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The Jaguar Mark VII Deluxe was launched in 1950 at the 35th International Motor Exhibition at Earls Court in London and is often slated as the most stylish luxury sedan to come out of England after the war. Designed to replace the Mark V, the new Jaguar silhouette took the automotive world by storm. But the Mark VII’s most alluring feature was not its curvaceous line, but its XK engine that could conjure up 160 hp and comfortably reach a top speed of 100 mph. Hence, the Mark VII was the ultimate model: A perfect fusion of luxurious aesthetic appeal with its deluxe cabin, burl walnut finish, and sweeping lines married to the athletic character of a sports car.
In 1952, only 3,349 of the total production of 20,908 examples of the Mark VII Saloons were built. Little had changed from the original design and the model firmly established Jaguar as a coherent brand for sports luxury, outperforming both Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
This glorious Jaguar Mark VII left the factory in Coventry, England, on August 11, 1952, and was acquired from the car’s original owner in 1960 by Harry S. Exline, a United Airlines pilot from San Francisco. The Jaguar remained in Captain Exline’s care for decades and then underwent a body-off restoration by renowned marque experts XKs Unlimited in San Luis Obispo, California. The restoration was completed in 2001, finishing the car in its original and ultimately classic black exterior with red leather interior. In preparation for some serious touring the Jaguar received an upgraded suspension, Avon Racing radial tires, XK disc brakes on the front wheels, and an air-conditioning unit. This example also features the desirable bucket front seats, as opposed to the alternative bench seat often found in the Mark VII. Plus it is an original left-hand-drive car with an unusually large steel factory sunroof, which gives the driver and passengers the feeling of riding in an open car.
In 2005, Captain Exline gifted the car to the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, where it was exhibited for seven years. It was then purchased by Bob Cole of Cole European, a premier Jaguar dealership in Walnut Creek, for display purposes. During its tenure at Cole European the Mark VII received an engine overhaul and a year later a Jaguar enthusiast and collector in Carmel purchased it for his personal collection. The Jaguar is believed to show the original mileage on the odometer of less than 67,000 miles at the time of cataloguing.
For many classic car enthusiasts, the Mark VII epitomizes the classic Jaguar relationship of grace, pace, and space. This magnificent Jaguar is accompanied by a file of documentation and a JDHT certificate. It is undoubtedly one of the most well-presented examples in existence today and will provide its next curator with years of exciting driving, as well as the opportunity to win accolades at numerous events and shows.