Jaguar has a long tradition of building luxurious saloon cars. From the days of S.S. Cars through today, Jaguar’s luxurious yet sporting saloons have sustained the company. In the mid-1950s, Jaguar was riding high with the success of the XK road cars and world-beating C-Type sports racer. The big MkVII and MkIX were surprisingly successful in British Saloon Car racing at the hands of Sir Stirling Moss and others, but these were huge cars and Jaguar wanted to appeal to a broader audience. In a move to boost sales and help their chances on track, Jaguar introduced the mid-size 2.4 and 3.4 saloons. The new mid-sized car debuted in 1955, built on Jaguar’s first fully monocoque chassis. The curvaceous body was heavily influenced by the XK sports cars as was the same twin-cam engine which was mated to a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. Further refinements to the shape and mechanical spec brought the MkII of 1959 which featured a larger greenhouse, and a myriad of mechanical improvements including the addition of the hot 3.8 liter engine from the E-Type, which, according to legend was the choice motor for getaway drivers and the police alike. The MkII and its derivatives (such as the fully independent 3.8 S-Type) remained in production until 1969 when the XJ6 was ushered in to consolidate all of Jaguar’s saloon models into one line.
In 1999, Ford Motor Company had formed the new Premier Automotive Group in order to capture higher end buyers and expand their global market reach. The new group included Aston Martin, Volvo, Jaguar and from 2000, Land Rover. Particularly in the case of Aston and Jaguar, Ford executives pumped millions in resources into the two struggling firms and in the process managed to successfully turn around their fortunes. Cars such as the XK8 and the DB7 were born of Ford’s management. Of course, there were critics who lamented the shared platforms and some parts-bin engineering, but all told, it was Ford’s influence that saved these two iconic British companies.
Presumably to celebrate his new acquisitions, Ford CEO Jacques Nasser sought the finest examples each of a Jaguar XK150, MkII and Series III E-type for his collection. In his quest, he purchased this stunning 1964 MkII saloon, in 3.4 liter, right-hand drive, manual gearbox specification. The car, #167128, has a very well-known history back to new when it was purchased in the UK by Worth Engineering managing director George Nelson Trotter Pattison. Mr. Pattison used the MkII as his company car for several years, and photos exist showing the car in period at Mr. Pattison’s home. It then passed to David Collier of Surrey in 1967, who enjoyed the car thoroughly for several more years. When purchased by Mr. Nasser some 30 years later, the MkII had already been comprehensively restored by Southern Classics in England. The car was subsequently sorted and prepped for concours duty by Jack Roush Engineering, the famous race shop with deep ties to Ford Motor Company. Roush freshened the car with subtly updated suspension, rebuilt the transmission and overdrive, rebuilt and tuned the carburetors and discreetly added a power rack and pinion steering setup from a later XJ. No expense was spared, and even at a discounted shop rate (Nasser was the CEO, after all) nearly $90,000 was spent ensuring the car was both road and concours ready.
Today, the MkII remains in beautiful condition, looking resplendent in its original colors of Opalescent Golden Sand over red hides. It retains original tools, V5 registration documentation, and an extensive history file. The quality of the restoration is outstanding and it has held up very well, remaining crisp and straight, with concours quality paintwork and fully restored chrome. Along with the power steering, the car was also updated to ride on chrome knock-off wire wheels, shod with blackwall radial tires. It is a beautifully detailed example and the color and quality are simply beautiful. This MkII certainly makes a dramatic statement.
The interior of the MkII is the epitome of mid-century British luxury. Leather, walnut and wool carpets dominate the cabin. The red Connolly hides remain in excellent condition, showing very little wear despite the years since the restoration was completed. Red Wilton carpets are excellent as is the correct broadcloth headlining. The extensive wood work has all been beautifully restored, adorning the dash, door caps, and rear picnic trays. Chrome fittings and switchgear have all been restored to the same high level, as have the instruments and period correct radio. The cabin of this MkII is lovely, inviting and a great place to spend an afternoon of motoring.
Speaking of motoring, the 3.4 liter XK inline six is strong running and well sorted. While it gives up a few cubic centimeters of displacement over its larger sibling, this engine is no doubt a powerful, sweet and revvy unit that rewards with a beautiful soundtrack – particularly breathing through this car’s stainless steel exhaust. The manual transmission is the most highly sought after by enthusiasts, and this example’s original overdrive unit allows for effortless cruising once the road straightens out. The XK unit is also one of the best looking engines of all time. Lifting the hood reveals lots of beautifully polished alloy on the cam covers, intake manifolds and S.U. carburetor bodies. The engine and head are finished in the correct colors, and the rest of the engine bay is detailed with proper decals, labels and fittings. Presentation is excellent, demonstrating the level of care this special car has received since its restoration.
Jaguar is often credited with inventing and perfecting the “sports saloon” concept with its MkI and MkII derivatives, and just a few minutes behind the wheel of this marvelous MkII is enough to see why. This car’s exceptional no-expense-spared maintenance history is felt from the first turn of the wheel. It is a fine example with excellent presentation and an outstanding history that includes ownership by the boss of Jaguar cars. It is ready to be fully enjoyed and will undoubtedly reward with plenty of entertaining miles.
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