Cars, unless they’re kept within families for generations (or left forgotten in a shed), tend to change hands and see the world, winding up at opposite ends of counties, countries and even continents.
However, a classic 1948 Jaguar MK IV sports saloon once owned by Arthur Whittaker (former deputy chairman of Jaguar Cars) was reunited with his family – in mint condition – 67 years after he waved goodbye to it. Sold for a not inconsiderable £70,000 at a recent Brooklands auction in Surrey, its new owners are Whittaker’s four granddaughters – Lucy, Sally, Sarah and Charlotte – who discovered by chance only two weeks previous that the car was for sale.
“Once we discovered grandad’s Jaguar was for sale, we just had to go and see it,” said Sally. “We had no intention of buying it, but sitting in it before the sale brought back so many fond memories of family outings in his cars that we decided we just had to bid for it.”
Built in the Jaguar factory in Brown’s Lane, Coventry in 1948 (one of the last to be produced), the MK IV came with a 3.5L six-cylinder engine, producing 125bhp. The sports saloon was quite the luxury model, trimmed in pigskin hide and featuring walnut dashboard and trimmings, as well as a rare sunroof. The MK IV tag was a later addition – prior to World War II Jaguar was the model name given to a range of cars built by SS Cars, before its name change in 1945.
The MK IV passed through the hands of quite a few owners over the years; what would be a lengthy restoration process began in 1982 by its then owner, completed 22 years later by David Davenport, a classic Jaguar specialist. However, this particularly tasty family treasure won’t be hidden away in a garage under cloth and key.
“It’s just too lovely to leave locked away,” the new owners insist. “The plan is to share enjoyment of the car amongst all our families, including grandad’s seven great-grandchildren. I’m sure that’s what he would have wanted too. All we need now is the picnic hamper and a bit of sun!”