My Wife Wants This Car: 1958 Jaguar Mark VIII

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Yes, I’ve found another big old Jaguar for sale, and my wife is still looking for one. This one might be a great option for us, but I’m afraid it will go for too much. The 1958 Mark VIII is located in Patchogue, New York and is up for auction here on eBay, with bidding currently quite low but it hasn’t met the reserve.

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Cristina can’t get the one out of her mind that she saw several years ago at a local car show, so I’m pretty sure there will eventually be one of these in the garage. I only hope it’s as great a place to start as this one! The Mark VII, VIII and IX feature much of the mechanical components of their XK sports car relatives, but within a body comparable to contemporary Bentleys. This one has some rusty areas on the lower doors and in the trunk, but has much less rust than most of these cars I’ve found in our search.

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And what a cabin! Yes, all this wood needs to be refinished, but it’s complete and I don’t see any peeling veneer. That means it’s within the scope of most enthusiasts to refinish, just taking a lot of time and care. Again, most of these cars I see have a lot of moisture inside and peeling wood all over. While the odometer is only showing 24,667 miles, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence in a gauge that is showing 18 mph while the car is motionless! I suppose it’s possible, though.

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After looking at the interior, though, I’m much more inclined to think 124k miles. That being said, if you weren’t looking for a concours interior, it might be possible through dyes and careful color matching to achieve adequate results reusing parts of the upholstery materials. Replacing all the interior of one of these cars can be a real budget-breaker, and is one of the reasons so few restored VII’s, VIII’s and IX’s exist.

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The XK engine is intact, but based on the cylinder head color has been apart at least once. It does run and drive, and the previous owner is said to have spent over $7,000 on a transmission rebuild and other mechanical refurbishment. I’d want to look over receipts closely depending on what this car goes for. I’ve got it in my “watch” file; we’ll see where it ends up!

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Comments

  1. Horse Radish

    Just judging from where it is, this car will probably look worse in person than on these 20 foot ‘shots’.
    I cannot picture spending $7000 on a transmission rebuild or $4000 on parts for a power steering system……….

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      No doubt. You can see in some of the shots that the paint is crazed, it would all have to come off prior to a repaint.

      • Enzo Meli

        Hello
        I’m looking for this car, published in jan. 2016. This is the title:

        JAN 23, 2016 • FOR SALE • 43 COMMENTS
        My Wife Wants This Car: 1958 Jaguar Mark VIII

        Do you know where the car ist now? Is it yours?

        Kind regards
        Enzo

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Sorry, Enzo, no, we did not purchase it. I hope someone reads this and answers you!

  2. Don Andreina

    Took the plunge on a 420G once and never regretted it. Internals maybe costly to deal with, but thanks to the ever-long XK unit aren’t that hard to source parts for. If the car’s all there, buy it. Even slightly tatty like mine was, these are glorious.

  3. Woodie Man

    In the summer of 1976 I came within a whisker of buying a ’58 in London and shipping it home Luckily I bumped into a ’52 MGYB and bought that and shipped it to the US. A lot smaller and easier to deal with!

  4. Skloon

    Odd coloured head, I remember seeing MOD tank engines this colour though nice looking cars

  5. Rob

    Jamie..
    If you can find one, a MK V in my opinion, has far better lines, and also has that early XK 3.5 engine. I owed this ’49 a few yrs back (suicide frt doors), handled quite well, and was a pleasure to drive.. yes, I kick myself for ever selling it for.. $6000., *sigh :(

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Rob, that’s gorgeous! She’s stuck on the Mark VII/VIII/IX shape, though. What she really wants is a manual/overdrive Mark IX, which I’m not even sure exists in the US.

  6. Clay Bryant

    Should have spent a couple grand on interior then “4,000” bucks on power steering if that’s what really happened. Could fly to England, sniff around and find better deals then that and come home with plenty of pocket change………..

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Clay, spent time working in the UK, these cars were rare, the U.S. Received the lion’s share of the production. Gas being considerably higher meant these were junked a lot quicker. Rust seemed to be more of a problem with the damp climate.

      I ended up with a MKII with wires, Webasto, and overdrive.

