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Jaguar Mk2: Buying guide and review (1959-1967)

Jaguar Mk2: Buying guide and review (1959-1967) Classic and Performance Car
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When it was new, few companies offered a performance saloon to rival the best sportcars, and it’s something that makes the Jaguar Mk2 a rather unique classic buy today. While sportscars of the same era still offer an entertaining drive today, few family-friendly saloons do, making a Jaguar Mk2 an alluring purchase. It’s also the reason that the Jaguar Mk2 was the choice of wheels for hardened criminals fleeing the scene of a bank job during the 1960s. 
 
Find a good example with a few tasteful upgrades, and the driver has something the that not only looks great, but is thoroughly entertaining to drive. 
 
The Mk2 was an evolution of the 2.4 and 3.4 saloons launched in 1955. Known retrospectively as the MkI, these were Jaguar’s first monocoque models and the Mk2 was little more than a refresh of them. But a refresh was all that was needed as they were already stylish, fast, comfortable and luxurious. Even now the Mk2 is all of those things which is why it makes such a superb long-distance tourer.
 
Although purchase prices and parts are often expensive, the Mk2 offers a DIY friendly proposition, which can help to keep running costs sensible. Not much comes close to the classic Jaguar for road presence and timeless visual appeal either, making a well kept example seem like extraordinarily good value.
 
Which one to buy?
 
While few luxury saloons have the same presence as the Mk2, really good examples are scarce. That’s despite excellent parts availability, as well as top-notch club and specialist support; restoration costs are simply too high in relation to the final value. Even though retrims and engine rebuilds are costly, most of the value of a Mk2 is in its bodyshell, so thoroughly checking the structure’s integrity is essential before making any purchase.
 
If Mk2 ownership sounds appealing but you can’t quite stretch to a good one, don’t discount the Mk1, 240 and 340, which all share the Mk2’s structure and mechanicals, but came with a lower specification. As a result, they’re all cheaper, and almost as stylish. Just not quite. 
 
It’s also worth mentioning the S-type – often tagged as the Cinderella car that betters the boisterous Mk2 at two-thirds the money. There’s another stealth Jag closely related to the Mk2 that’s so far under the radar it barely registers a blip: the 420. Not only is it better than both, it’s even better value.
 
Also, don’t rush into buying a 3.8-litre car because it’s got the biggest engine. Received wisdom says it’s the best version but it feels no different to drive from a 3.4-litre car – although the 2.4-litre cars are a long way behind. Even these cars with the smallest engine of all can keep up with modern traffic though, so don’t be too quick to dismiss one. However, it’s the Jaguars with the biggest engines that tend to get the best restorations, so for this reason alone it’s usually best to focus on the 3.4 and 3.8-litre editions – and they’ll always provide the greatest investment potential.
 
Jaguar Mk2 in motorsport
 
By The end of the ’50s the Jaguar 3.4 was realising its potential, with good performances on track in both the UK and Europe. However, when the Mk2 version appeared in ’59, with a 3.8-litre engine under the bonnet, Browns Lane’s newest car was almost invincible.
 
Once again the names of Jack Sears, John Coombs, Albert Powell and Bernard Consten were inextricably linked with Jaguar’s, proving that development and determination were key to racing success.
 
Although the first Jaguar win on the Tour Auto was taken by Da Silva Ramos in 1959 with his Mk1, it was Bernard Consten who would go on to win his class on the Tour four times between 1960 and 1963 with a Mk2. In doing so, he extended Jaguar’s motor sport fame in France beyond Le Mans.
 
The Mk2 is still a popular choice in the historic motorsport scene, and everything that made it competitive during the 1960s means it's still a solid performer today. 
 
Performance and specs 
 
Jaguar Mk2 3.8
Engine 3781cc, in-line six-cylinder
Power 220bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 240lb ft @ 3000rpm
Top speed 120mph
0-60mph 8.5sec
Consumption 16mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual/Three-speed auto
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2730mm
Length 4591mm
Width 1695mm
Height 1460mm
Weight 1448kg
 
Common problems
 
• It’s advisable to avoid buying a project car, without first understanding the huge costs and expert skill involved in a proper restoration. The Mk2 also has a nasty habit of disguising massive amounts of terminal rust underneath shiny body panels, and the first and most crucial structural checks need to be made with the car up on a ramp. 
 
• There is a pair of chassis legs up front, joined to a crossmember, which are crucial to the integrity of the front end. It’s extremely important that these areas are in good shape, as repair is very difficult. Previous repairs should be scrutinised very carefully, as a poor repair is almost certainly worse than an unrepaired joint in the long run.
 
• Five separate panels meet where the chassis legs join the crossmember and the adjacent vertical radiator cowls; look for rot and distortion. Check the base of each front wing and look for uneven door shuts belying everything being out of true.
 
