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Stored For 54 Years: 1950 Jaguar Mark V Drop-Head Coupe

If you went out Jaguar shopping in 1950, you faced two main choices. If a genuine sports car was on your shopping list, a shiny XK120 would have been the best option. However, if you wanted the wind-in-the-hair experience in a car that was a grand tourer, your weapon of choice would have been the Mark V Drop-Head Coupe. Our feature car is one of the latter, and it is also a relative rarity. It has recently been uncovered in dry storage after occupying the same spot since 1967. The owner says that it needs plenty of TLC, but with a six-figure value in the offing, once the work is complete, it deserves more than a mere passing glance. The Jag is located in Wylie, Texas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $42,800, but he leaves the option to make an offer.

The first thing to note about this Mark V is its paint color. It appears to be some form of Green Metallic, but I’ve had no success locating it on Jaguar color charts of the era. I suspect that the car may have rolled off the line in Coventry, England, wearing British Racing Green because I think that I can see traces of this in some spots. That is neither here nor there for the buyer because they will almost certainly strip the panels as part of a high-quality restoration. The buyer will also replace the top if they seek perfection in their work. The panels have accumulated a few dings and marks over more than seven decades, but none of these appear to be beyond repair. For potential buyers, the big news revolves around rust. The panels look pretty clean, which is no surprise for a car that has spent more than five decades in storage in the dry Texas climate. The underside has the usual coating of dry surface corrosion, but nothing that will cause lost sleep. I would expect that this restoration will probably be a frame-off process, which provides the perfect opportunity to treat the corrosion so that this British gem survives for another seven decades (at least). The exterior trim is all present, and while it sparkles in the sun, only an in-person inspection will determine whether its condition is good enough to justify use without a trip to the platers. The glass appears to be in good order, and the overall impression is that whipping the panels and paint into perfect shape should be no more expensive for this car than for any comparable classic from this era.

Tipping back the hood on this Mark V reveals the 3,486cc OHV six-cylinder engine that would have produced 120hp in its prime. Backing this six is a four-speed manual transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels. At 3,860lbs, the Mark V Drop-Head was not the heaviest car on the planet, but nor was it a lightweight. That makes the ¼-mile ET of 20 seconds look pretty respectable. Top speed wasn’t as impressive as other Jaguar offerings, with that six running out of breath at around 95mph. That being said, the Mark V could still cruise effortlessly at 60mph all day, making it an accomplished Grand Tourer. The mechanical story of this Jag is short but sweet. The car doesn’t currently run, and I suspect it hasn’t since the previous owner parked it more than five decades ago. It isn’t clear whether the engine turns freely, but I think it would be fair to assume that the buyer will face the cost of a rebuild even if it does. Since these aren’t particularly complex pushrod engines and parts seem to be inexpensive and plentiful, this process shouldn’t be too expensive.

One area of this restoration that could eat into the budget will be an interior refurbishment. It is upholstered in Red leather, and it has seen better days. Every piece will require replacement, and this could hurt the wallet significantly. The harsh reality is that the upholstery will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $6,000, while it will also require specialist attention to revive the beautiful burled walnut trim and dash. It looks like the plated items and gauges are in good order, but with the information that I’ve located, returning this interior to a factory-fresh state should cost around $8,000.

The Jaguar Mark V remained in production from 1948 to 1951. In that time, the company rolled out 977 examples of the Drop-Head Coupe, and the company built only 577 in left-hand-drive form. How many exist today is unknown.  With a BIN price of $42,800 and plenty to be spent on the restoration, this could never be mistaken for a cheap project. However, the trade-off is that fully restored, it should command a healthy six-figure value. Perfection could see that figure nudge towards $150,000. When you take that figure into account, that makes this restoration worth serious consideration.


  1. Mikefromthehammer

    I think it could still be British Racing Green.


    Like 1
  2. Craigo

    Nice write up, nice car with great potential.

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  3. Kenn

    Is there a reason the engine isn’t the double overhead cam found on the XK120?

    Like 0
    • JohnfromSC

      Kenn, the Mark V was conceived before WWII. Post war Jag originally conceived a 100MPH Saloon to replace it using the XK engine, the Mark VII. But in 1948 the auto market went crazy, while the new saloon design experiencing delays. So Jag designed a new roadster for the new XK engine in two months using a lot of borrowed parts from the Mark V, and the XK120 roadster was born. The rest is history!

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  4. DRV

    My dad’s was a very pale yellow over red. These are the most handsome tourers I’ve ever seen. The size is deceiving as they are smaller than imagined. This one is huge bucks from 6 digits.

    Like 0
  5. Michael L Gregory Member

    I was fascinated with the rear end, which has some styling cues similar to the rear ends of the XKE’s from the sixties. This could be a gorgeous car again if some has deep enough pockets.

    Like 0

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