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SNAPSHOT 4: 1949 Jaguar

Trying to come up with an expression to describe this car there was a single word that kept coming to mind: elegant. Checking in the dictionary that it might indeed be appropriate, the phrase ‘graceful of form’ was noted and this perhaps provides a better descriptive. Considering the cluttered background against which the vehicle is seen it could be argued that because of its strength of character the setting almost fades to insignificance.

However, before venturing further into the realms of hyperbole, something needs to be noted about the ‘what and where’. Well, it is of course a Jaguar – the front number plate tells us that, just in case viewers were unsure. Aficionados of the make will possibly snort at the blindingly obvious whilst for those not over-familiar with Jaguars the name may conjure up mental images of XK models, or the E-Type, but this ‘Mark V’ (Roman numeral for 5) preceded them, being current from 1948 to 1951.

There were two versions of the Mark V Saloon, virtually identical visually but with 6-cylinder engines of either 2½ or 3½-litres. Whether this example has the 120-inch wheel-base of the former, or that of 130-inches of the latter is beyond this observer’s ability to deduce. The cars were only subtly different from their predecessors, the doing away with free-standing headlamps being the most obvious advance, whilst the new independent front suspension by torsion bars is hidden from view. Just under 10½-thousand examples of the Mark V were made up to June 1951, mostly the larger engined model, and a small number of drop-head coupés were also built.

As for the ‘where’, the names on the various boards give all that is needed in the way of clues since it is the Paris Motor Show, probably that of October 1949. The venue is the Grand Palais – a name that arguably has a fitting resonance to it for this Jaguar.


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