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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 cars for sale

11 Search results
Jaguar Mk2
24500 44500 GBP
  • Jaguar - MKII - 1961

    €50,000 - €65,000 est. (£44,580 - £57,954 est.) €50,000 - €65,000 est. (£44,580 - £57,954 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Catawiki Auctions
  • JAGUAR MARK II 3.8 Manual Overdrive 1967

    £32,995 £32,995

    1967 Jaguar MK II 3.8 Manual Overdrive. Opalescent dark blue with grey leather upholstery. The ultimate iteration of the Mark II model. This fantastic Jaguar is an original home market right hand drive car. This late model MK II was supplied with full specification which included wire wheels, power steering, limited slip differential and the improved gearbox. The car was put into storage in approximately 1976 and remained there until 1988. The car was then treated to a two stage restoration, phase one was undertaken and the brief to the restorer was to keep the Jaguar as original as possible, this meant lead loading as necessary during a bare metal re-paint to the original dark blue. This work was completed in early 1990 at a cost of GBP 14,000. The second phase of the restoration was undertaken by Vicarage, their invoice GBP 8757. The history file contains all of the restoration invoices as well as rebuild photographs and an invoice for the engine re-build as well as a copy of the original log book. Phase two was completed in 1992. In 1993 the car was sold and has resided in the Nederlands, no expense has been spared on the upkeep and the history file comes up to date and the Jaguar has only covered 6,000 miles since restoration. The car starts on the button and drives without fault. The 3.8 engine is very strong and pulls very well with the correct oil pressure. The Jaguar has also had coopercraft calipers and vented discs fitted as well as an upgraded power steering rack. We rarely see a history file as comprehensive as the one offered with this car. Correspondence from past owners accompany invoices from recognized marque specialists. This car really is a credit to its former owner and just waiting to be enjoyed in new hands. Please call for any further information. Absolutely any inspection welcome. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Part exchange welcome. Delivery can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 5000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.781
    For sale
  • 1963 Jaguar MK2 3.8 Sedan

    POA POA

    The ultimate iteration of the seminal Mark II model, this 3.8-liter overdrive-equipped example which has been very well cared for during its lifetime, exhibiting many original finishes throughout. Its matching-numbers original engine has been recently rebuilt. Since in Classic Showcases care this Mark II has undergone the following services: the under carriage was restored, new suspension bushings added, new exhaust, new U-joints, new bearings/seals /axles seals installed, replaced ball joints and A-arms, the braking system was rebuilt, the engine and hydraulic systems were completely rebuilt, rebuilt the carburetors and distributor, performed a tune up, added a new aluminum radiator, changed out the water hoses, added a new fuel pump, epoxy sealed the gas tank, added new carpet overlays in red British material with heel pads, it was shod with new tires, it was wet sanded and buffed to a lustrous shine, and it had the original bumpers and over riders re-chromed. This Mark II already had great interior wood and headliner. The minimum was done to the interior to keep the original patina intact, keeping with a very elegant look. It runs and drives well, and is outfitted with wire whee

    • Year: 1963
    • Mileage: 912 mi
    For sale
  • Jaguar MK 2

    £24,500 £24,500

    Wire Wheels Excellent opportunity to own a classic icon from the 60's.It is believed that this car was off road between 1989 and 2003 when ownership reverted to the current recorded keeper. Subject of a previous, lengthy restoration and stated to be in excellent order. Assorted expired MoT certificates and tax discs come with the car.

    • Mileage: 48000 mi
    • Engine size: 2483
    For sale
  • Jaguar MK 2

    £24,500 £24,500

    Wire Wheels Excellent opportunity to own a classic icon from the 60's.It is believed that this car was off road between 1989 and 2003 when ownership reverted to the current recorded keeper. Subject of a previous, lengthy restoration and stated to be in excellent order. Assorted expired MoT certificates and tax discs come with the car.

    • Mileage: 48000 mi
    • Engine size: 2483
    For sale
  • Jaguar Mk2

    €44,500(£39,676.20) €44,500(£39,676.20)

    Jaguar Mk II 3.4 Litre, year 1963. Colour dark grey metallic (Gun Metal Grey) with a red leather interior and red carpet. This beautiful Jaguar comes with a remarkable and extensively documented history. The car was ordered by a Dutchman via the Jaguar representative in Teheran (Iran) in 1963. The new owner had a trip planned with the car. For this purpose, the factory had the car shipped to Greece… In the year 1984 the Jaguar was registered in the Netherlands. All the original booklets come with the car and a log-book in which a lot of history has been recorded. This Jaguar Mk II is in very good condition and the car drives beautifully. This Mk II is a sought-after model fitted with a manually operated gearbox and overdrive! We speak Dutch, English , German and French. Our cars can be delivered with Dutch, German or Belgium registration. We can assist with the French registration. Transport to your door is possible. We have our own workshop facility with 25 years experience with classic cars.

    • Year: 1963
    • Mileage: 33223 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
  • Jaguar MK 2

    £24,500 £24,500

    Wire Wheels Excellent opportunity to own a classic icon from the 60's.It is believed that this car was off road between 1989 and 2003 when ownership reverted to the current recorded keeper. Subject of a previous, lengthy restoration and stated to be in excellent order. Assorted expired MoT certificates and tax discs come with the car.

    • Mileage: 48000 mi
    • Engine size: 2483
    For sale
  • Jaguar MK 2

    £24,500 £24,500

    Wire Wheels, Service history Excellent opportunity to own a classic icon from the 60's.It is believed that this car was off road between 1989 and 2003 when ownership reverted to the current recorded keeper. Subject of a previous, lengthy restoration and stated to be in excellent order. Assorted expired MoT certificates and tax discs come with the car.

    • Mileage: 48000 mi
    • Engine size: 2483
    For sale
  • 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
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