1952 Jaguar MK VII Chassis no. 713431 Engine no. A77707
*Original right-hand-drive manual gearbox car *Mille Miglia eligible *Superstylish grande routière *Circa 42,000 miles from new
Inspired by the performance of a Jaguar Mark VII in the Mille Miglia of 1953, when one finished 2nd in class, the vendor, a member of the Jaguar Drivers' Club and Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club, acquired this example in New Zealand following a 12-month global search. This particular car was distinguished by its sound chassis and the fact that it had not suffered from the usual ravages of rust and poor maintenance.
As well as the gruelling Mille Miglia, the Mark VII acquitted itself admirably in a variety of other significant motor sports events including the Monte Carlo Rally (won outright in 1956 by Ronnie Adams) and the annual production car race at Silverstone, an event won by the Mark VII consecutively from 1952 to 1956. Jaguar's winning drivers were Stirling Moss (1952, 1953), Ian Appleyard (1954), Mike Hawthorn (1955) and Ivor Bueb (1956). There were also notable entries in the Tour de France Automobile race and Le Carrera Panamericana, making the early Mark VII eligible for some of the most prestigious of present-day historic 're-runs'. Sir Stirling Moss once described the Mark VII as 'a fantastic car... nobody thought that it would do any good, but it really was very good.'
Road tests of the day were unanimous in their praise of the Mark VII's class leading road-holding and handling rivalling a period Bentley Continental, and for its ability to combine Grace, Space and Pace. A standard Mark VII fitted with a C-type spec head even managed to do a record 121.13 m.p.h. over a flying mile in 1953 at Jabbeke in the hands of Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis.
Chassis number '713431' has had only four owners from new, passing to its second owner in July 1967 and the third in March 1997, both in Christchurch. The car was restored in New Zealand during the period 1997 to 2004. On its arrival in the UK circa 2014, this Mark VII was checked over by a noted early Jaguar specialist firm with over £5,000 spent on returning the brakes, suspension and steering to top condition to ensure the car drove as its maker intended.
The Jaguar had been purchased with the intention of competing in the Mille Miglia as it is a fast, comfortable car with excellent ride and handling. It was felt that, because the Mark VII in right-hand drive, manual transmission form is hard to find in good condition (XK120s and XK140s are far more numerous), the likelihood of an entry would be enhanced. It had been intended that the Mark VII would be crewed by the vendor and his 14-year old son, but unfortunately the Mille Miglia regulations require that co-drivers hold a driving licence, so other rally events with a different car are now being planned hence the Mark VII being offered for sale.
Described by the vendor as in generally excellent condition, running well, the car is equipped with a modern five-speed manual gearbox (also offered with original Moss unit); modern stereo system; windscreen washers; period-style flashing indicators front and rear; and period-type cutaway rear spats. The original red leather interior is said to have a mellowed patina, with no cracks to the upholstery and very good woodwork. Most original tools come with the car stored in the original door locker and boot.
Accompanying documentation consists of a full history of the car's New Zealand ownership, including the old NZ logbook; a UK V5C registration document; the MoT certificate from importation in 2014; and recent bills. Also included in the sale is a selection of period advertising and road tests; an owner's manual and workshop manual; a period parts catalogue and various reference books.