1948 Jaguar MK IV
Year of manufacture1948
Number of seats2
1948 Jaguar 'Mark IV' 3½ Litre Three-Position Drophead Coupé
Registration no. to be advised
Chassis no. 617141
The name 'Jaguar' was first used by SS Cars Ltd in 1936 to denote its new high-performance sports model, the SS100; company founder William Lyons later recalled: 'I immediately pounced on Jaguar as it had an exciting sound to me.'
'SS' originally stood for the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, which had been founded in Blackpool, England by William Walmsley. The company branched out into motor manufacture in 1926, its first major success being an attractive sports saloon on the Austin Seven chassis, the design being the work of Walmsley's partner, one William Lyons. Relocation to Coventry followed and the Swallow range expanded to include models on Morris Cowley, Wolseley Hornet and Standard Sixteen chassis. Marque status arrived in October 1931 with the launch of the SS1, the chassis of which was supplied exclusively to Swallow by Standard, who also provided the six-cylinder sidevalve engine and four-speed gearbox. Although unspectacular in performance, the SS1 went some way towards establishing the pattern for future Jaguars, combining sporting good looks with a better-than-average specification and all at a bargain price. ('Jaguar' would be adopted as the marque name in March 1945, 'SS' having by then acquired a somewhat tarnished reputation).
When peace came some six months later, the newly renamed Jaguar Cars, like the majority of Britain's motor manufacturers, commenced post-war production with a range of pre-war designs, albeit with some minor improvements. Essentially stopgap models pending the arrival of an entirely new generation of Jaguars, these comprised the compact 1½-Litre and the 2½/3½-Litre model, retrospectively known as the 'Mark IV', which still enjoyed an enviable reputation for strong performance, good road manners and well appointed interiors.
Built on a generous 120" (3,048mm) wheelbase, the Mark IV retained a separate chassis featuring beam front and live rear axle suspension on semi-elliptic springs, lever-arm dampers, Burman worm-and-nut steering and Girling mechanical brakes. The stylish all-steel coachwork was available in saloon or drophead coupé forms and featured the kind of luxurious and well-appointed interior that would become a Jaguar hallmark. Used by SS Cars since 1934, the engine was Standard's rugged seven-bearing six which in Jaguar specification was fitted with a Weslake overhead-valve cylinder head and coupled to a four-speed manual gearbox; in 3½-litre form capable of propelling the sturdy Mark IV to over 95mph.
Top the Mark IV range was the decidedly voluptuous 3½-Litre Drophead Coupé, a full five seater that boasted an ingenious three-position hood giving occupants the choice of open, closed or coupé de ville motoring. Utilising the same all-steel body construction as its late 1930s SS Jaguar forebear, the newcomer appeared even more svelte thanks to a revised hypoid bevel rear axle that allowed the floor to be lowered by two inches.
Told by the post-war Attlee government to 'export or die', the British motor industry had responded valiantly, none more so than Jaguar, soon to become the UK's biggest US-dollar earner thanks in no small measure to the success of its XK120 sports car. Jaguar's Mark IV drophead coupé was built for the 1948 season only and almost exclusively for export, the majority being allocated to the USA. Production spanned a seven-month period (February to September 1948) during which only 184 Mark IV 3½-Litre Drophead Coupés were built in right-hand drive configuration (chassis numbers 617001-617184). In his definitive book on the marque - 'SS & Jaguar Cars', written in association with Jaguar Heritage using their detailed archives - All Crouch states that there are only 46 right-hand drive 3.5-Litre drophead coupés left in the world, making this exclusive variant among the rarest of all Jaguar's post-WW2 production cars.
Manufactured in August 1948, chassis number '617141' was retailed via Henlys, London and first registered, as 'GNM 810', on 1st October '48. It is an original right-hand drive, three position drophead coupé, and was delivered finished in black with Pigskin interior trim and Dark Sand soft top. The first owner is not known. Documentation on file states that the Jaguar was bought circa 1952/53 by Mr Brian Gent of Sherbourne Garage, Idle from Messrs Ebdons (Rootes dealers) of Cheltenham as a one-owner car. Shortly thereafter it was sold to Mr Peter Windle, a chartered surveyor of Appleby Bridge, who used the car for several years before consigning it to storage on his property. It was discovered there in 1975 and subsequently passed into the ownership of Jack Poole.
