Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jaguar Mark VII: Modernizing Classical Styling

Jaguar introduced its first postwar sedan (saloon), the Mark V, in 1948 and it continued in production into 1951.  Its styling was essentially prewar, however.  The true postwar sedan from Jaguar was its Mark VII, produced 1950-1956.  Background on it can be found here.

Mark VII styling was an interesting mix of themes from the Mark V and borrowings from elsewhere.  Given William Lyons' fine taste in design, the result was pleasing, very British, and a tad behind what American and Italian stylists were doing at the time.


Jaguar Mark V - 1949 - Bonhams auction photo
The grille and headlight treatment is slightly heavy, but prewar in spirit.  The rest of the car is light and airy aside from the wheel covers on the rear fenders.

Jaguar Mark V - 1951 - auction photo
This side view shows the interesting tuck-under profile at the rear of the greenhouse, a feature also found on Jaguar XK120 coupés introduced in 1951.

Jaguar Mark VII side view
Compare this publicity paste-up or retouch with that of the Mark V above.  Similarities include the rear fender spats, the shape of the greenhouse (including that tuck-under profile) and the window design.  The teardrop profile of the rear fender, the lower, longer trunk (boot) and the falling away of the shoulder line aft of the A-pillar give the Mark VII a racier appearance than its predecessor.

Jaguar Mark VII advertisement

Jaguar Mark VII - 1954 - Auctions America photo
The actual Mark VII looks heavier than what is depicted in the advertisement drawing above.  In part, that's because it was indeed a fairly large car.  It would have seemed even more bulky if it were styled in full pontoon-fender mode.  Fortunately, the flow-through front fender profile drops down towards the rear before intersecting the separate rear fender, this lightening the appearance.  The grille and headlamp arrangement strongly hints of prewar design, but also proclaims the Mark VII's English heritage.

Jaguar Mark VII - 1955 - Barrett-Jackson auction photo
The tuck-under top profile helps to give the car a lighter appearance than a conventional profile would have yielded.  This 3/4 view presents the Mark VII in its most interesting, attractive aspect.

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