Mark V Restoration Australia

Greeting from Australia. I was recently fortunate (?) to ‘inherit’ a Mark V Jaguar saloon (Chassis # 623972, Engine # S1008 - yes a Mark IV) which hasn’t turned a wheel for approximately 40 years. I’m told it was once used as staff car in the Singapore military before it found its way to Australia where it has subsequently received various degrees of attention and maintenance. This is my first experience with a Jaguar and to say that I am on a very steep learning curve is a marvel of understatement; however, this Forum is a wealth of knowledge and a sincere thanks to you all for sharing your expertise and experiences. To better appreciate my challenge I joined the Ballarat Vintage and Veteran Car Club (the name seems to apply to both the cars and members - particularly when I joined) and their collective knowledge has been priceless in directing me to the better skills and trades in the area. My greatest ‘find’ however, was meeting Bill Angel. As you know he is a Jaguar guru and a regular contributor to the Forum especially on the E types. He has been exceedingly generous with both his time and patience when dealing with a Jaguar luddite and have immense respect for his abilities and professionalism. At the risk of being decried a heretic I do intend making a few reversible ‘changes’ for the sake of safety and reliability; split system brakes with vacuum assist, seat belts, halogen lights, alternator, electric radiator fan and a few other things. If anyone is interested I will provide updates as to my progress and include photos. Again, my thanks to all the Forum members who have (slightly) eased some of my anxieties about taking on such a project. Cheers :smiley



Just a few comments.

I have owned a MKV Drophead from 1950 also with an early post-was MKIV engine, #SL2199 IIRC, for over 21 years and it’ s mostly been a rolling restoration.

You do not need any vacuum assist with the rather large drum brakes. If you want to go two circuit for safety, you can of course, however I have felt that since it’s a very long stroke (110mm) engine with a manual gearbox in case of an emergency you can brakee with the engine and use the parking brake (operational only on the rear wheels).

There are folks in this forum who have been working on MKV’s for over 50 years, so lots of experience. :slight_smile:
Welcome to the club!


Ps. I have never felt any need for any of that other stuff either, halogen lights, LED’s, alternator, seal belts etc. One good alternative is to just use a solid state (hidden) charging control if the basic relay would not work that well. Other than having all lights on and engine at idle the generator provides more than enough electricity / voltage.

And if the engine and thermostat are working as designed there is more than enough of cooling capacity so no electric fan would ever be needed. I did replace the diethyl ether bellows thermostat with a 4.2L E-type thermostat as advised by the great Australian pushrod Jaguar expert Ed Nantes. After that I have not experienced any cooling issues whatsoever. YMMV.

Get it running first and see what it’s like. A big part of the charm is that they are so simple. :smiley:

G’day Ziggy,

Looks a superb/original Mark V from your two photos – well done!

But 623972 was built on 27 June 1950, was Lavender Grey (probably still is) with Blue interior (cant see), and was dispatched from factory on 17 Aug 1950 to main Australian Distributor/Dealership – Brylaw Motors (Melbourne). So maybe direct to Australian Military (I have no records of first owner), who may well have used in in Singapore, or indeed who knows if it was lent/given to Singapore Military, but some interesting history for you to follow up…

Can you advise your Victorian Rego Number as on the visible Rego label on the side window, and its expiry date…. That will be a major clue also….

Would love to get a photo of its Tool Kit, regardless of its current status…


Roger Payne



Hi Ziggy,
You’re almost a neighbour to me (I’m in New Gisborne). Congrats on the inheritance, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you progress. I’ve done the Dynomator change to my MKV and also the halogen headlights etc.

