Jaguar Monthly Article

Nigel Thorley talks to independent Jaguar specialist and XJ6/XJS guru David Marks, from Nottingham.

If you are an enthusiast who has bough his first Jaguar; perhaps a sporty XJS, as a second car to the everyday Mondeo - or perhaps you are a small businessman, trade is good and you want to show your customers that your business is going places? Your progress from the old Ford Scorpio to a pre-owned Jaguar, an XJ40 Sovereign with a nice service history, or even an early X-300 XJ6 Sport.

If you want to keep the bills low but still maintain a good service record, you need a trustworthy local specialist for your model. Well, for customers in the East Midlands area, David Marks Garages will provide this service.

Jaguar Engineer

Dave Marks, from his upbringing in Cardiff, moved to the East Midlands and qualified in mining engineering, but always had a strong interest in cars, and Jaguars in particular. Owning many examples of the marque, through a combination of self teaching and college, he learned all he could, initially to keep his own cars on the road economically. This later developed into work on a part-time basis, and eventually to the setting up of his own small one-man operation in Bunny on the outskirts of Nottingham and Loughborough. This was September of 1991.

From the start he set his stall out to work on Jaguars, and he had always been a perfectionist. He quickly learned the pros and cons of the Jaguar XK six cylinder engine and, through the purchase and renovation of many a cheap old XJ saloon for his own use, got to understand every aspect of Jaguars.

Initially, work involved servicing and minor maintenance work on locally owned cars for those who neither had the time nor the inclination to do the work themselves, or the money to pass the work onto a Jaguar dealership. Dave Marks' attention to detail, and his ever increasing expertise in the modern cars, from XJ series onwards, soon enhanced his reputation, and business prospered.

Dave Marks doing what he likes best, messing around with Jaguars!

Over the last few years the business has significantly developed, and now includes full mechanical restorations on older cars like XKs and E-Types, but with a strong leaning towards '80s and '90s models, particularly the XJ40 saloons and XJS sports cars. Approximately 70% of his work now involves the latter cars, many of which come from local owners, although he has customers from as far afield as London, and even regulars in Germany and Spain, as well as carrying out work for the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.

Attention to detail is of prime importance to David Marks. Even genuine Jaguar wing covers are used to avoid accidental damage to customers' cars.

Niche Specialist

Most of the modern cars handled by David Marks' Garage are pre-owned examples that have passed down from their first owner and have covered the obligatory 60,000 miles or are 2-3 years of age - in both cases out of Jaguar's own new-car warranty. Dave has created this 'niche' market through his expertise with these cars, his quick response and service, and the fact that he is more economic to use than a Jaguar dealer or many other specialists.

Dave Marks' attention to Detail has meant that, in the last few years he has concentrated on developing his understanding of the complex electrical systems used in the modern Jaguar. He doesn't get involved with the bodywork repairs, spraying or trim, and he doesn't sell cars, but concentrates totally on what he knows best: the electrics and mechanical aspects of Jaguars. Every aspect of mechanical work is carried out in-house except for gearbox rebuilds (although these are carried out as a service to customers).

So successful has the garage been, that Dave has recently moved the operation to much larger premises on the Wilford Industrial Estate nearer to the city. Now operating out of around 4,000 square feet with three ramps, ample parking facilities and all the modern equipment required to maintain a high tech Jaguar, business has never been better. Recent acquisitions include the very latest equipment to test emissions and catalysts, as well as diagnostics.

In the main, genuine Jaguar parts are used in the garage, which includes service kits and other consumables. The garage only uses the best Duckhams oil and grease products. Dave Marks doesn't like most pattern parts, which may, in the short term, be cheaper, but are not as good as the originals fitted to Jaguars when they left the factory. Dave puts a great deal of effort into customer satisfaction and so doesn't wants complaints later if parts fail for the sake of spending a few extra pounds.

Dave admits that most modern Jaguars are quite well maintained, and there are no longer the horror stories of chicken-wire filled bodywork, but he is still amazed at the number of people who commit hard earned cash to buy a Jaguar without any knowledge of the car, and without seeking the help and advice of people who do know them. It is too easy to buy an ill maintained car, but is probably just as easy to buy a good one given a little knowledge and help.

Outside of the daily routine service and maintenance work, Dave Marks also handles complete mechanical and electrical restorations and, at the time of our visit, was working on two Series 3 E-Types, and an S-Type saloon. Although strictly a Jaguar man, he does occasionally digress if a regular customer has something very special, like the Nottingham-built Brough Superior we saw during out visit.

Some very interesting cars pass through Dave's garage; in this case a very unique Brough Superior, in may ways the inspiration for William Lyons' SS, and Later Jaguars.

JEC Technical Adviser

Dave Marks has an affinity with mechanical things, Jaguars in particular, and so is always keen to help others who need assistance. This involves being a Technical Adviser for the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club, and he recently completed a detailed thesis on the use of unleaded fuel in Jaguar engines. He also helps the club out with technical assistance at seminars for those who wish to carry out the work for themselves.

Dave Marks helping out with telephone advice for JEC members.

Dave has his own 'fleet' of Jaguars, which seem always to be growing in size, including: (at this time!) an early XJS, totally rebuilt and modified by himself; an XJS drophead (converted by Dave from a fixed head); a Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas Series 1; a very special ex-titled owner Jaguar Series 3 Sovereign; and, his current prize, a 50s' Mark VII saloon.

The man just loves Jaguars and never seems to tire of talking about them and working on them. A dedicated professional, he is one of a small band of specialists who truly knows what the modern Jaguar is all about.

David Marks Garages is situated at Unit 36, Wilford Industrial Estate, Ruddington Lane, Nottingham, NG11 7EP, Tel: 0115 982 2808, Fax: 0115 982 2030