Tommy Chong’s 1959 Jaguar Mark IX

Few modern performers are as tied to a stage persona as Tommy Chong. Yet even a brief exploration of his body of work will reveal an artist of great range and depth, from his beginnings as a soul musician to stage shows, comedy albums, movies, and television. It should come as no surprise, then, that he is also a car guy and the former (though not current) owner of this 1959 Jaguar Mark IX. Located in Winter Haven, Florida, this classic luxury car is listed here on eBay. At the time of writing, the bid has climbed to over $2,600, and any reserve has been met. In a little over four days, this car is going home with its new owner.

The Mark IX Jaguar saloon was an incremental improvement over the Mark VIII, offering a disc brakes, power-assisted steering, and a larger engine than its predecessor. The 3.8L straight-6 XK engine was good for 220 brake horsepower, giving the big sedan a top speed of over 110 mph and a zero to sixty time between 10 and 11 seconds. This meant that this big luxury car could out-accelerate many sports cars of its day. A manual four-speed with optional overdrive was standard, but another popular option was a three-speed Borg Warner automatic, which is the transmission we see in this example. This unit was unusual in that third gear engaged via a clutch system that bypassed the fluid coupling entirely, thereby losing less power in high gear. Together with the previously mentioned Dunlop disc brakes on both front and rear, these features should help to provide a comfortable driving experience by even 21st century standards.

This particular car appears worn, but not ragged. The paint has flaws, but there might be a good reason: in a 2011 Motor Trend article, Chong reported that he intended to keep the car as original as possible. The current owner states that some carburetor work was done a decade ago, along with some other maintenance. This might have included removing and replacing the third, regulating, carb that resided between the two larger SUs– an element of this engine’s design that has long been regarded as finicky. The interior looks very nice; so nice that I suspect the leather’s been redone. Upholstery aside, we have the expected cracks in the lacquer and discoloration of the headliner. One tear is shown above the right rear door. One of the rear trays bears the fading signature of the former owner– a nice touch, though given the added value provided by the car’s history, one might explore options to prevent its further deterioration.

Even without the connection to a famous comedian, this Jag would be a nice, restorable example of a classic luxury car that can still easily keep up at modern highway speeds. Considering the celebrity ownership, it’s anyone’s guess what the car will ultimately fetch. With the rise of lucrative new industries in several states, it’s not hard to imagine the advertising potential. It would be a shame, though, if the car wound up parked somewhere as a photo backdrop. A car like this, with that classic Jaguar style and performance, practically begs to be driven. Just don’t get pulled over on the way home, man.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Grand old dame, and classy. Check it over make it safe then leave it alone and drive it everywhere.

    Tommy Chong never really got the credit form the public he deserves, but then most Renaissance folks don’t seek the acknowledgment.

    Nice find, Andy.

    eBay link?

    Like 9
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Try refreshing the page, the link should be there now!

      Like 1
    • Loweredexpectations

      Not sure about this one. Noticed something odd about this listing. If you drop “1959 Jaguar Mk IX” into Google images you come upon this link:
      https://www.supercars.net/blog/1959-jaguar-mark-ix/

      Scroll down 4 pics. Note image shown is same car, same setting as seen in fuzzy ebay pic — but without Tommy Chong (TC). Not sure this passes the sniff test.

      Calif license plate 550 LJE is from the mid-1970s. Same plate with same frame when this Jag looked pristine in the pic with Chong. Current pics show same Jag, same plate but now in poor condition. Based on change in car condition, if photo of TC sitting on car is legit, it would have to date to late 1990s -2000s.

      Not sure I believe TC was sitting on the car. Has this pic been manipulated? Juxtaposed is TC’s age vs. declining Jag condition. In pic TC appears relatively old and Jag appears to be in pristine condition. Based on current condition, Jag looks to have aged approx. 20 years since TC photo. In 2021 TC is 83. In the photo, he looks to be between 63-73 years old. That would make it 2001-2011.

      Jump ahead to present day and the Jag looks to be in terrible disrepair. Crazing paint. Interior soiled, rotting & torn. This Jag is now in poor overall condition. As if stored outside for 20 years. Seller provides no back-story. No explanation.

      Note underside images. Rusty. Spare tire wheel well is rotted out. Are we to believe the underside was rotted out when TC posed with his car? Or did all that rotting take place since?

      Is it possible the Jag’s decay could have taken place in only 10-20 yrs since c2001? To accomplish that much damage, this car would need to have been left outside for many years with flat tires.

      Seller claims Jag had a tune up in 2011. Is that when picture of Jag looking pristine is from? Also, Jag pic w/TC looks digital, not shot on film. OK if 2011. Less likely before 2001.