      They are cheaper here, in better shape. Better shape because MOT stands for making the repair good enough to last a year. Nothing like seeing them put in a half of a rocker panel. They complain about our cars, with good reason, but their MOT is just another reason for deferred maintenance.

  7. Jim Mc

    A car like this?! And the wife wants it? You better do everything you can to get it then.

    And the next time you bring home some insane project junk you’ll already have it paid forward with her. For that alone it’s a good investment.

  8. Clay Bryant

    Right on…….Jim Mc

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Jim & Clay — we have to sell one of her cars first. Once it’s ready to sell, you’ll see it here.

  9. wayne

    Looks like a money pit to me

    • Bill Wilkman

      Took the words right out of my mouth!

  10. David

    Wonder if that could be a standard XK150 head. Color looks correct for that if original.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ David, thanks, I didn’t know that.

  11. Howard A Member

    So, the wife wants a “fine Hagwar”, eh? I’d keep looking. Again, I’d dump the Jag mechanicals and repower it with American stuff. Just too darn expensive to replace these parts, as evidenced here. I suppose since they already sunk a piece of change into the trans and steering, one should keep going with this one. That interior isn’t going to come cheap either. Tell wifey, “not this time”.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Howard — I’m lucky enough that she doesn’t want a perfect car, so she’d be OK with me doing the wood and a local upholsterer doing the seats and panels. On the other hand, I’m pretty stuck on the Jag XK engine, although as I noted above she would prefer a manual over the automatic.

  12. Van

    Just so you know
    The D-type couple would say if you can handel it dive in, just look at it
    Something to consider
    Same engine basically is in xj6 until 1987
    If you have problems, you would gain torque and fuel injection. No mods required to install,
    Save the original stuff to return to original
    God save the queen

  13. Chris

    The head color indicates that it is a 3.4 liter engine, (ducks egg green I think I recall it being called). The 3.8 liter engines were painted blue (These were B-port heads fitted with twin HD6 SU’s), the C-type (special equipment heads were painted red (XK150S for example). E-type/MKX heads were painted gold (These were straight port heads and were fitted with triple HD8 SU’s. The straight port head continued on in the 420 (fitted with two HD8’s) and XJ series (twin Strombergs (in the US) until the fuel injection models came along) but were unpainted. I would agree that judging by how clean the head paint is that the head was off at some point (or someone started restoring the car by painting the head and then losing interest.).

    These cars are great on the road with a smooth, comfortable ride with lots of torque. They sell for peanuts compared to MKII’s and E-type’s but still have the mechanicals that made Jaguar famous on the racing circuit. Take a look around on the internet for saloons racing and you’ll find quite a few pictures of MKVII/VIII’s in racing trim.

  14. Chris

    Here is a picture of MKVIII in racing trim. The car owner is Rowan Atkinson’s car (Mr. Bean fame).

    • Jim Mc

      That’s gotta be a beast to haul thru the corners but I bet it’s a helluva lot of fun to do so. Give ya some Popeye forearms there.
      Love the style, too. Open rear wheelwells, racing steelies, looks like a verrry British version of an early NASCAR stocker. Way cool.

      • Chris

        Jim, the MKVIII was equipped with power assisted steering which made handling these cars a bit easier.

  15. seth

    I live near Patchogue. They use a lot of salt on the roads here. Beware of rust!! Also it is near the ocean and a lot of damp salt air.

  16. John H. in CT

    Jamie, I own a Mark IX in excellent shape. I’ve redone all the wood leather etc. No doubt this is a 100+K miles car that also been jerryrigged. These came with dual fuel tanks mounted underneath, not like the single one shown in the trunk. These are virtually impossible to find and all the old ones are rusted/ leak. The door inside panels look awful. In my opinion the front seat leather is beyond restoration. There are 42 pieces of wood which are all veneered. Finding/ relacing missing pieces is work. There are signs of moisture in the engine pics. Be careful. A common issue with moisture is the front turn signal pods located on top of the fenders which were leaded in. As rust begins from underneath these start to rise before the paint cracks. Any sign of this is a big fat caution.

