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

Jaguar Mk2: Buying guide and review (1959-1967) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar Mk2 Jaguar Mk2 Jaguar Mk2 Jaguar Mk2 Jaguar Mk2
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
0 56995 GBP
  • JAGUAR MARK II 1961 Manual Green Petrol 76000

    £36,995 £36,995

    1961 Jaguar MK II 3.8 Manual Overdrive. British Racing Green with Green leather upholstery and Chrome Wire Wheels. One of the most readily recognised cars of the 1960s thanks in part to countless appearances in films and on television, Jaguar's seminal Mark 2 saloon set the standard for the class throughout its entire production life and today remains highly prized by enthusiasts. Its immediate predecessor - the 'Mark 1' - had been introduced in 1956 and is of historic significance, being the Coventry firm's first unitary construction saloon car. The Mk2 offered better all-round visibility courtesy of larger windows, while the Mk1's rear wheel spats disappeared and the rear track was widened, which improved both roll-resistance and stability. The dashboard was redesigned with the speedometer and rev counter relocated in front of the driver, the six toggle switches and four minor gauges being set across the centre. Independent front suspension was by wishbone and coil springs, with a leaf-sprung live axle at the rear. This, combined with superior Dunlop disc brakes all round and a choice of 2.4, 3.4, or 3.8-litre XK engines, provided the discerning, enthusiast driver with one of the finest sports saloons available in the 1960s. In its ultimate, 3.8-litre, overdrive-equipped form, the Mk2 could reach 125mph with 60mph coming up in 8.5 seconds, impressive figures for a saloon of its size even by today's standards. Although there was a slight performance penalty with the optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission installed, the '3.8' in this form was an increasingly popular choice, particularly in the North American market. Representing the Jaguar Mark 2 in its ultimate 3.8-litre/overdrive configuration, this car was first registered to the previous owner in April 1991 having been extensively restored. The Jaguar has given much pleasure and never let the previous owner down. The Jaguar is fitted with power steering and makes the car a pleasure to drive, easily keeping up with modern traffic and very capable of long journeys. Still looking beautiful today and just waiting to be enjoyed in new hands. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. All major debit cards accepted. Delivery can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 76000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    £36,995 £36,995
    TA Classics
    Office 01604 593445 View contact number
    TA Classics
    Office 01604 593445 View contact number
  • Jaguar Mk2

    POA POA

    This is a stunning concours winning Jaguar MK2 3.8 A full nut and bolt restoration was carried out and completed in 2013. An original right hand drive, matching numbers car in the best specification of 3.8 engine with manual overdrive gearbox. One of the best colour combinations of Jaguar Dark Blue with Grey leather trim. This car is equipped with factory fitted reclining front seats, heated rear screen and comes with Coombs rear spats and the original Tool Kit. Please contact us to arrange a viewing/test drive.

