The Jaguar Motor Company
Jaguar Car Gap Insurance by Click4Gap.co.ukIn 1950 the Mk7 featured the XK120 engine. It was the first saloon to be powered by the XK engine. To begin with, its production was stateside, due to the UK governments want of bringing in money from overseas to help the recovery of the British economy after the war. Production had expanded & a new site was required. An ex-Daimler aero engine factory was acquired & this is where Jaguar offices are still to this day. A Borg Warner auto box became an option in 1953, mainly following demand from US customers. In 1955 power was upped from 160bhp to 190bhp, and the model renamed the MkVIIM. More changes in 1957 came about with the MkVIII, an updated version of the MkVII, one being a single pieced curved windscreen. Two years later the last of the revisions were made, and the MkIX was born. This now had the 3.8 litre XK engine, power steering, and disc brakes front and rear. The Mk9 lasted for two more years, after which the Mk10 took place.
Also in 1950, Lyons and the new racing manager ‘Lofty’ England unofficially supported 3 privateer XK120s at Le Mans & discovered what the potential that competition successes could do for the road range. So a tubular spaceframe chassis was designed by Heynes, the bodywork by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, formerly of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. For the 24 heurs du mans, three cars were entered, two retired, but the remaining car won, Road range versions of the C-Type had to be produced in order to comply with the Le Mans regs. In 1952 Jaguar fitted bonnets with a smaller air intake, all the cars retired with serious overheating problems. In 1953 Jaguar were back at La Sarthe. The cars now being built from lighter gauge tubing, and disc braking to all four corners. All three cars finished in 1st, 2nd, and 4th places. After this success, Heynes and co. started on a replacement for the C-Type. The new car would be based on the 3.4 engine in the C, upgraded to 240bhp, and featured a new aerodynamic bodywork, an integral cockpit & front subframe. Three cars entered the ’54 Le Mans race, but were defeated by the 4.9 sports racer from Ferrari. Its power was increased to 270bhp in a bid to match the Ferrari, and the longnose bonnet fitted. It won the ’55 race. In 1956 both works and privateer D-Types were back at Le Mans. Two of the factory D-Types crashed, another finished in 6th. The race however was won by a non-works D entered by Ecurie Ecosse of Edinburgh. After this result, Jaguar withdrew from competition, but provided unofficial backing for Ecurie Ecosse in 1957. These cars finished first and second, with French and Belgian entries in third and fourth. Jaguar had now made their mark for producing very successful, sports racing cars.