X Marks the Spot
The Jaguar Mark X in small-scale
by James Price, images by Doug Breithaupt

The 1960's Jaguar Mark X has been modeled in 1:64 scale no less than five times, which is strange, as this car was not one of Jaguar's more famous motor vehicles

By the late fifties, Jaguar's classic styling was looking antiquated compared to other cars. In a one-two-three knockout, Jaguar introduced three new models in 1959 and 1961. The small Mark II was an update of the 3.4 litre saloon, and was introduced in 1959, while the E-Type was first sold in 1961. The third new vehicle was the large Mark X, also introduced in 1961. The Mark X featured a contemporary design, which was much more modern than the pre-World War II-era "ye ode English" styling of the Mark IX. The stylish, elegant, and luxurious concept for the car was determined by Jaguar's founder and Managing Director Sir William Lyons. The Mark X's hooded quad headlights contributed to the feline-like qualities of the car, and set the design trend for future models, including the new XJ8, which will be released in 2003.

The Mark X was not a high volume seller. The Mark X was the widest British motorcar made at the time, and its size and gas consumption were generally impractical in Britain where roads were narrow and gasoline expensive. Though the Mark X was designed with the U.S. market in mind to compete against American luxury cars, it was not successful here either. During the 1960's, General Motors alone commanded nearly fifty percent of the U.S. auto market, and most foreign car sales were considered the realm of car enthusiasts, the wealthy or the eccentric. With cars like the SS100, the XK models, and the E-Type, Jaguar had cultivated a sporting image. The Mark II fit this image, while the Mark X did not. When it came to a new four door, most Jaguar buyers chose the small, but more sporting Mark II Í, which sold over 90,000 units during its production between 1960 and 1969. This does not include the nearly identical Daimler version of the Mark II model. By comparison, approximately 25,000 Mark X and 420G cars were manufactured over ten years.

Though the Mark X was a rare site even when it was new, that did not stop several 1:64 models of the Mark X from being created. Husky, Corgi's "junior" brand name, created a small scale Mark X in 1964. A couple of years later, Husky's new models were cast in a slightly larger scale, and the earlier model was replaced by a new, slightly larger scale Mark X. Both the small and large Husky models were available as a standard saloon or a fire chief car, which had a tiny chrome plated spot light on the roof. The standard version was available in light or dark blue, as well as a chrome-plated model. Although the model lacks any opening parts, the detail on the car is superb.

Impy went to town with its Mark X, which featured opening doors, hood, trunk, jeweled headlights, as well as realistic looking metal wheels with treaded tires and a steering front axle on early models. Phew! An assortment of colors were available, and the model transitioned to "Flyers" wheels in the late sixties. Unfortunately, Impy slowly deleted some of the features during the model's lifespan, and by 1976, the car had deteriorated into an ugly blob with the opening parts cast shut, oversized generic "toytown" wheels, oversized "5 mph bumpers" and black plastic windows to conceal a non-existent interior. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Matchbox introduced its Mark X in 1964, and discontinued it in 1968. The car was the least attractive of the 1:64 Mark X's, mainly due to its dull metallic tan paint, however it was accurately detailed, and featured a forward-opening hood.

Fun Ho of New Zealand produced a Mk. X model in their range of small models. The rear bumpers do not wrap-around to the rear wheels but it is otherwise an accurate casting. (image courtesy of Kimmo Sahakangas)

And the Mark X lives on. For 2003, Hot Wheels has introduced a customized Mark X, called "Fish'd and Chip'd". Fish'd and Chip'd is a Mark X, converted into a two door, with a lowered suspension, dual headlights, customized rear fenders, and a two-tone paint job. Though the car is pure fantasy, the proportions are quite accurate.

In some sort of strange marketing shakeup, the Mark X became the 420G for 1966, while a medium-size Jaguar 420 was introduced to fill the gap between the small Mark II and the Mark X/420G. Curiously, the Mark II did not receive a name change. The Mark X's new "420G" name signified only subtle cosmetic changes. By 1968, Jaguar consolidated its saloon car line with the introduction of the classic yet handsome XJ series of cars. Soon, all of Jaguar's passenger cars were phased out, with the final 420G manufactured in 1970. Once the Mark X ceased production, Jaguar's car range relied on one saloon model from 1970 until 1999 when the S-Type was released.

Jaguar Mk. X 'fire' (smaller) - Husky

Jaguar Mk. X (larger) - Husky

Jaguar Mk. X (larger) - Husky
Jaguar Mk. X - Impy Lone Star

Jaguar Mk. X - Impy Flyer

Jaguar Mk. X - Matchbox

Jaguar Mk. X - Fun Ho

Fish'd & Chip'd - Hot Wheels