Motoring Monday: 1961 Jaguar Mk IX Project

1961 Jaguar MK IX

My wife is in love with Jaguar Mk. VII’s, VIII’s and IX’s and eventually wants one. Consequently, I am in a constant search for the right car, although I think there will have to be a thinning of our herd before we purchase one. I asked her the other day what her ideal color combination would be, and she said dark blue and gray. So the first thing I did when I found this Jaguar that’s located in Berlin, New Jersey was pass my laptop to her. Sigh. It’s offered here on craigslist for $5,500.

Jaguar Mk IX Brochure

The Mk. IX was the final development of the Mk. VII/VIII/IX series, offering the famous XK 6-cylinder engine in a luxurious platform intended to compete with the lower end of the Bentley and Rolls Royce lineup, but with a sporting edge. However, this series was immediately dated by the appearance of the Mk. I and Mk. II (yes, 1 and 2, Jaguar’s nomenclature doesn’t make sense to me either) smaller sedans. By the Mk. IX, Jaguar had added a curved windshield, a standard sunroof, power steering and power four-wheel disc brakes. Most were fitted with automatics, although a 4 speed manual and an added overdrive were available.

1961 Jaguar MK IX Grill

My first concern with the opening picture was the lack of a grille, but it does appear to be present, just not installed. The seller tells us that this was a stalled restoration project from the 1970’s and that it’s been stored ever since. The planned repaint apparently wasn’t even started. Supposedly all parts are with the car; the seller notes its completeness.

1961 Jaguar MK IX Interior

The inside looks a little challenging, although the parts are there to begin with.  I can’t really tell whether these are the original leather seats or a recovering in vinyl; either way they will have to be rebuilt.

1961 Jaguar MK IX Dash

On the bright side, all gauges look like they are present and intact. It can be very difficult to chase down obscure trim pieces for something this unusual, although Jaguar did make quite a few of these in the day.

1961 Jaguar MK IX Engine

While engine condition is completely unknown, it is different to see one with the original air cleaner assembly still in place. I’m used to seeing them gone, where someone has tried to tickle the engine into life, usually unsuccessfully. At least with this car, you’ll have the chance to carefully recommission it yourself. I wish it were me, but not this time. How about you?


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  1. docvoltage

    Not to sound like a curmudgeon BUT…vehicle notwithstanding, I absolutely HATE when eBay or Craigslist sellers put non-applicable terms in their descriptions to get into more search results. It’s a total d*ck move. This one says “Classic Car, Antique Car, British Car, Mercedes, BMW, Rolls Royce, Bentley, old car, project car, restoration, Cadillac, Rare Car”. It’s a Jaguar, dammit. If I want a Caddy, I do not want to see this in my search results. Geez, people!

    I will now retreat to my cave. Lovely cars, these Jaguar sedans, BTW.

    • Horse Radish

      I agree.
      Total turn-off.
      I will not buy a car from a jerk like that anyway.
      It just oozes “asshole-flipper” or curbside dealer avoiding taxes !!

      …and I would actually beg of “barn finds” not to encourage that kind of behavior or people by adding free advertising !

    • grant

      Its call “keyword spam” and its a violation of Craigslist’s TOU. Flag the ad…

  2. Andrwe Minney

    Ah, back to the days when Jags were real cars.
    I love these old barges!

  3. Horse Radish

    Wonderful form/design.
    they had one of these with a steel sunroof in a pick yard here in sunny California!.
    If I did not buy that one, then you sure will not get me to buy one on the East coast with bondoed up rust from a flipper on CL,
    ….no way !

  4. Paul B

    I like the maroon one in the brochure. Gosh these are alluring. William Lyons had an eye like no one else.

  5. Dave Wright

    Wonderful cars………but the cost of wood, leather and electrical rebuild will exceed the value of a finished car without counting cost of purchase, paint, chrome, and mechanical. I am convinced that is why these unrestored cars are so inexpensive on the market.

  6. Woodie Man

    Well…… ’em done is my view with regard to this particular model. Lots of money needed here.

    Back in 1976 I set out in London to buy a MK VII to bring back to the states. If memory serves me I could pick one up in proper livery and condition for about 3K. One day I saw a ’52 MGYA parked in front of the Tower of London. Semaphores, crank out window, wood dash , leather seats….a mini German staff car. Owned by an employee of the Tower of London, not the executioner btw, we struck up a deal and I bought it. Shipped it to Baltimore and drove it to New Orleans blowing a head gasket on the way. Sold it a couple of years later to finance my move out West.

