Restoration of Jaguar Mark X 4.2 1962 model
Jaguar is one of the most charismatic companies in the world producing a glamourous range of automobiles. From its three plants in Coventry and one in Birmingham, have rolled out some of the arguably most beautiful cars in the world. From a humble company making motorcycle side-cars, this company has become one of the finest producers of sporty saloons in the world.

The Mark X is considered by many to be one of the best cars jaguar has ever made. This car was supposed to be the businessman's executive express as well as a comfortable family car. Introduced in October 1961, with a 3.8 litre, 3-carburettor engine from the XK150, the Mark X was quite a quick car inspite of its weight - a massive 3,500 kgs - even the Tatas would be hard-pressed to match that! The most significant mechanical development in these models had been the development of independent rear suspension, as first seen on 'E'-Types. Many cars were sold and praises were showered on this car by all and sundry and the model looked to be a sure success. It did have a number of problems which took some time to eliminate but what mattered was that it was the beginning of a long line of brilliant cars, all descendants of the magnificent Mark X.

The Mark X's engine grew overtime to the 4.2 litre as shown in this beautifully restored classic. The 4.2 litre breathed through 3 carburettors. This particular model is the 420G with a twin-cam 4,235 cc 6 cylinder engine generating 'only' 265 bhp. This lady could run to 100 km/hr in her youth within 11 seconds and keep on running to 200 km/hr. This means that she was faster than the Honda City and could even give the modern Indian Mercedes' a run for their money. After restoration, we timed her to hit 100 in 15 seconds. We touched 165 km/hr on the Delhi-Agra highway; unfortunately all those wandering tractors did not really boost our confidence enough to try her top speed, though she was giving signals that she could do 180 km/hr plus - her accelerator pedal was not yet fully on the floor! Remember all this with a GVW of over 3,500 kgs! I dare any Honda City to manage that!

Her deep bass growls when you floor her throttle is something to give an arm or a leg for. Just to hear her snort through her nostrils would change your perception of sound. No tinny aluminium engine sounds here. Just the deep rumbling of machinery which knows its business. Besides the engine, her beautiful flowing lines are like poetry in motion. They have a very feline look about them which is at the same time graceful, suppine - there are probably few superlatives to describe her. I refer to the Jaguar as a "she" because of her almost alive presence. You can feel her warm, caring look towards you. It is almost surreal.

However, it was not always this way. When she initially came in for restoration, MRF 3001 was literally in two pieces. Her chassis had to be put back in shape and she had to be restored from ground up. Her body was painstakingly put back together by using original Jaguar works manuals for the Mark X. Body panels were fabricated out of pressed steel and the interior panelling was put together as per original specifications. After this, the engine had to be opened up and overhauled. The carburettors were creating problems and original carburettors repair kits were imported from England. The 4.2 litre was given new pistons, rings etc. to bring it back to peak shape. Six platinum tipped spark plugs completed the effort. The car has an electric overdrive which was not working. This was repaired. Two new fuel pumps were required for the twin fuel tanks. The suspension, the steering and the brakes were also totally redone. The Brakes were re-done with Stainless Steel re-build kits.  What proved challenging was however the tricky rear suspension it consists of transverse tubular lower links and universal-jointed halfshafts, in addition to four combined coil-spring and telescopic shock-absorber units, all housed in a separate steel shell or sub-frame, which is rubber-mounted to the body. Further are the radial arms! Though immensely complicated and quite heavy, it gives superlative ride comfort and road-holding. This was a tough job to do!

The interior had then to be restored completely. While a master craftsman hand-stitched the entire leather interior, another craftsman spent his days trying to recreate the beautiful wood lining and trimming on the centre-console and door panels. Even the ash-trays and the picnic tables on the rear seats had to be redone. The cost of doing up the leather interior itself was about Rs. 125,000! Woodwork added another tidy sum to this effort. This car has a factory-fitted rear air-conditioner which initially was very complex to service, because after assembling the car together, realisation dawned that the air-conditioning had a forward mounted condenser and cooling coil but a rearward mounted blower! The whole process of revamping the air-conditioner started all over again and finally the a/c got commissioned. In spite of the fact that the air has to travel a long distance after cooling, it is indeed quite effective. The other complex problem was servicing the factory-fitted electric window lifts. The motors all needed re-winding to bring them back to proper shape and the ratchet of the lifters had to be properly lubricated and slowly worked on to make the windows swoosh up and down noiselessly. Special white stripe tubeless radials were imported from General Tyres of USA who make these tyres especially for classic cars.

After spending 2 years  MRF 3001 became DL 1CC 9106. From a wreck, she had become a beauty and was ready to run. The Jaguar Mark X has been restored by Tutu Dhawan at Engineers' Corporation in Delhi and currently rests in the collection of an unnamed collector. She remains a dream to drive - just blip her throttle and you can mentally see her snorting through her nostrils. She runs like a Jaguar too!

 
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