If you get a chance, go to the Concours held by the JCCV on 19th of Nov. at Wesley College. There’s normally about a dozen SS, IV, and Vs in total on show (and a couple hundred of the more modern varieties)

Happy to chat about your project or lend a hand too…
Cheers Jon. Chassis 621204

Hi Folks, I’m not sure if this a ‘reply all’ or individual response so apologies if I don’t get it right. Firstly I am pleasantly overwhelmed by your prompt responses and advice. Pekka, I’ve been following your engine rebuild and balancing during the short northern summer in the garage of your holiday house. Well done. When I stripped the engine I found that the head was cracked but was able to be repaired (thank goodness). I having the combustion chambers cc’d and machined for equal volumes, fitting stainless valves and valve seats, and having the inlets ported and polished. The bores were found to be 20 thou oversized so I went a bit further and am fitting slightly higher compression pistons (8.2:1). Thanks for your sage advice and I will gladly consider it.
Roger I can understand as to why someone thought it may have been a military staff car as the Lavender Grey looks more like a faded Olive Drab. The interior had been re-done in red vinyl but I found remnants of the original blue vinyl when I stripped the interior. Its last rego number was HJR 933. There wasn’t much of the original tool kit left and I found more stuff in the bottom of the boot lid than in the actual tool tray but l will sent a photo of what I have. I’m fortunate that I have the starting handle but need to buy things like a wheel brace. Thanks for being such a sleuth.
Jon, thanks for the response. Do you feel that your enhancements add to the safety/drivability of the car without compromising its character? The concourse sounds marvellous and I hope we get a chance to meet there if you are going.
Again thanks to you all for your encouragement and making the effort to respond so quickly. It just goes to show what a great bunch of enthusiasts there are on this Forum. Cheers

I believe @angelw lives in Ballarat, and is a wealth of information, plus a great contact for all your machine shop needs.

Hello Ziggy, welcome to the joys of the Mark V. Here are a few thoughts on your early movements down the road with this car.

When engines became worn out in Mark V cars, it was easy to swap in a rebuilt engine and send the worn out engine for work. This meant that earlier engines (such as S-series) were likely to be ready on the shelf when a later engine needed a refresh. The engines are pretty similar, the variations are good to know about when facing specific repair work.

The shop and parts manuals are viewed by many as essential. The manuals can be found at online auctions, originals are not hard to come by. The parts manual had a useful updated version in 1959, but either original or updated are mighty useful. All the shop and parts manuals are available in digital format as well. It is good also to have the Mark IV manuals, especially if one has an S-series engine.

For your engine rebuild, it has been my experience that valve seats in the head are neither necessary nor will fit. If your engine builder develops a struggle to do the seats, you may wish to consider not using them. Valve guides are worth careful measure and replacement, these engines routinely smoke from oil sucked down the guides if valve stem seals are not used (originals did not have seals). I’ve never seen a head where recession was an issue. In oversizing the cylinders, my car runs well at 70 thousandths oversize with custom pistons (that was one option possible when I did the rebuild about five years ago, my car has 125,000 miles on it now). 20 thou oversize in your case encouragingly suggests a low mileage engine.

Perhaps doing your upgrade list as required to get the car legally on the road is worthwhile minimal first steps. You may find the cooling system has zero overheating problems when working correctly (I live in Southern California and the summer heat has never led to engine overheating in my kept-original cooling system). The generator is more than adequate if the charging system works as original. Seatbelts may be considered worthwhile, they give a sense of concern for safety, but given the steering and windshield proximity they may not constrain sufficiently in case of accident. Belts also need a careful design in their attachment points, the floor material may not support bolting in accident-force situations without engineering consideration. I have belts in my car and use them, but drive with extra caution compared to modern cars (and because modern car drivers often don’t know the safety margin needed with older cars). All of the updates you suggest sound fine, delaying implementation will give you experience with the car prior to making the changes.



Welcome to the forums Ziggy.
Just to assure you this is a reply all so no need to post seperate replies, if you wish to bring something to a particular poster you can @Robin_O_Connor (for instance) and they will receive an email to alert them.

Greetings from Australia.

Beautiful car

I personally would make none of the modifications you listed until you have it on the road, with the possible exception of brighter headlight globes, if you intend night driving.