    Decent drivers are available for $20K, but a high end Mark VII-IX will set you back $50K or more, interestingly more than an equivalent Rolls. These cars are smooth, surprisingly responsive and elegant. If you get a driver, the nicest enhancement is replacing the Bendix Automatic with a GM 700R4 wich matches the engine very well and can be done for about $2-3K. Finding a standard with OD won’t be imposdible but likely will be quite difficult.

    One correction to the gentleman on head colors. The XK150S head color was “pumpkin”, i.e. orange versus red. Pumpkin was later replaced by gold in the same configuration in XKE’s. These colors were used on the manufacturing line, as different compressions looked quite similar,

    • Chris

      Thanks for the correction. I had forgotten about the pumpkin colored heads. That’s what I get for trying to remember this stuff off the top of my head.

  17. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Condition doesn’t appear bad but worried about some of the costs that he has endured.
    The transmission is a DG-250 by Detroit Gear, used on late 40’s Chevys and Studebakers up until the mid 50’s.
    That gas tank bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not the original, for which there are 2 and the are mounted, one in each rear fender. Like to know what happened, plus you still have 2 fill ports but only one now works, plus capacity is less I’m sure. Also want to know where the spare is to go, this tank mod really limits trunk space.
    Not a 150 head, a previous poster is correct, the color is right.
    Interior is mostly intact and can be saved, headlining might need work along with carpets but those can be done if there’s something to use for patterns. Veneers are intact but need coating but don’t see any delam happening.
    Surprised the sunroof wasn’t opened or mentioned.
    Would say this is a good candidate for your wife but it would depend on his reserve as most tend to overprice them because of the name, not the model. Your wife might like to shift but this is a heavy car, no confusing it with a C-Type, almost seems criminal to have to manually shift this car, but if you do, get the overdrive.
    Familiar with these, have a VIIM and a MKIX.

  18. Brakeservo

    DON’T BUY IT!! Right now you can own a much better built and far more reliable Bentley Mark VI or Bentley R Type for about the same or less cost. Surprisingly, the Bentley will also be much more easy to repair and maintain, but that’s almost irrelevant as it simply won’t require as much attention anyway.

    Just don’t buy the typical eBay low dollar junker, the repair and restoration costs will eat you alive . . . but that’s true in almost any case where one takes low price over value.

  19. Mike Burnett

    Hello from France. I think the racing car is a MK IX due to the slim radiator surround. The MK VIII had a more attractive wider surround (unless they were different for US supplied cars) similar to the Bentley of the same interior. I have 2 MK VIII’s, one of which was imported from Alberquerqe (sorry if I have spelt it wrong) and it is completely rust free. My advice would be to buy one from a sunny state for that reason as body repairs can be expensive. There is a guy in England who can supply all needed parts, new and sometimes secondhand. These are great cars to own and drive, but PLEASE don’t ruin a great car be substituting American mechanics. Keep it strictly original and you will have a well balanced delight to drive that will increase in value. In Europe, the MK VIII had drum brakes but the MK IX had much more efficient disk brakes. The manual cars had 2 seperate front seats wherease the automatics had a bench seat, which can be slippery going round corners, whereas the seperate front seats are much more comfortable.
    I am stripping one of my Mk VIII’s to be a donor car for a d-type replica as it was used as a race car in historic races and the mechanics are fully tuned, with high lift cams, polished ports, etc. so I will have all the chrome and wood parts for sale, plus wheels and gas tanks. By the way, the fuel tanks are different in size to each other. The door skins are very rusted, though. The Alberquerqe car just needs the seats rebuilt as they were baked in the sun. I plan to respray it two tone but can’t make up my mind as to the best colour combination. Any suggestions as to the colour scheme?

    • Don Andreina

      Not sure if it was available then but Golden Sand with red interior. Sorry it’s not a tutone suggestion though

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Mike, how can you chastise others for a substituting a different engine when you are carving up one for a replica? Seems to be a little hypocrisy in that action.
      The MK pictured with the roundels is a MKVII, probably an M, definitely a VII though.
      Most of the cars seating is as you described, though more than a few were equipped with an optional seat by Reuttter, as my IX has and that car is an automatic, and the build sheet coincides. The optional seats recline.
      All the seats are slippery, even the “buckets” or actually more appropriately the split seats were designed for comfort not cornering.
      Yes the tanks are different amounts but less than a gallon last I knew.
      Two-tone, check out the Queen Mother’s ride, it was a two tone dark red and lighter red.

