The Jaguar Mk II, may be the best-recognized English sports saloon in history. Deemed the “gentelmens express” the Mk II was loved in movies by British bank robbers for their quick getaways, while also transporting those of privilege to and from work. Sharing a nose similar to that of the XK140 and XK150, the Mk II brings sports car appeal to a very practical four-seat saloon. “Grace, pace and space” was one of Jaguars slogans for the Mk II, and as far as we can see, it’s extremely accurate.
Announced in September of 1955, the Jaguar 2.4 sedan fit neatly in the model range between the Mk VII and XK140, bringing responsive handling with style and luxury to the sedan market. Available to the public in 1956, the 2.4 saloon was powered by the fuel-efficient 2.4 litre 6 cylinder engine, however customer feedback would prompt the release of a 3.4 litre 6 cylinder option in 1957.
While the Mk I proved a success, it wouldn’t be long before an improved and further upgraded version, the MK II would be debuting in late 1959. It was at this point that the 2.4 and 3.4 Mk II saloons arrived on the scene, and the former 2.4 and 3.4 models would be dubbed the MkI.
From the exterior subtle details distinguished the Mk II from its predecessor, such as increased 18% glass area in the cabin, resulting in narrower roof supports, and now chromed door window frames. Other differences included the significant modification of the rear skirt, as a result of the rear track widening 4.5 inches, greatly improving handling. Further aesthetic changes included a slightly larger grill for increased airflow, with fog lights replacing the small round grills beneath he headlights on later cars.
With the Mk II 3.8 it would be however what one couldn’t see from the outside that would make the real difference. Under the bonnet of this Mk II lays the Jaguar 3.8 litre dual overhead cam engine also shared by the XK150, making the Mk II the fastest production sedan at the time. Making 120 mph achievable, this saloon rockets from 0-60 in 9.4 seconds. Front and rear disk brakes now came standard, thanks to the D Type proving them worthwhile, so this Jaguar can stop and well as it can accelerate. Commonly described as “the one to have” the 3.8 remains the most desirable of the Mk II series, both by drivers and investors.
This example comes with maintenance records spanning over the last 21 years, starting with caretaker Mr. Reuel Myers of Medford Oregon. While originally supplied with a sluggish factory 3 speed automatic transmission, this Mk II was upgraded to a 4 speed manual transmission with records noting the replacement of clutch disks prior to Mr. Myers, ownership. Mr. Myers did complete an amateur restoration on this car, including a re-spray in white and has listed his expenses totaling over $4,000.00 in 1993. However by 1994 at age 84, Mr. Myers would sell the car to Peter Brevig a few hours away in Portland Oregon, with records showing the odometer reading just under 11,800 miles. Under Mr. Brevigs ownership a very nice black interior was installed by G.W. Bartlett as well as a new steering rack, $500.00 Kenwood sound system and fuel pump. Records document maintenance and servicing until the car was sold after having enjoyed 5,300 miles of driving by the year 2000. Our next documented change is in 2006, when the car was acquired by Jack Jenkinson, of Virginia with the odometer showing just over 19,000 miles. The paper trail of service receipts would continue with new tires, and water pump, shocks, and slave cylinder, in addition to proper servicing and maintenance.
2011 however would be the year that a full cosmetic restoration would be commissioned, with the removal of all bright work, front and rear windshields, and receipts totaling to just over $11,000.00. Now wearing Jaguar Ivory 07-08, the quality of the restoration shows when walk around this car.
Two years following the restoration, the four speed manual transmission would be yet again upgraded, this time to a custom 5 speed manual transmission with overdrive, at a cost of over $8,815.00. Work preformed would include the installation of a custom-built aluminum alloy bell housing, new DOM propeller shaft with new universal joints and propeller flange all done by American Powertrain of Tennessee. Chrome shift lever and period correct Jaguar style 5 speed gearshift knob blend in well with the Jaguars interior.
As you approach this Mk II, you’re immediately awed by the radiant waterfall style grill, slightly larger than that of the Mk I, with strong resemblance to that of the XK140 and 150. All exterior lamp lenses are clean of any scrapes or cracks. Beautiful wire wheels shine in the light and are an extremely desirable factory option with this car, as are the side mirrors mounted on the front wings. The paintwork is not without minor imperfections, only noticeable upon close inspection. The body has the odd stone chip from occasional use, however one must look closely to find them. Undercoating applied during the restoration is a nice addition, helping to prevent the weather taking its toll on the metal work in the future. Bright work is in fair condition, and from more than a foot away any flaws are not noticeable minus one dent in the righthand windshield trim only.
Doors all open and close smoothly, and as you enter the cabin you will notice that the cabin lights have been changed to LED lighting fitted into the original light casings. In fact, the original dash gauges as well are now lit with LED lighting. Surrounded by beautiful burled walnut veneer, you feel as if you are sitting in a grand hall more than an automobile. All of the wood trim, including dashboard are in extremely good condition, as is the fresh headliner. With the modern convenience of a Pioneer CD MP3 Radio on board, one is granted with the access of listening to music, while the speakers have been tastefully integrated, all discreetly hidden in the front and rear of the car.
For added safety, seatbelts have been installed in the rear quarters. The rear seats similar to the fronts showing almost no signs of use. With the tray tables build into the rear of the front seats, and beautiful burled walnut trim forming to the gentle curve of the rear windows, it’s details like these that remind you, you are in a Jaguar.
Undoing the leather straps, and raising the bonnet, you are immediately confronted with the period correct Coopers Air Cleaner, however with closer inspection your eyes will make their way to the beautiful pair of polished aluminum valve covers. A non-matching but fully correct Jaguar 3.8 litre engine follows an aluminum radiator by installed in 2014 by XK’s Unlimited, makes for a sensible upgrade to aid cool running during the summer months. The engine bay of this car is as tidy as they come, with all rubber still looking fresh, as does the bonnet liner. Inside the boot, you will find the factory jack in its proper place as well as a complete tool kit and original owners manual.
This Mk II starts instantly, and runs effortlessly as a 3.8 litre should. Greatly enhancing the driving experience, the 5 speed fulfills the cars sporty looks, and drives flawlessly, while the 3.8 litre which brings the power and fun of an E-Type to this sports saloon. We fully agree with Jaguar U.S. marketing deeming it “the sedan that behaves like a sports car”! This is a wonderful car to drive, and truly is a turn key example.
With maintenance records covering the last twenty years, receipts note everything from new tires to shocks purchased. It’s nothing short of amazing that Jaguar could create a saloon with four doors that could hold the style and grace of this automobile. Encompassing all of the charm that a Mk II has to offer and some several sensible upgrades, this is the ideal weekend tour car or highway cruiser.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)