Rare 1959 Jaguar Mark I With 3.4-Liter Power!

Now here’s a rare find, a 1959 Mark I Jaguar with the larger 3.4-liter version of the famous twin-cam six and an auto box. It’s reasonably intact, particularly the interior, and it’s for sale with an asking price of $13,500 here on Facebook Marketplace in Roseland, Virginia. The mileage is said to be a mere 19,500.

The Jaguar is apparently not running, though the seller says it merely needs a fuel pump. If that’s the case, why not simply install one and present the car as running and driving for a better return? Sellers’ choices sometimes elude me. It’s unclear if the car was running recently. The engine looks dusty, though the coil may have been replaced recently.

What we can see of the Mark I looks promising, though the photo views are fairly limited, perhaps by tight conditions at the car’s storage space. Clean it up, install that fuel pump, and maybe you could drive it as is. My guess, though, is that more gremlins will be found in the mechanics. The Jag looks like it’s been sitting—in dry storage at least!—for quite some time. It also looks very complete.

The Mark 1 is a handsome car, though somewhat overshadowed by its spectacular Mark 2 successor, which had a wider rear track and handled better. Only 37,397 were built between 1955 and 1959, so this is a late production example. The Borg-Warner automatic transmission might turn off some potential buyers—a four-speed Moss manual with overdrive was optional—but the 3.4-liter engine from the Mark VIII (cars built before 1957 invariably have the 2.4-liter short-stroke iteration) is a very definite plus. A road test of a 3.4-liter automatic in 1957 saw an 11.2-second zero to 60 time, not bad for the period.

The photos are so limited that it’s impossible to tell if the car sits on disc or wire wheels and if the tires are holding air. What we can see of the black and silver body reveals lots of dirt, but no visible rust. The latter is an Achilles heel of both the Mark I and II, all old Jags, really. The chrome even looks good.

The biggest plus here is the condition of the interior, which shows both upholstery and the wood dash and door cappings in fine shape. “Wood interior still in great condition,” the seller says. It’s a pity you can’t really see the seats, but they look like they could be original and intact. Even the headliner looks like you could save it.

Potential buyers should run, not walk, from old Jaguars that need complete upholstery and wood refinishing—it gets expensive very quickly. This car somehow escaped the usual neglect and damaging modifications. There are no holes in the door panels for speakers, and the original radio is even in place. The low mileage might explain this—it hasn’t been passed through a succession of owners who valued it less and less highly.

I once passed on a very nice example of this car for $2,000, but that was a long time ago. Today, $13,500 seems reasonable. And the seller is “motivated” and will apparently take less. If you bought this car, would you clean it up and drive it as is, or go the Concours route with an open-checkbook restoration?

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Comments

  1. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Looks a nice honest and not messed with motor.
    I like it!

    Like 4
  2. Bob

    MKI don’t have the race history of the MKII and therefore don’t have the following a MKII has. Their value is much lower than a MKII. A MKI also don’t handle as well as a MKII. This price is high in my opinion.

    Like 2
  3. DualJetfire

    I tried a quick internet search for the fuel pump and could not even find a listing. Assuming the xk 140 or -50 is the same, they are $250. And there seems to be a lot of info on how to get Jag fuel pumps to work. This thing is not for the faint of heart nor light of purse.

    Like 5
  4. Douglas Smith

    The automatic really saps performance My friend and I converted his Mark I in one day to a 4 speed. The approved method is to remove the engine and gearbox as a unit from below, after removing the front suspension. That would require a lift.
    We took the engine out the top. It looked like the launch of a rocket, pointed almost straight up. I changed the clutch in Mark I by removing the transmission tunnel. The owner could not afford suspension and engine removal, and the car wasn’t worth the cost. Operation was a success.
    MarkII’s had a wider rear track, as mentioned above, plus 4 wheel disk brakes. Jaguar never make a car with front disk’s and rear drums.

    Like 1
  5. Tommy

    The MK1 had a more successful racing heritage than the MK11

    Like 1
  6. Maestro1 Member

    Indeed. When restored and up and running, a lovely and elegant driver. It will keep up with traffic, and is serene while doing so. Parts are at Moss Motors or Victoria British. Join the Owner’s Club who will be very happy to advise and help. I would buy it but I don’t have any room. Yes, rust is an issue and you’ll want to look at it’s bones (underneath) and the Seller has done a poor marketing job. I think the price is too high. Yes, fuel pumps are like doing open heart surgery in these cars and be hopeful that’s the only issue, which is doubtful.

