|Pekka Valtonen Jaguar Mark 7 M 1955|
British manufacturers in the 1950s generally launched new models at the London Motor Show which took place in October: at the 1954 motor show Jaguar presented the Mark VII M. The engine was of the same size and had the same 8:1 compression ratio, but now the power output was 190 bhp (141.7 kW) permitting a claimed top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h). The standard transmission remained a four speed manual gear box: additionally the three speed Borg Warner automatic, introduced in 1953 but hitherto available only on exported cars, became an option for British buyers.The Mark VII M could be distinguished from its predecessor most easily by the "horn grills" beneath the headlights. These replaced the formerly integrated auxiliary lamps which were now perched on the bumpers slightly further from the centre of the car than before. The newer model also had "wrap-around" bumpers that wrapped a little further along the sides of the car.Early in 1956 a Mark VII won the Monte Carlo rally. During the next few years big Jaguar sedans would play a leading part in British saloon car racing.One year after presenting the Mark VII M, Jaguar introduced their elegant smaller 2.4-litre saloon. In 1956 the Suez Crisis broke. Talk in Britain was of a return to fuel rationing: bubble cars appeared on the streets. For Jaguar the focus switched towards the middle-weight saloons, and neither the Mark VII M nor any of its increasingly powerful but thirsty direct successors would match the production volumes of the original Jaguar Mark VII. Nevertheless, before giving way to the Mark VIII, the Mark VII M notched up 10,061 sales during its two-year production run.