• The Panhard rod mounting in the offside rear wheelarch dissolves and repairs are complicated; the same goes for rotten anti-roll bar mountings. 
 
• It’s just as bad at the back too; corrosion around the rear spring mounting points will eventually spread to various areas, including the wheelarches, floors and sills. 
 
• You should also check under the spare wheel for rust, and although difficult to see in most situations, the fuel tank may also be rotten. 
 
• External body panels, especially the grille and headlight surrounds are susceptible, as well as the zone that the rear wheel spat meets the sill. 
 
• The XK engine lasts 300,000 miles between rebuilds if looked after. The key is 3000-mile oil changes and anti-freeze concentrations being maintained. Expect oil pressure of 40psi when cruising, but bear in mind the fact that gauges are often unreliable. 
 
• If it looks like the rear crankshaft oil seal has failed due to lubricant covering the bottom of the car, then the engine will most likely require a full rebuild. Even if the engine is in good health, it will still need to be removed to replace this seal, which is not a small job.

• The 3.8-litre engine features cylinder liners which must be removed to check for corrosion when rebuilding – it’s not always done.

• The Moss manual gearbox fitted until September 1965 has no synchro on first. Although very strong, it wears out eventually and parts are now scarce, although used boxes are available.

• Most Mk2s have overdrive, so check it engages smoothly. A slipping clutch is bad news as replacing it is an engine-out job. Automatic gearboxes are durable, although the earlier DG unit isn’t as smooth as the Borg Warner one that came later.

• The non-power assisted recirculating ball steering set-up is generally very reliable, although not as nice to use as the power steering cars. The pre-1963 PAS system had a habit of leaking all over place, meaning most have been converted to the newer Adwest box, which also requires a subframe swap.  

• Brakes are adequate, meaning that if they aren’t operating at 100 percent due to seized up calipers, rusty pistons and old cylinders can cause issues. Thankfully all of the parts to rebuild the brakes can be bought from specialists. 

• There are lots of potential problems with the interior and exterior trim because everything is so complex. Almost 30 individual chunks of burr walnut line the dashboard and interior, while 160 individual pieces of exterior brightwork, so check that everything is present and in good nick.
 
Model history
 
Oct 1955: Jaguar introduces its first monocoque saloon, the 2.4.
Feb 1957: The 3.4 arrives; this and the 2.4 are retrospectively called the Mk1.
Oct 1959: The Mk2 debuts with 2.4, 3.4 or 3.8-litre XK engines. There are disc brakes, a wider rear track (covered by redesigned bodywork) and front suspension upgrades, along with a broader radiator grille, a bigger (wraparound) rear window and new front seats with integral rear picnic tables. There’s a revised dash, the sidelights are now mounted on top of the front wings, and where there were previously air intake grilles there are now spotlights.
Oct 1960: Power steering becomes optional.
Jun 1965: An all-synchro gearbox replaces the previous Moss unit; it’s much less clunky.
Sep 1967: The 240 and 340 supersede the Mk2, with thinner bumpers and Ambla trim in place of the previous leather. There are no longer any picnic tables and the fog/spot lights are merely optional.
Nov 1967: The final Mk2 3.8 is made.
Sep 1968: The last 340 is built.
Apr 1969: Production of the 240 ends.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites 
 
• www.jec.org.uk
• www.jaguardriver.co.uk
• www.jaguarownersclub.com
• www.jaguarmk2.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
Of the Mk2 range, the 2.4-litre cars are the cheapest to buy, and if you can live with the lack of performance, £35,000 will get you one of the best. Average cars will sell for £12,500-£22,000, while projects can be picked up from £8000. 
 
It’s the 3.4 and 3.8-litre cars that are most in demand. Prepare to pay up to £65,000 for a perfect 3.4, while the very best 3.8 might retail at more than £100,000. More average cars tend to fetch between £25,000-£60,000.
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Last updated: 4th Jul 2016
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Jaguar Mk2
7950 99500 GBP
  • Jaguar Mk2 3.8 M.O.D

    £32,995 £32,995

    1966, manual with overdrive, finished in Carmen Red with black leather interior, many extras and upgrades including chrome wire wheels, all synchro gearbox, PAS, air conditioning, reclining seats, Mota-Lita steering wheel, £32,995

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
    £32,995 £32,995
    Camberley Marine and Sports Cars
    01252 612 245 View contact number
  • Jaguar Mk2 3.8 Genuine Coombs

