1954 Jaguar MKVII

Glowing Jaguar

Dave has installed these original UV lights under the dash of the 1954 Jaguar MK VII. The blue/purple looking lightbulbs are called black lights and

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Jaguar MKVII Update

Our 1954 Jaguar MKVII has had its cylinder head welded to resolve corroded water ways. Ady has also started revuilding the engine after its been

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Jaguar MKVII Update

Tom has been working to wire up the headlights on our 1954 Jaguar MKVII. The Jaguar has been fully painted and is steadily collecting its

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Jaguar MKVII Painted

Our stunning 1954 Jaguar MKVII has been full painted and the panels have been smoothed and flattened. The rest of the body now needs to

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Glowing Jaguar

Dave has installed these original UV lights under the dash of the 1954 Jaguar MK VII. The blue/purple looking lightbulbs are called black lights and the white numbers and markings on the dials will be painted in a substance such as radium (but we’re not 100% sure on whether it is radium). So then, in the dark with the lights on, the dials will glow. Most cars have backlights, so this is a really lovely feature of the vehicle.

1954 Jaguar Mk VII home-time

She’s been with us in the workshops for sometime now but today we bid farewell to our 1954 Jaguar Mk VII.

Looking beautiful and fresh, the car is now ready to be driven and enjoyed, hopefully to have many many more years out on the country roads.

Source: Lancaster Insurance – the Jaguar Mk VII at 70

Over 70 years ago, Jaguar introduced a large saloon that epitomised the famous slogan ‘Grace, Space, Pace’. Here are some useful facts.

  1. Jaguar kept the Mk. VII a secret until its debut at Grosvenor House on 16th October 1950.
  2. The sales material claimed the Mk. VII was ‘An entirely new car of unparalleled beauty’ – and it was undoubtedly a star of Earls Court -The Mk. VII replaced the Mk. V; there was no “Jaguar Mk. VI” as the name was registered to Bentley.
  3. The XK120 was intended as the test-bed for the Mk. VII’s 3442cc DOHC straight-six engine.
  4. The initial price was £1,693, which included adjustable steering, a sliding roof, fog lamps, and (naturally) leather upholstery.
  5. The top speed was a shade over 100 mph – an astounding achievement for the period.
  6. On 25th April 1952 Autocar magazine concluded the Mk. VII was an outstanding car. It has extremely good performance, is very comfortable to drive and to ride in, is very completely equipped, has a modern yet dignified appearance and is very good value – indeed, it is in that respect phenomenal.
  7. 1952 saw the Mk.VII became the first Jaguar available with Borg Warner automatic transmission; albeit on export models only.
  8. Laycock de Normanville overdrive became an optional extra in 1954.
  9. Stirling Moss drove a Mk. VII to victory at the 1952 and 1953 International Trophy Production Touring Car race at Silverstone. Ian Appleyard equalled this feat in 1954.
  10. In September 1954 the Mk. VII was facelifted as the Mk. VIIM, featuring externally mounted auxiliary lamps, improved transmission and flashing indicators.
  11. Automatic transmission was now available on the home market, and Autocar of 11th May 1956 descried the Borg Warner-equipped Jaguar as ‘a happy marriage’.
  12. Famous Mk. VII owners included Diana Dors, Jack Hawkins, Peter Sellers and HM The Queen Mother.
  13. Browns Lane fitted their Mk. VII test-car, registration KRW 621, with lightweight magnesium body panels, disc brakes, modified suspension and the D-Type
  14. The Jaguar crewed by Ronnie Adams, Frank Biggar and Derek Johnstone took first place at the 26th Monte Carlo Rally in 1956.
  15. Later that year, the Mk. VIII made its bow at the London Motor Show.
  16. As compared with its predecessor, the latest model sported a single-piece windscreen and a choice of two-tone paint finishes. The 3.4-litre engine now sported a modified “B-Type” cylinder head. Jaguar also enhanced the list of equipment, and the automatic version even boasted a clock for the rear passengers.
  17. In 1958, the Mk. IX featured the famous 3.8-litre engine and – “firsts” for a Jaguar – power-assisted steering and all-disc brakes as standard.
  18. Motor Sport described the Mk. IX as: the business executive’s ideal motor-car, handsome, impressive, able to hurry to the tune of 0-60 mph in under 19 secs and a top speed of over 115 mph when called upon, yet luxuriously and sensibly appointed and equipped.
  19. British films frequently used the Mk. VII family as screen getaway cars into the early 1960s – perhaps most famously in The Fast Lady.
  1. The Mk. X replaced the Mk. IX in October 1961 – by which time the previous generation of “Big Jaguars” had re-defined an entire market sector.