You are blessed beyond measure to have Bill to advise you and assist in any repairs presumably (I dont know him personally)

The one thing I advise any owner of anyvintage vehicle owner is to add additional high mount & visibility LED braking lights

This is because most old vehicles have low mount, small or inconspicuous brake lights, which can also be slow to activate

I have a LED strip inside my Jag rear window, activated by a pedal mount switch, totally invisible till it comes on, then it lights up like garish xmas tree

I also did this on my 5 ton WW2 truck that had top speed of 70kmph, and any car that rear ended me would go under the rear and probably seriously injure or kill any occupants

Take a look at the brake light location every new car, then drive behind yours in traffic

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Hello Paul,
Some years ago, I discovered that I was allergic to quinine in tonic water I found this out quite by accident and with observation, for it seemed that every time I had a few Gin and Tonic drinks, I would become lightheaded, unsteady on my feet, vision somewhat blurred and had a terrible headache the next day. :grimacing:

Ziggy is respectful of my condition and brings beer. :grinning:




This is what Lavender Grey should look like!

A faded Lavender Grey might look appropriate for a military car in the desert, like British controlled Egypt.

A faded Suede Green might look like an olive drab military car.

Folks, thanks for all your considered comments and sage advice. Long before I took my newly-acquired Whitworth spanners to the vehicle I bought the Service Manual, Spare Parts Catalogue and Operating & Maintenance Handbook to try and get an idea of what I was up against. I then spent a few months ruminating over the car to plan a logical attack. Although I took lots of photographs I now wish that I had taken more. I found that some interesting fixes had been applied over time.

. Who needs rubber bushes and split pins when garden hose and a nail is just a good, eh!
The thermostat housing is a work of art and I can but assume that one of the earlier owners was a plumber.
. I’m trying to find a replacement for the Thermostat Body Assembly (C 1952 or C 1956) but with no luck so far. Please let me know if anyone has an idea on where to get one.
When I removed the sound proofing from inner boot surface (yes it was green) I found that a Mr W W had left his mark for posterity. Either than or its some sort of code (from British controlled Egypt perhaps ?)

The Lavender Grey on the Mark IV does look attractive but I have decided to go for a two tone colour scheme (similar to Timothy’s) as the vehicle will never be a concourse car given it doesn’t have matching numbers. I plan for it to be a nice Sunday car.
If anyone is interested I will provide progress on my Sisyphean task and equally I hope that I can tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience on this forum. I am on a very steep learning curve but you all give me a bit of confidence that I might get there.
Again, my thanks to Bill particularly given his delicate condition and allergy to Tonic Water - more beers on the way, bro.

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If you want to have a car that recreates the 1940s scene then Lavender Grey is an excellent choice. These quite subtle colours were very popular back then. I must admit that for many years I teased a friend about his Lavender Grey MkIV describing it as drain pipe drab as it is very close to the colour I use to blend in with the masonry of my house. I think we should keep our cars in period and not paint them to look like Goldfinger’s Roller.


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That thermostat housing can possibly be saved if you are good with an air die grinder and cutting wheel grinding those welds apart.
If the thermostat itself is gone, you can actually run without one, if you block off the bypass hose feature in some way.
Otherwise there ought to be enough of them in Australia, as that was a big market for the Mark V.

According to my research and help through the Jaguar Heritage Museum, it was not uncommon for factory production workers to sign or initial their mark on “hidden places” of the cars they assembled. Many of the trim and internal fittings were apparently carried out by ladies on the production line (during and after the war), so your “Mr W. W.” might well have been a “Mrs” or “Miss”.

My 1948 MK IV had Brenda’s mark on the back of the dashboard which I found when I first stripped it down for restoration. I varnished it over and its still there for historical record - only perhaps to see the light of day by the next person to take the car apart!!

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So, how long did it take from the 2nd of July until the car was shipped?


According to the Heritage Certificate the car was sent to Henlys of London at the end of November 1948, and onto the first owner in early December.

Whoa! That’s a long time at the factory.

My 1.5ltr MKIV was at the end of the production before the 2.5 and 3.5 took over. I am aware from Jaguar Heritage that there were delivery problems of this standard engine at that time, and according to factory records my car had a change of engine before it even left the factory. Also the MK V was coming on line, so maybe the old girl wasn’t a normal build schedule in view of getting other cars out the door quicker.