Launched in 1955, the 'Mk1' (as it would be known after the Mk2's arrival) extended Jaguar's domination of the high-performance car market in Britain, slotting neatly into the Coventry firm's range alongside the big MkVIIM saloon and the XK140 sports car. The medium size newcomer broke new ground for Jaguar, being its first model to employ unitary construction of the chassis/body. Jaguar's engineers were understandably cautious in their approach, making the bodyshell stronger than it actually needed to be and employing rubber mountings just about everywhere to insulate occupants from vibration and noise. The Mk1 was released with a new, short stroke, 2.4-litre version of the proven XK 'six' but demands for more power, especially from American customers, prompted the introduction of the 3.4-litre version early in 1957. With 190bhp on tap the 3.4-litre Mk1 was good for a top speed of 120mph and could reach 60mph in nine seconds, though if used to the full this greatly improved performance severely taxed the drum brakes. All-round disc brakes were hurriedly announced as an option, becoming an almost universal fitting thereafter. The Mk1 was progressively updated throughout its life before a wholesale revision of the basic design saw it re-launched as the Mk2 in October 1959.
The car offered here is a truly stunning and very rare Jaguar Mk1 built in 1996 by leading Jaguar motor sport specialist Guy Broad as a tribute to the late Mike Hawthorn, whose own much-modified Mk1 was destroyed in that fatal accident on the Guildford bypass. Hawthorn's car was registered 'VDU 881' so this one with its '882 VDU' registration seems particularly appropriate. It is based on a sound body, beautifully finished in correct British Racing Green, and incorporates up-rated mechanical components to replicate the Hawthorn car. Twin 2" SU HD8 carburettors are matched to gas-flowed inlet manifolds, while the engine itself features D-Type camshafts and a ported and flowed cylinder head. Exhaust gases are carried away via a Broadsport six-branch extractor manifold.
Power assisted rack-and-pinion steering affords improved controllability, aided by Koni dampers, Poly bushes all round and Vredestein Sprint Classic tyres, while four wheel disc brakes ensure that the car stops as well as it handles. The Hawthorn theme is finished off with a period badge bar, Lucas fog and spot lamps, stopwatches, period map light and period seatbelts, and correct tools. Hawthorn's Tourist Trophy Garage badge is a particularly nice touch.
'882 VDU' has been the subject of articles in many Jaguar magazines, copies of which are in the history file together with original sales brochures, and the car also comes with a current MoT certificate and V5C registration document. Able to hold its own in modern traffic and said to be a pleasure to drive, this up-rated Mk1 affords the prospect of comfortable travel 'four-up' in some style. It is perfect for attending events such as the Goodwood Revival, Festival of Speed, etc.