Poor Man’s XK? 1957 Jaguar Mark I Coupe

Yesterday we covered the subject matter of doors, and how many are too many using this 1966 Checker Aerobus as an example. It seems as if two doors is the preferable count for older, collectible cars. So what happens if you can’t find the two-door version that you desire? Just build it yourself the way some imaginative soul converted this 1957 Jaguar Mark I into a two-door coupe. Yes, it’s a sight, and other surprises abound too, so let’s look her over. This Jaguar custom is located in Houston, Texas and is available, here on craigslist for $9,000. Thanks to Chuck F for this most unusual discovery!

The Jaguar Mark I was a relatively short-lived model, existing from the 1956 model year through 1959. Sales were fair with approximately 37K sold, all told. As for body variation, however, there wasn’t any as the Mark I was only offered as an intermediate size four-door sedan – what’s referred to in the U.K. as a “Saloon”. So what happened here? There’s no telling as the seller laconically states, “Great car for custom restoration“.

Well, it looks like the customization has already started, probably some time ago, and for my eyes, the end result is not too pleasing. It’s not the metalwork, mind you, the cutting, chopping, welding, etc. seems to have been well facilitated, it’s the overall, awkward appearance of the body, especially from the B-pillar back, it just doesn’t look like it belongs. The few words included in the listing, written in a punctuation lacking e.e. cummings style, all run together but you can pick out one snippet that claims, “minimum amount of rest for year” which I interpret as “minimum amount of rust“. And yes, there is some noted corrosion in places but it’s not serious, not yet anyway. One place where rust will always manifest itself is on those cheesy chrome-plated aftermarket wheels – I don’t think that I have ever spotted a set of those that weren’t corrosion-afflicted.

There are no images of the Chevrolet in-line six-cylinder engine that now powers this custom. Yes, that sounds odd and seems like a low-rent substitute for a Jag Mark I but maybe the original  2.4, or 3.4 engine went kaput and the Chevy was an available and inexpensive replacement. Whatever the case the seller does advise, “runs good, drives fair“. An automatic transmission provides the hook-up but the model is not disclosed. Note in this underside image, it appears that the floors have been made from something similar to thin sheet aluminum or steel.

The interior is a work in progress. While the floors and transmission tunnel look fabricated, the original wood instrument panel is still in place but not in the best of condition, it could probably be refinished, however. Most of the original switchgear and gauges are still where they belong. The aftermarket wooden steering wheel is an appropriate addition and lends itself well with the clean tan vinyl seat and door card upholstery. There is one image of the rear interior that will give you an idea of how the custom quarter panels and quarter window formation came about.

OK, so I’m left with a big why? Why the conversion and why the Chevy six engine? It’s hard to say but you have to appreciate an imagination regardless of how the end product turns out, right?


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  1. mike

    Really nothing good can be said about this poor Jag….sorry seller

    Like 17
  2. Pat

    Looks like it’s doing 55 standing still

    Like 3
  3. scott m

    Hard to appreciate if the proportions work with those tight shots

    Like 6
  4. Slomoogee

    The question is why? But to each his or her own. If any car deserves a big blower and fat tires on the rear this one does. After looking at the photo of the underside a degree in fabrication is not a option you can do without.

    Like 3
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Looks like the Night Welder got to that transmission mount. You’d like to hope he didn’t do the rest of the welding. Visually the car wouldn’t look bad if a larger rear quarter window was installed instead of a vent window.

    Like 4
  6. Ben T Spanner

    I once replaced a clutch in a MK I . The factory way is to remove the sub frame and engine from the bottom. The car wasn’t worth the labor, and the owner did not have that much money. I removed the transmission tunnel. My finished product looked better.
    We converted another Mark I from auto to 4 speed by removing the engine from the top. It looked like a space launch as it was almost vertical.

    Like 3
  7. Sam61

    Past the point of no return. $1,500 tops. My idea would be to cut the roof off, full fender skirts, cockpit tonneau cover and straight 6/rwd BMW drive train. Total waste of money but you’d have something unique.

    Like 1
  8. DeeBee

    An abomination of a once beautiful car! I wouldn’t subject it to the public as yard art!

    Like 8
  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Fascinating. I’ve seen Jaguar Mk1 4 door sedans, but I’ve never a 2 door coupe version.

    Like 1
  10. Martin Horrocks

    The MK1 Jag was a twitchy car. The MK2 had a wider rear track. Cutting the wheelbase down and filleting the floor isn’t going to help in any direction.

    But the man who built this was probably not a listener….

    Like 3
  11. Rick in Oregon

    Boy, you just can’t unsee that…..I cannot image why but lets face it, we’ve seen the 57 Chevys and the VW buses. Not that those were ever a good idea either…..to each his own I guess. Talk about robbing a cars value.

    Like 5
  12. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    I have seen some abominations on this site but this one has to take the cake!

    Like 4
  13. Alan R Church Member

    Well this horrific abomination of a legendary name, did spawn some of the more comical comments!!!!

    Like 2
  14. Lowell Peterson

    I am with Sam61! Lose the top put a 4.2 3 carb Jag and a moss 5spd tidy up the amatuer floors and underside mods and it could be a kool one off??

  15. scottymac
  16. charlie Member

    There are two reasons one would want a Jag of this era – looks or performance. This has neither anymore. The Chevy 6 because it would fit, but the probable Powerglide was to big to fit (the Borg Warner 3 speed automatic that Jags used must have been smaller or the Chevy block was longer). If it still had the looks, I could overlook the Chevy 6, if it still had the engine, I could overlook the “coupe”.

    Like 1
  17. Brett Lee Lundy

    from the beltline up is out of proportion, needs a 2′ chop in the front to a 3.5-4″ out of the back, the other option is a permanent convertible
    to eliminate the disproportions. then LS swap, with a mini tubbed rear, its not like your negatively effecting the value

    Like 2
  18. Gerard Frederick

    Tarantino could use it for one of his horror ¨master pieces¨.

    Like 1
  19. Billyboy

    FrankenJag! It lives!

  20. Bill McCoskey

    Another situation where the person creating the listing, simply held the “0” key down too long. He probably meant to offer it for $900, as that is what this car is worth. Or perhaps he meant $90, as that’s about what general scrap price is at today.

    This is also a great teaching tool. Today’s lesson: Just because you can, is not always the best route to take.

    Now for some math: In the antique car hobby or business, here is a perfect example of the fact that 2 plus 2 can equal 3, or even 1.

    The NADA price guides list a 1957 Jaguar Mk1 sedan’s low retail value as $12,700. That price is based on a running but unrestored car needing typical repairs.

    There is a nice running and driving MK2 with a recently rebuilt engine, and it has the more desirable overdrive trans. The asking price is $10k

    We don’t know if this was a running car or if the original engine was even in the car, but let’s assume the engine was there but not running, and the floors needed attention. It’s still would have been worth between $4,000 and $6,000.

    Like 1
  21. OzyJohn

    OMG! How could someone actually do that to a Mk1.
    Obviously had no idea. So sad.

  22. Denis Z

    OK. So it doesn’t seem reasonable or financially sound to destroy what looks to have been a restorable Jag. That said, lose the side rear windows and the drip guard. The droopy look disappears and it looks more like what the customizer intended. Maybe the car was damaged in an accident making this a fun build. It does need a little help but the right touch could make this a cool car. But not $9000.00 cool.

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