      What does a 1959 Jaguar Mk IX that is run down, and needs a full restoration worth? Mecum Houston sold one in 2015. Seller said he had $100,000 in receipts. In pristine condition it sold for $42,500.

      https://www.mecum.com/lots/HA0415-208490/1959-jaguar-mark-ix-saloon/

      In 2021, 6 years later, Mecum 59 Jag in excellent show condition is now a $35,000. car. About what a Subaru Outback sells for.

      As for TC, his prior ownership adds little or no value. If this 1959 Jaguar Mk IX had been prominently used in a “Cheech & Chong” movie it would have that provenance and be worth more. Or at least spark more interest. But just having once been owned by TC adds little or no value. As it sits, this 59 Jag is worth maybe $12,000. Needs a $25,000+ restoration. After spending $37,000 — what have you got?

      Like 3
  2. Mitchell G. Member

    Hopefully it doesn’t go “Up in Smoke”!

    …Ok, I’ll leave now

    Like 17
    • Sam61

      You bet me to it…that can be the new term for Jag electrical failure. “Up in smoke” or it “Tommy Chonged”

      Like 4
  3. SMS

    Wanted one of these and decided on an S-Type. They are great drivers, and handle well for their size. Could not find one in the condition I wanted, which was a driver. Expensive to restore even to driver level. Looks like the interior has been done and not in the original leather. A common choice as the kits are more than the value of the car. When I was looking into one could find all the parts I wanted. Only a few special bits that were challenging.
    Is a very classy ride and think the person with the time and patience to clean it up will be rewarded.

    Like 6
  4. DRV

    It has a very complex braking scheme and is the reason many sat for decades unused,v besides never being able to get a return on the money invested in these.

    Like 1
  5. JohnfromSC

    Top examples now have strong demand as these are now being more appreciated and prices can exceed $50K. See BaT for examples.

    I know of no intermediate carb. There is a rudimentary starter carb regulated by a thermal switch, easily adjusted, and the main carbs are SUs. Power 4 wheel disc brakes not unusual to service. Only challenge is a power steering rebuild, as only one place in Idaho does it right, restoring warn shaft diameters, not just installing rebuild kits.

    The 3.8 xk dohc pulls all day long. Most of these were built with 3sp borg warner auto trannys that were designed for cruising @ 50mph. The only sacriledge I would consider is pulling the BW AT ( crate and keep) and replacing it with a 700R4 to get an overdrive which it deperately needs.

    Love mine!

    Like 7
    • SMS

      I encourage you to mention the surprisingly raspy sound from the 3.8 that comes out of such a stately car. I found it to be a perfect statement for this car.

      Like 3
    • oilngas

      I put a 700R4 in a XJ6C many years ago. Got the kit from a John in Texas. The best modification ever!

      Like 4
  6. Mikefromthehammer

    I’d suggest pulling off the door skins, as that is where he kept his “stash” (if you can believe the evidence found on the artwork for Cheech and Chong’s album “Los Cochinos”).

    Like 2
  7. Ken Vrana

    About 25 years ago I used to be Tommy’s workout partner in a place called Vince’s Gym. It might surprise you to know that Tommy was a fitness guy and in very good shape – could lift a ton of weights. I have a great pic of him working out with Vince Garonda, Mr. Olympia

    Like 4
  8. Malcontents Misanthrope

    I believe Tommy himself personally chauffeured Blind Melon Chitlin to his occasional gig in this stately ride.

    Like 1
  9. Kurt

    I would expect Tommy to have left something in the ash tray,to keep the offers high 😮. Those Jag engines will really polish up nicely, this could be a real beauty.

    Like 3
  10. David Timberlake

    Very interesting classic car. Interestingly there are web pages with photos of Tommy Chong and (t)his Jag. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tommy+chong+jaguar&t=ipad&iax=images&ia=images

    Like 1
  11. Lowell Peterson

    My main recollection of Chong and his buddy is promoting marijauana. Today they are trying to project as mainstream? What a mess we have made! Alledged ‘celebrity owned’ dosen’t always ad value.

    • SubGothius

      Today marijuana itself is becoming mainstream, and moreso every year as more states legalize or at least decriminalize it.

      • Lowell Peterson

        Legalizing drugs is a sad statement about current American leadership in my opinion.

  12. Ben T. Spanner

    Interior has been done, but not in leather. So what ? Use as is. We used to buy in the mid 1960’s for $600. All of them had bald tires, because car, not truck, 16 inch tires we expensive. The SU carbs and enrichment devices were a piece of cake. Brake caliper kits were cheap as long as the pistons were usable.
    We test drove a new purchase one evening at speed, when the big thick fanbelt did a karate chop on the radiator. We had a used radiator in stock, but replacement required a lot of disassembly.

  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Jul 24, 2021 , 8:15PM
    Winning bid:
    US $9,976.00
    [ 38 bids ]

    • רפי קדוש

      So I do not understand it is a good car a good deal for those who bought it is possible to buy a cash car at a better price

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