      Good Health To All, Bob Lovell

      • Mike Burnett

        Hi Bob,
        Thanks for the comments. Regarding the accusation of hypocracy, I agonised long and hard about using the mechanicals for a d-type replica, but I should mention that when the car came to me straight from racing it was missing its entire interior, and had just a modern (and poor quality) racing seat, the wood was in a disastrous state and missing pièces, the steering had come from a much more modern XJ6, the fuel tanks were missing, though I bought replacements before deciding to strip the car, the chassis and body were beyond economic repair, being both twisted and heavily rusted, the brakes were also a disk brake conversion from an XJ6 (which I understand meant some tricky machining of the wheels and hubs to fit)and the tyres and exhaust system were basically scrap. Oh, yes, it lacked both bumpers and headlining. Bearing in mind that MK VIII’s and MK IX are plentiful in England at less than half the price you quote for USA cars (I guess because of the high cost of gas in the UK) I felt that the car was beyond viability, but it was not a decision taken lightly.

  20. Mike Burnett

    Sorry, in line 3 should have read ‘period’ not ‘interior’

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Mike, the big ones are sorely missing in the UK, I scoured the place for several months, back in the 80’s, certainly not more of them now. The production numbers are on are side, the majority going to the U.S.
      Personally, I’d never swap out an XK engine for a SBC but I understand why it’s done.
      Fully understand swapping out a V12 to save a sedan and even gave thought about putting a V12 into a MKIX. Love the engine but many issues due to British Leyland cutting corners during the years this engine was developed. The XJS production eventually improved the engine but the Marelli Ignition introduced the owners to half the cylinders shutting down, gas filling the catalytic converter and then FIRE in the hole.

  21. Brakeservo

    If you’re still thinking about this car, I’d be real careful with the seller because when one makes a statement so outlandish such as his claim to have spent $7,000 on the transmission (which is just an ordinary Borg-Warner unit) so we know that can’t be true. And if one lies about something so obvious, what if anything that he says can be relied on?? But as I said above, get a Bentley or old Rolls instead, far better car, much more reliable, and much easier to work on. DISCLAIMER – my comments only apply to 1959 and earlier SIX cylinder Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. The early V8s were trouble prone, the Silver Shadows and newer are a nightmare you don’t even want to think about!

    • Wayne S.K.

      From the comments, I would guess most of you guys have never been married. The headline of this post sums it up quite nicely. His wife wants THIS car!!! :D

  22. Luki

    Buy one in better condition. Either done, older resto or something that at least runs. You will save many $1000s in the long run.

  23. Clay Bryant

    If you don’t do bodywork, it’s probably a good buy as you can put that $60 an hour money into other things. Just buy it and when the heat gets turned up at home you can always tell the wife “I’m going out to work on your car”. Always remember in a divorce, half that car is yours unless you keep track of the hours, then you can up the “ransom”!!>

  24. Brakeservo

    Ah yes, Magnetti Marelli, the company that gave Lucas a good name!

  25. Bernard Firkin

    The fuel tank’s, capacity were 8 English gallons in the Left tank and 12 gallons in the right tank. I remember this well as one time we called at a old time petrol station in Wales where the fuel was pumped by hand by a dear old man in his Eightees. After filling the Main tank he nearly had a Heart attack when my father asked him to fill the other tank.

  26. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    I have both fuel tanks out of my MKVIIM for cleaning.

    Honestly not seeing an extra four gallons in one of them, but more importantly not seeing where the four gallons would manifest itself in the extra area they occupy as the tanks are just on opposite sides of the car that is symmetrical.

    • Bernard Firkin

      Sorry but forgot to mention that my father’s was a 1954 Mk 7. Maybe the capacities were changed in later models. Hands across the water from Central UK.

  27. brakeservo

    Well,you’re obviously not accounting for the difference in time zones!

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