Protecting the Jaguar MK VII.

Chris has recently put a layer of black protective coating on the underneath of the 1954 Jaguar MK VII. This does exactly what it says on the tin, helps protect the underneath of the car from the elements of the road.

Pressure testing the Jaguar Mk VII engine

Ady has taken a trip up the road to Coltec Racing to pressure test the Jaguar Mk VII engine.

During pressure testing all-bar-one of the outlets are blanked off and then compressed air is fed into the open port on the inlet manifold, this way we can find if the cylinder head is leaking.

It is always worth getting a pressure test because if anything is cracked internally, it will not be visible, however by using our methods we can easily check if any cracks within your components, before repairing and putting your vehicle back to its best condition.

New stereo box for the 1954 Jaguar!

Tamas has fabricated and welded together a new stereo box for the white 1954 Jaguar Mk VII. Kath has then covered it in dark red leather, ready to go in the car!

Cleaning the Jaguar Mk VII gearbox

Before marrying up the gearbox to the engine, Ady has done an incredible job of thorough cleaning the internals. It’s not just about the things you see, it’s important to worry about the things you don’t see too!

Jaguar MKVII Shims

We’d sent the carburettors off and found that the they needed new shims so Ady has worked on making up newer thicker shims.

Jaguar MKVII Engine Progress

We’ve taken apart the exhaust port and fitted new valves onto the cylinder head of our 1954 Jaguar MKVII.

Jaguar MKVII Air Flow Alterations

Ady has been working on our 1954 Jaguar MKVII and has recently turned to address the air flow. He has opened up the throat on the inlet side to gain 2mm for more air flow and done the same on the exhaust.

Jaguar MKVII Update

Our 1954 Jaguar MKVII has had its cylinder head welded to resolve corroded water ways.

Ady has also started revuilding the engine after its been re-bored, cleaned and painted.

Jaguar MKVII Update

Tom has been working to wire up the headlights on our 1954 Jaguar MKVII.

The Jaguar has been fully painted and is steadily collecting its chrome pieces.

Paul has been installing the door cards which fit on the inside of the door.

This is the most recent paint and chrome update as it sits outside in the brilliant sunshine:

Jaguar MKVII Out Of Paint And Into Chrome

Our classic 1954 Jaguar MKVII has officially left the paint bay and gone back into the fabrication bay to have the doors re-attached as well as chrome elements such as window frames, door handles and door catches.

Jaguar MKVII Painted

Our stunning 1954 Jaguar MKVII has been full painted and the panels have been smoothed and flattened. The rest of the body now needs to be flattened and shaped before it goes back into the workshop to have its chrome and trim fitted back in as well as the mechanics.

Jaguar MKVII Gets It’s First Dose Of Paint

Our classic Jaguar MKVII has recieved its first layer of paint. Chris and Matt spent the morning masking the body up in preparation for paint. The body has sat in primer which had been smoothed out ready be painted over in the final cream colour.

Chris started painting the body this afternoon. The doors and outer panels have already been done, meaning that when the body is finished, it will start to resemble the final product all in its original colour. Seen below is the paint process of the body and panels as well as the priming stage.

Jaguar MKVII Update: Paint Prep

Our 1954 Jaguar MKVII has most recently been masked, primed and had a guide coat put over the top to guide Chris and Matt when smoothing the panels. The bonnet has already been painted in the original paint and sets as a good guide for how the rest of the vehicle will look.

The doors were prepared ready for primer. The preparation includes making sure the surfaces are clean and the components are masked up. The primer was the applied by Chris.

Before the MKVII was able to go to the paint bay, James had to add some fabrication to correct some spots of rust and corrosion. The right hand rear quarter panel just behind rear arch was showing some signs of corrosion so James cut out the rust from both the inside and outside layers and then fabricated replacements which he welded in.

Wheels Primed And Painted

Our 1954 Jaguar MKVII has had its wheels painted in Epoxy primer and then painted in its final cream colour. These have been hung up and sprayed in the paint shop and worked on by Chris and Matt.

Jaguar MKVII Shrinking, Shaping and Smoothing

James and James have been working on shrinking and re-shaping the panels for our 1954 Jaguar MKVII however they’ve taken to doing it the traditional way. Using heat, a hammer and cool air, they can effectively reshape anything they need to in a precise and neat manner. By heating up the metal, it balloons and softens the surface, allowing James to hammer it into shape and then use cool air to set it.

James is focusing on making the outside layer of the rear quarter panel, which is made by hand and hammered into place.

