plus with the demand from other countries increasing Jaguar became a major export earner for Britain – something it desperately needed after the end of WW2.
Silverstone was Britain’s number one race circuit, the Jaguar factory entries won there 4 years in a row, and on 2 occasions the MKVII’s filled the top 3 places as well.
Jaguar was clocking up wins in many countries in almost every race their cars entered. two wins in 1956 that stand out was the NASCAR Grand National, and the famous car testing Monte Carlo rally.
The Engine & Gearbox
The engine was the same as used in the XK120 sports car, 3.4 litres, twin overhead camshafts, twin SU carburetors, 160hp. Top speed capability was 100mph plus.
Originally available as a 4 speed manual, overdrive became available as did a 2 speed automatic, but this was quickly changed to a 3 speed auto by Borg Warner.
The MKVII M was released in 1954, this being fitted with a more powerful engine. Still 3.4 litres but some improvements on the head saw it produce 190hp.
In my previous post I mention the slowish gearchange on my MKV, and also that I had driven some miles in a MKVII. The MKVII gearbox was the same, a long movement between gears and it didn’t like being hurried. If you ever watch a road report on a MKVII lookout for a gear change, you will see what I mean.
The MKVIII was an improved version of the MKVII, with over 6,000 being made between 1956 and 1958. It was slightly heavier than the MKVII but this was offset by the 190hp engine, or 210hp with an upgrade to the C type head.
The interior was even more luxurious, windscreen became 1 piece instead of 2, and 2 tone paint was common as a curved chrome strip created a distinctive waistline.
6000 plus were made and top speed increased TO almost 110mph. Very good for a car weighing 1.7 tonnes.
Made from 1959 to 1961 with 10,000 being sold, this was the final model in this series before Jaguar moved onto its new styling starting with the MKX.
The 3.4 litre engine got a bigger bore increasing the capacity to 3.8 litres, and 220 hp, and other improvements like disc brakes, power steering and on the auto top gear lock up making this gear now direct drive rather than via the torque converter, eliminating slippage and giving better gas mileage.
Its interior appointments were improved yet again. and the MKIX became a popular official car to many governments and Embasey’s.
Weight of the car increased to 1.8tonnes[1800kg] and the price to GBP2200.