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This very rare manual Jaguar MKVIII 3.4 Saloon was manufactured at Jaguar Cars, Coventry on the 31st May 1957 and left the factory finished in Indigo Blue over Cotswold Blue with Blue leather upholstery. This is a very special, matching numbers cars with a wonderfully documented history that contains letters from former owners, with detailed accounts of the cars past along with stories about the challenge and rewards of its major 1980’s restoration. The Jaguar was supplied new to J Middlehurst Esq in Ormskirk and first registered on the 20th June 1957 with the registration mark DEK 320. The original brown ‘buff’ logbook tells us the Jaguar first changed hands in 1959, moving to Nottinghamshire and by 1961 was owned and sold by Remfry Motors Ltd in Hull. After a brief stay in Hull, the Jaguar made its way to West Yorkshire in late 1961. MOT certificates from 1971 to 1975 confirm the car was still in Yorkshire but in 1975 with little over 69,510 miles the Jaguar disappeared.
In 1982 the MKVIII was discovered at a coach operators garage (Garforth Coachways Bus Company) in Allerton Bywater near Castleford, West Yorkshire by a Jaguar enthusiast and fastidious restorer who was well known to us having had several dealings with our Company over the years. DEK 320 was in a very poor state and some fabulous photos in the history show the Jaguar being driven out of the Bus Company garage with a Honda 50 fuel tank on the front wing. Further photos and documentation then show the MKVIII being towed with no brakes and trade plates by a 1971 Daimler. Notes on the back of the photos tell us the towed Jaguar was covering speeds up to 60mph towards Castleford! The Jaguar finally arrived at the owners garage for inspection and a full strip down documented by photographs and notes. The body was carefully rebuilt with many new panels to include newly fabricated sills, front wings and on completion of all metal work, the shell was prepared and then fully re-painted in the cars original colour scheme by a well-established Jaguar restorer and founding member of the JEC. The interior was re-trimmed with the exception of the original seats that were carefully cleaned and treated with hide food and re-furbished sympathetically. Carpets were made to original patterns by Suffolk and Turley and woodwork was all re-furbished, a new West of England cloth headlining fitted and amazing attention to detail was carried out including all dashboard knobs having the lettering carefully re-painted by hand. By 1984 the body and trim were completed and the car re-fitted with new chrome work but due to lack of parts availability, the owner had to travel the length and breadth of the country in order to source new parts such as brand new front and rear chrome bumpers.
After completing a mechanical overhaul and major re-wiring, the Jaguar was then toured all round the UK for various events and as expected was used to picking up the odd prize. The Yorkshire based owners travelled all over the UK in the car and photos show the car at its first outing in 1985 at Yorkshire Jaguar Day at Harewood House. The MKVIII was at XK Day in the Midlands in 1986, photos shows the car with other prize winners at Beaulieu in 1987. The car actually won 2nd prize in Beaulieu Concours d'Elegance in 1987, not winning 1st prize due to a mark on the front wing according to the notes! Having seen more recent restorations carried out by the restorer and long term owner, we can say with full confidence the finish, quality and attention to detail of the restoration was absolutely first class in every respect and the notes, detail and photos most certainly indicate this. In 1994 the owner and restorer had to sell the Jaguar due to a house move. To our interest, the Jaguar was sold in 1994 to another Jaguar enthusiast known to us in Derbyshire and by the late 1990's changed hands again and was in Leicestershire. A lovely part of the cars history is that in 2001, the Jaguar's 1980's owner and restorer managed to find the car and buy it back and throughout the 2000's was once again subject of refurbishment and major detailing. During the Spring and Summer the MKVIII would be on the show scene and winter months were spent on major detailing and continuous improvements that kept the car in a beautifully presented condition.
Having owned the car from 1982 to 1994 and again from 2001, the time has come to find a new home for the MKVIII and its important this car has the care and attention it so deserves. DEK 320 is such a special car and it must be cherished, enjoyed, driven and has already provided memories over four different decades for one owner. Sadly the Jaguar has had no use for the past two years so on arrival with us was treated to a brake overhaul and full check over. DEK 320 was driven from our workshops in Malton and is now offered onto the market. Once we secure a buyer for this fabulous, rare car it will be then fully serviced and supplied with a full 12 months MOT. The Jaguar is driving superbly with its original 3.4 engine offering impressive performance and excellent oil pressure. The four speed manual gearbox and overdrive perform perfectly and the Jaguar handles and brakes superbly. Many years on since restoration, it still presents beautifully with a genuine aged feel to it. The paintwork has nicely settled and the body is excellent with superb straight panels and a structurally superb underside. The interior is delightful and whilst we know it has had major re-furbishment, it has the feel of a top class original car due to the nicely aged leather and careful approach to restoration. DEK 320 is a special car with a remarkable history and with matching numbers, original colours, tool kits and its strong condition and previous prize winning accolades, this is a car with true provenance and is the ideal collectors piece that has a history of successful long distance touring meaning that it really can be used and enjoyed too. This is potentially an unrepeatable opportunity and with low survival numbers, this car has to prove an outstanding purchase. DEK 320 also features on the front cover of the Graham Robson book, 'The Big Jaguars'.