    Like 1
  7. Brakeservo

    19,500 original miles my @$$! But well, just maybe. These cars were such unreliable crapmobiles it’s possible it never ran well enough to go farther than that. And before you start dumping on me for being overly negative, let me ask, how many have you actually owned? My Jag experience ranges from a 1938 SS100 through an E Type and includes various XK and saloon models. But no more! Give me a Bentley Mk VI or R Type any day!

    Like 1
    • gerardfrederick

      There simply is nothing worse than a Jag of that era with an automatic. what you get is an utterly unreliable machine with every sort of problem imaginable. They are worse than old Maseratis and those are incurable.

  8. JagManBill

    3.4 is about as rare as chickens in a hen house. Officially, the 2.4 was not exported to the US making the 3.4 the ONLY engine choice on this side of the pond. Now the automatic makes it a bit rare’r only because they were the lease desirable of the model.
    As stated above, it kills the performance. I did have a 2.4 automatic once. It had been a special order as the automatic was not offered behind the 2.4 because what little power was there was zapped even more. Gut-less is being nice.
    Even if the miles are correct, not running its still a $3,500 to $5,000 car. MAX. If it weren’t an autobox car, we’d be talking minimal more. But the autobox in this is a DG250 – yup – same box as in a 49 Studebaker.
    The old adage of rare doesn’t equal value applies here…
    Since “originality” is not a big deal with the early saloons, doing a 4spd, 4spd w/OD or even a 5 speed conversion wakes up the little car and makes them fun. The clutch pedal is already there (the automatic brake pedal uses the standard brake and clutch pedal arms as its bracket).

    On the fuel pump – use any OTC electric pump. BUT…it will probably have to be positive ground unless you arc the generator and convert the car to negative ground.
    I’ve had 3 Mk1’s and 2 Mk2’s and to be honest I prefer the Mk1 for its lack of refinement. My 59 was a 4 spd w/OD, wires and 4 wheel disc brakes from the factory so it handled quite well.

    Like 3
  9. wizzy

    19,500 miles? Nonsense. Condition from photos belies that. Missing its air cleaner: fairly rare. Fuel pump possibly available for http://www.britishcarpartsco.com in Houston. They seem to have all kinds of rare stuff.

  10. MCH

    Agreed – Mark II only has a larger “following” because of (much) larger production numbers, and longevity and being a more recent model. Mark 1s have great racing history – and watch the field at Goodwood for Mark 1s!

  11. JagManBill

    To its defense, the DG250 is dang near bullet-proof. It just has a job to do behind that XK that gives it a workout. If you want a modern automatic in this car, Johns Cars makes a “quarter-breed” conversion that adapts a 700r4 to the Jag engine. Space-wise, thats the only thing that will fit. Ideally, using a BW 65/66 from a Series 3 would be a bolt-in. But it won’t fit (its like trying to put a big round peg in a little round peg hole).
    As an FYI on pricing, locally (Denver, CO) I could have bought a similar car (but with 4spd), a titled parts car AND a Mk2 titled parts car for $3,000 last year.
    Mileage real or not, looking at the photos its going to need a full resto. As such, the mileage is meaningless. Unless this thing has been stored in a pickle jar on Funk and Wagnalls back porch (how many of you get that reference) its going to have rust somewhere. All 5 of my Mk’s while considered “rust free” still had rust in them. Well, all but the 59. The rust was free to fall off at any time…

    Like 1
    • JagManBill

      My comment above about could have bought a 60 Mk2 and parts car for $3k last year?…I just bought them… for $1,200

  12. James HGF

    Mike Hawthorn is always linked to the Mk 1 Jaguar sadly in part because of his fatal road crash in VDU 881 on 22 Jan 1959. It was a shock to read of read of the 1955 Le Mans winner and 1958 World Champion killed in a road accident.

    There is a good UK Mike Hawthorn site that covers his life, his cars, and his racing career. This link is to the 1958 images page which has photos of Hawthorn competing at Silverstone in VDU881 chased by other notables:

    https://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/1958.php

    Each of the images pages from 1950 through 1959 have much of interest to view. The small photos are not thumbnails. One must enlarge the page for best view. A few examples:

    1952 – Frazer Nash sports car, Cooper Bristol and Connaught racing machines.

    1955 – Le Mans win naturally and Hawthorn’s MK VIIM at Silverstone.

    1956 – Mike Hawthorn’s Mk 1 2.4 RKV 455 in competition at Silverstone.

  13. JudoJohn

    Good luck! She lists it as in good condition, ha ha!

    Like 1
    • gerardfrederick

      JudoJohn, be nice now.

      Like 1
  14. JagManBill

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