    • Year: 1965
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Jaguar Mk2

    £19,995 £19,995

    FOR SALE A delightful Jaguar Mk2 2.4 Litre with two family owners and 51,025 miles. EQUIPMENT Integral body-chassis construction, Zone toughened windscreen, chromium plated window frames, semi wrap-around rear window, front and rear quarter lights, sealed beam headlamps and fog lamps, Jaguar growler front grill, leaping Jaguar bonnet ornament, rear number plate lamp shroud with Jaguar lens, counter-balanced boot lid, ammeter, oil pressure gauge, revolution counter, starter button, panel light switch, rear central armrest, picnic tables to rear, labelled toggle switches, cigar lighter, twin windtone horns. Factory options; Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Dealer accessories; ‘His Masters Voice’ push-button radio. EXTERIOR Built in late 1966 towards the end of the production run of the Jaguar Mk2 and prior to the introduction of the first XJ6, this luxurious Jaguar MKII is finished in the original colour of Opalescent Silver Grey. The paintwork presents beautifully with a deep uniform shine and high polished finish. The elegant curvaceous shape of this iconic model can be fully appreciated with the all panels straight and free from damage other than a minor defect to the top of the passenger front wing. The extensive high-quality chrome finishers are undamaged and in excellent order with only very light aging evident upon close scrutiny. Advocates for originality will note Lucas light fitments and lenses including the Jaguar rear number plate lamp and small side lights incorporated into the front wings which show some discolouration to the lenses. The original rubber trim sections are showing age related deterioration. A magnificent classic Jaguar, a true British Icon. INTERIOR The Dunlopillo foam rubber seat cushions covered in Ambla leather hide in rich Red is well preserved with the leather fully intact and soft, and displaying only light aging. The superbly comfortable split bench front seats have the beautifully machined jaguar seat belt clasps and a sense of occasion surrounds the occupants on every journey! Luxury tufted carpets over thick felt underlay, full matching door dressings and soft velvet headlining are all intact with the headlining showing some discolouration. The handcrafted polished figured walnut instrument panel features a plethora of ornate and fully functioning Smiths gauges and toggle switches, each individually labelled with complete words, as abbreviations and symbols just won’t do! The original Bakelite steering wheel with Jaguar Growler Emblem and horn ring is a work of art. Incredibly, the windscreen mounted running in guide has remained fitted to delight originality seekers along with the chrome Lucas rear view mirror. Reminiscent of a bygone luxury motoring age, even the leather and wood scent will ignite fond nostalgia. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The 2.4 litre Jaguar XK engine is the factory fitted unit and is therefore matching numbers. Featuring the correct twin SU HS6 semi-downdraught carburettors and dual exhaust system, output is quoted at 133bhp at 5500rpm. The engine bay is very clean and the information on the vehicle build plate to the nearside inner wing match exactly to the vehicle records found on the Heritage Certificate. The manually operated four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox changes gear smoothly with no slip but a high biting point and features factory optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Pressed steel bolt-on disc wheels are coloured coded and dressed in the original embellishers and Jaguar hubcaps, and five matching quality Vredestein Sprint ST 185 SR15 are period style fitment with excellent tread. The spare wheel is housed in the lower boot floor complete with the very rare original toolkit in the fitted and lined container. Self-adjusting disc brakes to all four wheels with quick change pads and vacuum servo assistance have benefitted from a recent overhaul. Very advanced for the era. HISTORY FILE Built on the 14th September 1966 at the Jaguar Plant in Coventry, a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate dated 19th June 2018 confirms this example is factory perfect in every respect. Despatched to the supplying dealer, Mann Edgerton on the 31st October 1966 and first registered on the 17th March 1967. Incredibly, the car has remained in the ownership of just two families, all fully traceable in the impressive history file. The first owner is confirmed in both copies of the original buff log book and Heritage Certificate as a Mr Frank Gee, who purchased the car through his company FA & E Gee Ltd before selling to family member Reginald Gee in June 1977. A used car sales invoice from October 1979 confirms the purchase by the next owner, Dr Alfred McKenzie, for the sum of £3,450.00, at which time the car had covered 31,218 miles. Incredibly the car remained in the ownership of Dr McKenzie for 37 years, and only upon his passing has ownership transferred to his son, Colin McKenzie. The history file features a comprehensive record of servicing and maintenance including most notably many invoices from respected specialist, David Wall Vintage and Classic Cars, totalling thousands of pounds and dating back to 1991. The original vehicle handbook and point of sale literature have been kept along with a large fold-out maintenance chart, RAC running-in sign and Jaguar Driver’s Club correspondence. This matching numbers example having covered just 51,025 miles benefits from very unusual fully traceable ownership from new and will continue to delight the next deserving keeper. MOT May 2019, tax exempt, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/Yv4JVHlzleY To see a full set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgfclassiccars/albums/72157698248926234 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1967
    • Mileage: 51025 mi
    • Engine size: 2.4
    For sale
    £19,995 £19,995
  • Jaguar MK2 Coombs 3.8