After finishing the re-shaping, James could then start with applying the lead primer and then the Tallow Medium and Nealetin, all of which are applied using heat. The tallow medium, traditionally made from goose fat, is heated up and melted so it resembles a spreadable ‘goo’ that can then be worked into shape to provide a flat finish.

We did some filming with James in the workshop where he explained to us what’s going on with the Jaguar in the fabrication bay. Here’s some behind the scenes.

Jaguar MK VII Hides Hidden Time Capsule

Every now and then, these classic cars surprise with hidden treasures. Whether its personalised dashes, objects stashed down the side of seats or a pair of driving gloves in the glove box, its always a pleasant discovery. On this occasion, we found two embedded tool kits in the door cards of our 1954 Jaguar MK VII, containing original and well-used tools, including a grease gun, bulbs and brake fluid. The two hidden tool kits seem like time capsules to 1954. We had worked hard to loosen the bolts and catches to unlock the tool kit and we’re now glad we did!

The job in hand for the two James’ in our fabrication bay was to strip down the doors to bare metal, taking off all the fixtures and sand down the sides. With a lot of rust visible, we’ve applied a filler primer that tackles rust and prevents it from spreading.

The doors first had to come off before they could be dismantled and stripped.

Jaguar MKVII revival

Kath has been working on repairing the seat squabs on our 1954 Jaguar MKVII. She has repaired the rear seat squab as the vinyl had started to come away from the squab. She applied contact adhesive and stuck it back down in place, making sure that the vinyl was sticking neatly around the edges. Kath also had to rip underneath the seat to fit a piece of calico on to the material to stop it from getting any worse.

Ady has also been carrying out a thorough engine service which includes replacing the spark plugs and spark plug leads as well as the oil filter, oil and a new water hose.

Jaguar MKVII Brake Repair

Paul has taken a look at our 1954 Jaguar MKVII and made sure all the brakes are stripped down and ready to be overhauled. The rear brake pipes have been removed and replaced with new components.

Jaguar MKVII Chrome Removal

Our team has begun removing the chrome on the 1954 Jaguar MKVII in preparation for bodywork and paint. For the majority of the chrome, its a realtivily simple removal, for example, the pieces on the windows are easy to remove however some are more difficult and need extra components removed to get to the chrome.

Following the fuel tank renovation, Ady has fitted the oil sump back underneath the car.

Jaguar MKVII Receives TLC

Ady, our engine specialist has been working hard to restore our Jaguar MKVII.

He’s repaired the fuel tank plugs and filters by adding new seals. The fourth image shows the fuel tank plug and filter being screwed into the fuel tank after being repaired. The final image shows the fuel tank sender unit being removed, so Ady could fit a new gasket.

Jaguar MKVII Engine Leak – The Process

We’ve diagnosed an oil leak in the Jaguar MKVII as a result of a faulty component. Take a look at the walk through below to see what the issue was and how we resolved it…

Image 1: MK7 jag engine with the sump off to allow Ady to start working his way into the engine. The sump, or the oil pan, is a metal dish that covers the bottom of the engine block and holds the engine oil when it is not circulating.

Image 2: Oil filter housing.

Image 3&4: The engine sump

Image 5&6: This is the cork seal which we discovered has been fitted incorrectly which lead to the engine leak.

So now what? We’ve identified the issue, its time to fix it!

The cork sealant had been attached incorrectly, meaning it had twisted and more importantly, been let oil out. Ady, our engine specialist has got some more cork and new gaskets to fit either end of the oil sump and across the edges, meaning that the oil will stay where its meant to be.

Jaguar MKVII Renovation Begins

The stripping process has begun for our Jaguar however the preparation procedure itself isn’t a quick job. There are lots of parts that need our attention before it sees the paint shop.

Ady has been working to restore the fuel tanks. Our 1954 Jaguar MKVII has two fuel tanks rather than the standard one however one of the fuel tanks is suffering from severe rust which we are beginning to tackle.

The chrome has also been removed and the parts ordered to fix the engine leak issue. Once these bits have been fixed, this Jaguar can get ready for paint.

Tom has been attending to the wiring in the front of the Jaguar, especially the front headlights which he’s been removing.

Jaguar MKVII’s Quick Start

Our engine specialist Ady has rewired the Jaguar MKVII allowing it to run. This has been done by running the battery wire to the coil as there is a break in the loom meaning there’s no feed to the coil.

1954 Jaguar MKVII Arrives

We’ve had this 1954 Jaguar MKVII arrive in need of a re-wire and re-spray in order for it to leave feeling and looking brand new! Currently stored up at our hanger, this lovely Jaguar will be coming into the workshop soon.