News : Sir William Lyons’ Jaguar MkX goes to auction

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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The 1961 Jaguar MkX owned by Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar, will be sold at auction later this year at Silverstone Auctions’ Salon Privé Sale, held at Blenheim Palace on 23 September.

Manufactured in December 1961 at Browns Lane, the car was delivered to Sir William in January 1962 and registered to his Wappenbury Hall address in Warwickshire (see pictures). Not just any ordinary Jaguar, this MkX was one of the very first Zenith cars produced and made specifically for Lyons to use as his daily driver and finished to his very personal and exact specification.

Extra features added on Lyons’ request include walnut rear picnic tables, complete with angled mirrors allegedly installed to allow lady passengers to adjust their makeup. Sir William also requested electric rear windows, allowing him to enjoy a cigarette when riding in the back seat, which his wife did not approve of.

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Sir William Lyons used the car for three and half years before it was sold to the Cheltenham Motor Jaguar dealership. It was then purchased by a local gentleman in 1968 who owned the car until he died in 2012, after which it was acquired by its fourth owner.

The current owner purchased the car in 2014 and then decided to subject it to a long-term, comprehensive restoration to near concours standard, carried out by Jaguar specialists under his supervision. The car was then transferred to the Jaguar Heritage facility in Coventry, returning to its production site after 50 years, for final checks and sourcing of minor parts. Now back to its original and exceptional glory, it will be sold at Silverstone Auctions’ most prestigious sale of the year, estimated to sell for between £75,000 and £100,000.

The car is finished in its original colour of Opalescent Dark Green with beige leather interior, and still bears its original Coventry number plate, 7868 RW. The odometer shows just over 71,300 miles, covered over the last 55 years between five owners.

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Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

20 Comments

  1. The best place for this car is surely within the Jaguat Heritage Collection? The cost of purchase should be no problem to them.

  2. A very nice example of a Mark X and being a car personally built for Sir William, it would have to be meticulous. I also recall the Krays being fond of these and again customers you wouldn’t want to disappoint.

  3. Lovely car… looks so impressive, even all these years down the line. As a schoolboy I used to often walk past a Jag MK X parked outside a house on my way home (dark blue if I remember). It looked so posh and big compared to everything else on the roads back then.

  4. A sign of how things have changed over the years – if you see one of these in the flesh today, it’s surprising how small they are compared to present day cars.

    • Are they really “small compared to present day cars”? Wikipedia says its 5100mm long. About the same as the latest Merc S class

      • No, they are not small – they are both long and wide, although not very high by today’s standards. I think KC is thinking of something else, possibly a 420 which people think is the same as the 420G , whereas in fact they are quite unrelated, the 420 being an S type variant

  5. I’ve always admired these cars though it’s a long time since I’ve seen one in the metal outside a car show or a museum.
    Jaguar history books advise that the Mark X and later 420G were certainly not Lyons favourite model.

    I remember Practical Classics magazine running one of these in the early 80s. They did an article about breaking one for spare parts. Of course back in those halcyon days you could pick them up very cheaply and the breakers yards were full of them….

  6. The walnut tables with mirrors were standard fitment , on every mark X I ever saw. ( We had 5 in the family over the years, from January 1963 onwards and I only sold the last one about 10 years ago ). It was a shame that the car was not a great success . The problem was the width in particular, which was difficult to judge because the front was significantly narrower than the overall width, and also the fact that, as so often happens , the looks were not improved with the introduction of chrome side strips on the 420G, and the horrible square clock in the centre of the dash rail introduced at the same time

  7. Being the same age as this car I can remember driving a black one in 1980, a real leviathan of a car so wide and spacious from a time when proper cars were produced.

  8. Didn’t everyone smoke in the early 60s ?

    Yes all the photos I have seen have the picnic tables and mirrors….

  9. Nothing ungainly at all about the Mark X . As for comparison with a P5 ( one of which I have in Coupe form ) the mark X was a car from a different generation in dynamic terms with roadholding and a ride that Rover at that stage could only dream about

  10. My boss had a Mk X and then a 420G (PLU 707E) in the late 60s and if he was late for a morning meeting at our office I would get thrown the keys with the job of piloting the Jag to the underground car park half a mile away through the narrow Mayfair streets. For me it was like guiding an oil tanker. The boss had 5 kids, so he had 5 lap belts fitted across the rear bench seat.

  11. It didn’t sell. Yours to buy now for just over £79,000.00. It seems that the Lyons connection was not enough to tempt buyers. The e-type that once appeared in “Only Fools and Horses” however…..!

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