    POA POA

    Description The Holy grail Jaguar Mk2, A genuine 3.8 litre “Coombs”. This is one of only 33 believed ever built and recently certified for us by Ken Bell, former workshop manager of Coombs who actually built this very car. Coombs of Guildford were a leading race team in the 60’s preparing and campaigning Mk2 Jaguars with huge success, John Coombs himself piloted the most successful cars from any racing stable at the time. To understand what a Coombs car is, you have to understand the special engineering carried out to the converted cars, with many options available. This car was given the full monte, 9:1 compression pistons, 2” HD8 SU carburettors, special induction manifold, Barwell gas flowed and ported head specially for coombs, D-type camshafts, larger inlet valves, modified distributor, special straight through competition exhaust system centre exit, lead-bronze main and big end bearings, lightened flywheel, high ratio steering box, koni shock absorbers, modified suspension including stiffer anti-roll bar / stiffer coil springs to front / heavy duty leaf springs to rear, extra wide track chrome Dunlop wire wheels, E type all synchromesh gearbox with Laycock de Normandville ove

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1962 Jaguar Mk2 3.8 Manual Restoration Project

    POA POA

    Description This iconic 1962 Jaguar mk2 3.8 Manual overdrive is an opportunity to restore perhaps the most handsome of all sixties British saloons. Originally Green with Tan, the car comes to us complete, and with a running engine. A very successful racer in period, the MK2 3.8 was also the quintessential bank robbers favourite, being practical and spacious, a four door saloon with essentially a race bred engine, very few cars of any type could keep up with a 3.8 MK2 in the 1960’s. Having last been on the road in 2007, she came off of the road to have minor corrosion repair to the usual jacking points and sills, and other light restoration. Due to poor health of the former keeper this was never finished and the car comes to us in need of full body restoration. Many new parts accompany the car, and the interior needs very little work. The car can be commissioned as an original spec restoration, we would suggest into its original green colour, or perhaps she could have modifications mechanically or cosmetically for those wanting to consider delving into classic racing?

    • Year: 1962
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Jaguar Mk2 3.8 Manual Overdrive, 1962. This striking Mk2 was first registered in January, 1962 and has the original engine.

    £56,995 £56,995

    Jaguar Mk2 3.8 Manual Overdrive, 1962. This striking Mk2 was first registered in January, 1962 and has the original engine. The original gearbox has been upgraded to “all-synchro”. All of the numbers are matching and the various invoices and numerous MOT certificates appear to substantiate the indicated mileage of 59k. This stunning example was restored in 2012 by renowned and highly respected company M and C Wilkinson of Doncaster, the family run business of Jaguar engineers and amongst the top specialists in the country today. They have been responsible for a number of rebuilds of period racing Jaguars and road cars. This example was stripped to its bare shell and carefully prepared for several coats of fresh paint. At the same time the engine was fully rebuilt and everything was done that was necessary. All of the suspension was rebuilt with new springs and shock absorbers. New tank and fuel lines at the same time. The brakes were upgraded with new master cylinder, new servo, “Coopercraft” calipers an the front and “XJ” brake calliper conversion at the rear. When the mechanical restoration was complete the car was painted in its original colour of Opalescent Blue. The interior w

    • Year: 1962
    For sale
    £56,995 £56,995
  • Jaguar Mk2

    £32,990 £32,990

    **Now Reserved** Thanks for all your interest.... One of the most versatile and adored 60’s Saloons is the Jaguar Mk.II, and our car, being a UK RHD car with matching 3.8 litre engine and manual gearbox with overdrive is the perfect steed! Offered in very pleasing Opalescent Silver Blue with dark blue leather interior and blue carpets, the timeless colour combination suits the car admirably. We have both the Coombs style and original spats offered with this car so the new owner can choose which it wears. Purchased by its previous owner in 2006, the car when he bought it had been stripped, primed and painted, but the rest of the car was in boxes. With help from a friend they set about completely rebuilding this car to a very high standard, incorporating original components and spending in excess of £16,000 on parts and professional services from the likes of SNG Barratt Group and M and C Wilkinson Ltd. Dispatched in July 1964 via Munn 7 Underwood Ltd of Southsea, Hamshire, our car proudly wore the registration mark ‘CBK 450C’ as it still wears today. We don’t claim this car to be perfect, no car ever is, but it is very fine and we can fully understand the popularity of these cars amongst those in the know for their adaptability, treading a thin line between Saloon and Sports Car, their comfort, and to coin a phrase, “grace, space and pace”…. Viewings thoroughly recommended at our premises near York, North Yorkshire.

