The Jaguar Mark V is a luxury automobile built by Jaguar Cars Ltd of Coventry in England from 1948 to 1951. It was available as a four-door Saloon (sedan) and a two-door convertible known as the Drop Head Coupé, both versions seating five adults. It was the first Jaguar with independent front suspension, first with hydraulic brakes, first with spats (fender skirts), first specifically designed to be produced in both Right and Left Hand Drive configurations, first with disc centre wheels, first with smaller wider 16″ balloon tyres, first to be offered with sealed headlamps and flashing turn signals for the important American market, and the last model to use the pushrod engines
The Mark V was introduced to distributors and the press on 30 September 1948 and launched on 27 October 1948 at the London Motor Show at the same time as the announcement of the XK120, with which it shared a stand. The XK120, though not quite ready for production, was the star of the show. However, the Mark V vastly outsold the XK120 by roughly 5,000 cars per year as compared to 2,000 cars per year for the XK120. Three cars were built in late 1948 and saloon production was well under way at the factory on Swallow Road at Holbrook Lane in the Foleshill district of Coventry by March 1949, though the DHC was delayed for some months, and the last cars were built in mid 1951.
The origin of the Mark V name, always printed in company documents as a Roman numeral V, never an Arabic number 5, is somewhat mysterious as there had been no Mk I to IV Jaguars and the MK IV designation was only given to its predecessor after the launch of the Mark V.
Chairman and chief stylist William Lyons (Sir William after 1956) and his team of body-shop assistants known as panel beaters put together five prototype bodies with various chassis experiments in the 1946-1948 period before he was satisfied with the result, and the chosen one was known as Mark V in internal documents. Lyons explained this in a speech given on 30 September 1948 to introduce the new car to distributors and members of the press, so that is how the Mark V got its name.