Introduced in 1956, the MkVIII was the penultimate version of Jaguar's flagship luxury saloon that had debuted as the MkVII back in 1950. Work on Jaguar's advanced new saloon car had been interrupted by the war and in 1948 elements of the proposed newcomer made their first appearance in other models: the twin-overhead-camshaft engine in the XK120 sports car and the chassis design in the interim MkV saloon. It was not until 1950 that the two were combined in the MkVII. A considerable improvement on what had gone before, the cruciform-braced chassis featured torsion-bar independent front suspension and all-round hydraulic brakes. The 3.4-litre 'six' had already demonstrated its prowess in the XK120 and proved capable of propelling the MkVII's not inconsiderable bulk past 100mph. Priced at a mere 40% of its Bentley MkVI rival but available at first only for export, the MkVII was a big hit in the USA, that market's demands prompting the introduction of an automatic transmission option in 1953. In 1954 the revised MkVIIM appeared, with maximum power increased from 160 to 190bhp, and then in 1956 came the MkVIII. The latter boasted yet more power (210bhp) and torque, making for improved top-gear performance, the maximum speed of this two-ton leviathan increasing to 106mph. Slightly more than 6,000 MkVIIIs had been produced by the time the 3.8-litre MkIX arrived in 1958. Only 158 survivors are known to the International MkVIII Register.
Equipped with the desirable manual/overdrive transmission, this particular MkVIII benefits from a re-spray and renewal of brightwork undertaken in 2010 while it was in the previous owner's hands, though there are no supporting bills. The car has the appearance of a good, solid example and it is hoped that it will be running by time of sale. Offered with old-style logbook.