Restoration commenced around 1990, with the car evolving from there onwards while being used on a regular basis. It featured in Jaguar Quarterly magazine in 1992 with details of the restoration, including pictures, etc. The body was removed from the chassis, which was stripped to the bare frame with only minor repairs required. All components were crack tested where possible. The engine block was found to be cracked so a replacement was sourced. The flywheel was refaced and a new layshaft found for the gearbox together with bearings, seals, etc. the braking system was overhauled and the front suspension rebuilt with new dampers, kingpins, bushes, etc. Specialists in Bradford and Ripon re-trimmed the interior, which was completed with new carpets, re-covered door panels and rebuilt instruments. On completion in 1992, 'GNM 810' was considered to be the 'best in the world'.
In November 1997, Jack Poole sold the restored Jaguar to Mr Howard Seymour of Winchester, who used it extensively on events such as the Jaguar Drivers' Club Rally in the USA and JDC tours of Ireland and mainland Europe. While in the Seymours' ownership, the car featured in Jaguar Monthly magazine (December 1999 edition, copy available). By that time, the Seymours had covered some 15,000 miles in the preceding two years; documentation on file shows that considerable further refurbishment was carried out during 1998 while the car was owned by them.
In August 2000, 'GNM 410' was acquired by Peter Clark of Beeston, Nottingham, during whose ownership the car was repainted by Stallion Motors in Nottingham. In addition, the cylinder head converted to unleaded compatibility; the rear axle rebuilt by Eric Battelle (in 2002); and a Getrag five-speed gearbox from M&C Wilkinson fitted, also in 2002. New wire wheels to original specification were fitted in 2003 together with new hubs all round. In 2006 the interior woodwork was refinished by Coopers, while in 2007 a new bespoke carpet set was made by Graham Dean. There was an extensive engine rebuild in 2006, and in 2009 the shock absorbers were stripped and rebuilt. In May 2015 a set of new chrome plated stainless steel wire wheels was fitted, shod with Dunlop Gold Seal tyres. A new mohair hood, with new West of England Cloth interior, was expertly fitted by Kevin Baggs, Poole-based hood specialist, in August 2015. The hood bag in finest Connolly hide matches the red leather seats.
The current vendor acquired the Jaguar in October 2015. The car has recently been the subject of considerable exposure, featuring in the Jaguar Drivers' Club's Jaguar Driver magazine in a three-page colour article (August 2015 edition); the October 2015 Regtransfers magazine in three-page colour article; and the December 2015 edition of the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club's magazine in a three-page colour article.
Noteworthy features of this unique car include: 1939 Lucas P100DB 'bull's eye' headlamps with figure-of-eight pattern lenses and vertical fluting; Lucas PLG40 spotlamps with tri-bars and correct lenses with vertical fluting; Lucas Long Windtone trumpet horns with optional wide mesh fronts; hand operated pillar spotlamps with rear mirrors by Raydot; Desmo oval mirrors; original Lucas wing mirrors; and an original radio aerial. Of particular interest are four rare badges: National Motorists Association, BRDC, BARC and JDC Members Car Club. The car also comes with an original SS tax disc holder containing a copy of the original 1948 tax disc; a complete set of original tools in the original tray, all fully restored; an original factory sales brochure, workshop manual and service book; and an original Art Deco 'Leaping Cat' Jaguar silver-plated bronze mascot by Casimir Brau, signed 'C. Brau' with separate tail and Depose stamping to base. The original four cream-painted wire wheels, hood cover and original 1948 P100L headlamps are included in the sale.
The comprehensive history file contains receipts from dozens of leading UK specialists, who have been exclusively entrusted with the supply of all parts and materials used. Two colour articles in the Jaguar Quarterly magazine of July 1992 detail the seven-year painstaking restoration by Jack Poole, while the Jaguar Monthly magazine of December 1999 details the two-year restoration by Howard Seymour , who took the car to USA and won many concours awards there. The file also contains records of the meticulous 13-year mechanical restoration by Peter Clark; a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate; copies of old V5C registration documents; and an MoT certificate expiring in May 2016 (no longer required). It should be noted that the current, cherished registration '1 RHW' is being retained.