Jaguar MkI saloon
Built between: 1955-1959, number sold: 37,397, cool cat factor: 5/5
Glamorous sports cars grabbed the headlines for Jaguar in the early Fifties, but the firm also understood the importance of its saloons, and had already started work on a new mid-sized model.
It has subsequently become known as the MkI, but at its 1955 launch, it was simply the 2.4-litre saloon. However, there was nothing simple about its design. It was the first Jaguar to feature a unitary pressed-steel body, while spats were fitted to the rear wheels to reduce drag and give the MkI a clean profile. A narrow XK140-inspired radiator grille meant the styling was typical Jaguar. The 2.4-litre straight-six from the XK sat under the bonnet, but customers in the US wanted more power, so in 1957 the 3.4-litre version was introduced.
The black car in our photos is a great example of the latter model. It is distinguished from the 2.4 by its cutaway rear spats, which were designed to help brake cooling, subtle 3.4 badges and a broader radiator. It had 210bhp, could sprint from 0-60mph in nine seconds and went on to a top speed of 120mph. A manual gearbox was standard, with overdrive optional. By September 1957 all-round disc brakes became an option, too.
These innovations helped the MkI to success in saloon car racing, and proved Jaguar’s performance prowess wasn’t confined to two-seaters. Arguably one of the world’s first ‘sports saloons’, the MkI proved that four-door models weren’t best left for the chauffeur to drive.
WHY: Four-door packs punch from XK sports car.
In this review
- 1IntroductionThe coolest cats of all-time go head-to-head in a unique shoot-out!
- 2Jaguar XJ (new)Built: 2009 on, number sold: not on sale yet, cool cat factor: wait and see!
- 3Jaguar XKBuilt between: 2006 to date, number sold: 124,382 to date, cool cat rating: 3/5
- 4Jaguar XFBuilt: 2009 to date, number sold: 56,149 to date, cool cat rating: 4/5
- 5Jaguar X-TypeBuilt between: 2001 to date, number sold: 360,405 to date, cool cat rating: 2/5
- 6Jaguar XJ (X350)Built: 2003-09, number sold: 295,365 to date, cool cat rating: 3/5
- 7Jaguar XK8Built between: 1996-2004, number sold: 84,958, cool cat rating: 3/5
- 8Jaguar XJ (X300)Built between: 1994-1997, number sold: 92,038, cool cat rating: 3/5
- 9Jaguar XJ220Built between: 1992-94, number sold: 277, cool cat rating: 4/5
- 10Jaguar XJ (XJ40)Built between: 1986-1994, number sold: 208,000, cool cat rating: 3/5