    While not comparable in any way to the MK series, I sort of wish I had bought the MK series in retrospect

  7. GOPAR

    My dad bought one of these used in 1962 (traded in a 1961 Austin Healy 3000 for it). The Jag had belonged to former football great “Doc” Blanchard. It was a gorgeous black car with a brown leather interior.I was only 13 at the time, but I have vivid memories of the car because it was so beautiful and impressive. We weren’t rich people by any stretch, but dad sure loved British cars and was willing to pay the price. Later, my brother-in-law bought the car and took it to Coronado NAS near San Diego, then eventually sold it. I never heard from it again. Wish I had it now!

  8. charlie Member

    A beautiful, wonderful to drive, money pit. You can buy a very decent l990’s Jag (and not the one based on the Ford “world car”) for $6000 more or less and have a beautiful, wonderful to drive, money pit, with air bags, dual master cylinder, AC, and drive it right now. And if you can hang on to it for 10 years, it can only go up in value. Says the man who sold his 1960 Jag XK 150 and bought a ’68 Chevelle station wagon with a 396 to pull his fiancé’s horse trailer. Dumb, but I was smart enough not to marry her.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Own both a MKVIIM and a MKIX. Both have sunroofs, don’t believe they made them without one unless it was a special order. Prefer the IX as I installed triple SU’s, and it came with disc brakes all around. The VII has drums.

      This example is odd as the exterior seems in far better shape than the interiors which wear like iron but the veneers usually suffer, moisture and extreme heat delaminates.

      The mechanicals are the same and surprisingly many were ordered with high compression engines. The automatic transmission is a Detroit Gear/DG-350 used also in late 40’s Chevy and Studebakers. Not a big fan as the transmission has no cooler in the radiator. Not sure that is a good idea in a car this heavy.

      Nothing rides like a Big Cat with a full frame. Proper tires harder to come by nowadays.

      XK engine pretty much bullet proof, the only pain in the keester is the way the engine accessories are mounted makes it hard but not impossible to fit air conditioning. Power steering pump is run off the back of the generator and it is the remote reservoir type meaning Jaguar hadn’t figured out that pumps don’t leak when you wrap the reservoir tank around them like the Americans were doing.

      Interiors are expensive to retrim properly. Body parts are scarce from vendors as these models are not as loved because of their lack of investment potential.

      For me these cars are gorgeous though the first MKVII cars had no swage line which meant only a single solid color is correct.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Ross, thanks for all the information!


    Hey, what about that Ford Panel in the background?

  10. Don Andreina

    Lovely old lady. These were superceded on the racetrack by the smaller Mark saloons, but every time I see one of these bodies I think of Stirling Moss in a MkVII.

  11. CraigInPA

    This is a car I would only buy in person. There’s a LOT of red flags for me, a former owner of 2 IX’s, 2 VII’s, and a variety of newer Jaguars. I had a true 1960 barn find, taken off the road in 1974. It was stored inside the entire time. It had, IIRC, 54k miles on it.

    This car seems to have a vinyl interior, based upon the peeling of the black layer, and how it is ripping. This should be leather. The foam, exposed in the pictures, doesn’t quite look right to me. The wood is entirely devoid of finish. Even my 1960 barn find still had something on the wood. It looks like someone stripped it to refinish it, and never got around to it.

    The biggest concern I’d have is rust. You can be sure there is some, especially given that this is a NJ car. A few years back, I went to see a similar (but all blue) IX that was in south Jersey. Looked good outside from even close up. When I took out my magnet, the seller cringed. I found out why soon enough…The entire lower half of the car had so much bondo that the magnet wouldn’t stick at all. Looking underneath the car revealed a series of patches over patches.

    A properly tuned IX is a joy to drive. If this car is undriveable, and has no brakes (or only a hand brake) make sure you examine the entire braking system. Calipers on this car is unobtainable.

    On to value… What I see here is a car that needs $10-12k in interior work (assuming you do the wood yourself, otherwise $5k more), some unknown replacement of plastics (obviously missing pieces, other pieces we can’t see that are sun faded or cracked), likely a complete brake job ($3k), some work to re-commission the engine, new tires, and more. Since you can buy nice drivers well below what you’d pay for this car plus the interior, and not have to deal with the hassles for a car your wife has never driven, I’d pass on this one.

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