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 99000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    £32,990 £32,990
  • JAGUAR MARK II 340 1968

    £24,995 £24,995

    Jaguar Mk 11 340, 1968. Manual with overdrive. Finished in Opalescent Dark Green with Beige Leather Upholstery. Chrome Wire Wheels. Moto Litre Steering Wheel. Stainless Steel Exhaust.;;This stunning example was purchased by the last owner in 1979 and in 1989, he entrusted Patrick J. Lacey (Jaguar Restoration Specialist) to perform a complete ground-up restoration of this Jaguar. The work included total bare metal body restoration and respray, all bright work rechromed, complete engine and gear box rebuild, suspension and brakes rebuilt, the interior had new leather upholstery, carpets, door cards, headlining and all the woodwork was reveneered, plus much more. ;;The restoration back then came to in excess of GBP 16,000.;;Since then, the owner only covered a careful 4,900 miles in this car whilst meticulously keeping and maintaining it to the highest standard. ;;The car is supplied with a large comprehensive history file including the documented record of the restoration and servicing and maintenancesince and has just been serviced and MOTd.;Due to the high standard of the work carried out and the low mileage covered since, along with being meticulously maintained, this car is in excellent condition drives superbly

    • Mileage: 4900 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    £24,995 £24,995
  • Jaguar MK 2

    £19,995 £19,995

    Wire Wheels A lovely example of a mk2 Jaguar finished in Masons Black with chrome wire wheelsOnce owned by Lord David Steel who happens to be the president of the federation of British historic vehicle clubsThe Mk II Jaguar was launched in October 1959 to replace the 2.4 & 3.4 litre saloons, which were immediately to become known as the Mk I. The Mk II was heavily based on its predecessor but had a much lighter and more modern appearance. This was mainly due to a much larger glass area achieved by the use of deeper windows and slimmer window frames that were no longer part of the door mouldings. There were also many detail trim changes, and whilst the interior had undergone a complete redesign, it remained very luxurious with wood veneer and leather in abundance. Mechanically the rear track had been widened and improvements made to the suspension geometry. This particular mk2 has been looked after very well over the years both mechanically and cosmetically we have a very large amount of invoices and old mot's. I have personally covered around 70 miles in this car and its an absolute pleasure to drives the engine starts on the button and pulls nicely through the rev range with the automatic gearbox operating smoothly , The cylinder head was overhauled about 2,000 miles ago.The interior is superb with minimal wear to the seats the wood and floor carpet are also superb and it has that lovely '' Jaguar '' scentOverall this Jaguar is ready to use and enjoy on those sunny Sundays or a trip dow

    • Mileage: 103000 mi
    • Engine size: 3442
    For sale
    £19,995 £19,995
  • Jaguar Mk2

    £99,500 £99,500

    Jaguar Beacham MK2 4.0 Supercharged. Metallic Black Cherry with Cream Leather. 5-speed switchable automatic gearbox. Sat Nav + Reverse camera. ABS. PAS. Air conditioning. Electric front seats with memory on drivers. Electric windows. Electric door mirrors. Electric sunroof. This car is in excellent condition and is a great car to drive. Please contact us to arrange a viewing/test drive.

    • Year: 1967
    • Engine size: 4
    For sale
    £99,500 £99,500
  • Jaguar Mk2

    £55,000 £55,000

    Jaguar Mk2 3.8 Presented in the most attractive colour combination of opalescent blue with a red leather interior. In our opinion one of the best examples available, the car was the subject of a ground up full restoration approximately ten years ago and has been dry stored since. Recently recommissioned by M&C Wilkinson the features include immaculate bodywork & unmarked interior uprated front vented brakes electronic ignition / distributor Koni shock absorbers on the front & rear with Coombs springs rack & pinion power steering E-type straight port cylinder head manual with overdrive all syncromesh gearbox six inch rim wire wheels and much more.

    • Year: 1966
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    £55,000 £55,000
  • Jaguar MK II 3.8 Saloon

    POA POA

    1966 JAGUAR MK2 LHD Production of the MK2 Jaguar ceased in 1967, making our 1966 manufactured car a late example and as such the better for Jaguars policy of ongoing refinement. With the much preferred 3.8 litre engine, automatic transmission and power assisted steering, this is a remarkably modern drive. Indeed, the driving experience is agreeable in every way: Engine start-up is easy from cold and when hot. Gear changes are smooth and the power assisted steering functions correctly. On road test the brakes performed well and all instruments register within tolerance. Cosmetically too the car is striking: chic in Primrose set-off by the refurbished black interior with beautifully finished wood work, it is evident that significant time and expense have been lavished on this cherished car. The engine compartment is finely detailed and the boot clean and equipped with the correct tools. All in all a most attractive example, its appeal enhanced still further by chrome wire wheels. Here is a rare opportunity to own an iconic British sporting saloon, from one of the most prestigious manufacturers and offering practical family transport. Certain to make the new owner the envy of his fellow club members, friends, neighbours and colleagues as well as the motoring public at large. Ready to be enjoyed.

    For sale
    POA POA