    POA POA

    Variant name:3.8 , 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 overdrive, Power-Lok 3.73 ratio rear axle, front and rear arches modified by Coombs to accommodate wide track wheels, E type wood rim steering wheel, wooden gear lever knob, push button radio with twin speakers / balance control and roof aerial, reclining seats, heated rear window, foglamp covers and ‘Sundym’ tinted glass. This is a very capable car even today, and in period this was a race car for the road, a supercar of its time and faster than a 3.8 E type. This example has just 1 former keeper, a well-known musician from the sixties, and the most incredible provenance. This car with its special order black trim over opalescent silver grey paintwork, and almost all options chosen, was deemed lost – the Coombs register actually compiled by Ken Bell had this cars whereabouts marked as unknown / perhaps lost. However this was as the owner was very discreet, didn’t publicly flaunt his car and therefore it floated under the radar for 51 years. Cars like this come once in a lifetime if lucky enough, with irrefutable provenance and ownership, from Coombs factory notes on the commissioning of the car, log book showing number of former keepers – ‘none’,down to the build sheet still in its 3 box file thick history. Of the lowly number of cars built, around 30-35 cars total, quite a few have been lost, raced, crashed, taken apart etc, and the ones that have survived are often in different configuration to how they were built. Not this car, she carries all of her original spec, right down to the finest detail, her vented bonnet the only alteration. (we have the original bonnet also). Her only discerning owner maintained her so sympathetically and she has only covered just over 70k miles. This has to be the most original, highest spec, lowest ownership GENUINE Coombs MK2 in existence? A vehicle of serious historic importance, so rare with only twenty something examples left – this recently discovered treasure was thought to be lost forever. Find another. Hilton and Moss are very proud to be the new custodians of such a significant piece of motoring history, be sure to see us with the car at all of the important historic vehicle events next year.

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Jaguar Mk2

    POA POA

    JAGUAR COOMBS MK2 This car had been in the same ownership since the mid-1970s and stored in a barn. The owner’s intention was to one day restore and use the car as everyday transport. Over the passing years the inclination to spend hundreds of hours underneath a classic Jaguar lost its appeal and the car was put on the market. Fortunately for us one of our clients purchased the car and gave us the task of carrying out a complete restoration to bring the vehicle back to as-new condition. Original Coombs MK2 Saloons are few and far between, this one was checked and verified by Ken Bell prior to the purchase. We completed the restoration in April 2011. The history file that comes with this very special car is just as stunning, in a beautiful Red leather bound folder are photos of the car as found, the original logbook, old tax discs, old MOT’s, Heritage Certificate also photos of Mr John Coombs with the car since it was restored and a certificate authenticating the car signed by him. 38 BUY is a very rare and special car that is in excellent condition having been kept in top condition by the current owner. Please contact us to arrange a viewing/test drive.

    • Year: 1961
    • Engine size: 3.8
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Jaguar MK2 Saloon 1968

    €34,950(£0) €34,950(£0)

    Jaguar MK2 1968, 2.4 ltr RHD, overdrive, in very good condition This Jaguar MK2 240 was new delivered on the 6th of june 1968 in Manchester. The Mark 2 has the original colour combination of beige paint with chrome wire wheels and a fabulous red leather interior with the wooden dashboard. The car has the original matching numbers 2483CC engine with the very popular overdrive option. The car has disc brakes all around. This very original Jaguar comes with a lot of documentation since 1969 and is in very good condition. Car has German title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
    €34,950(£0) €34,950(£0)
  • Jaguar MK2 Saloon 1966

    €49,950(£0) €49,950(£0)

    Jaguar MK2 3.8 1966 overdrive powersteering discbrakes Beautiful chique 1966 Jaguar MK2 in British Racing Green with chrome wire wheels. Car runs and drives fantastic and has the optional powersteering and overdrive. This car has the most powerful 3.8 engine in very good condition . Beautiful wooden dashboard, Connolly grey leather interior. Great and beautiful car ready to drive. Car has Holland title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
    €49,950(£0) €49,950(£0)
  • 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 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