Mk2 header

The Jaguar Mk2 saloon car range

Despite the Mk2 range fading from the Jaguar sales brochures several decades ago, enthusiasm for this classic cat from Coventry shows no signs of abating.

Mk2 grille
Interest was perhaps at its most dizzying in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when investors poured huge sums into the restoration and modification of tired old Mk2s, transforming them into gleaming pieces of automotive art, stashing them away in de-humidified storage like pieces of jewellery, hoping for their value to spiral yet higher.

Fortunately, for the enthusiastic Mk2 owner-driver anyway, prices have slumped somewhat since those heady days. Jaguar's Mk2 model is now back in the hands of genuine enthusiasts, often purchasing restored cars for a fraction of the money spent on them a few years ago.

Top condition examples in the most desirable specs are still worth top money, but the departure of the investor has enabled those with less epic personal means to experience the classiest saloon car from Brown's Lane, namely the Mk2, and its derivatives. has been put together to celebrate this charismatic old Jaguar, and hopefully will be of interest to anyone who also approves of the Mk2 range of automobiles. There is a gallery of Mk2 pictures, a large free noticeboard for your parts 'wants' or surplus items, and a free PC screensaver featuring my favourite 10 MkII photos. Online auctions get a mention too, as they can be a great way of finding parts and information on your favourite classic - worth a look if you've not tried eBay yet. Finally there are a number of links to other sites that complement this one.

Background to the Mk2

The lineage of the Mark 2 can be directly traced back to its predecessor, namely the 2.4 saloon, or Mk1 as it would be retrospectively known in later years. This sporting saloon, designed to fill the gap in Jaguar's range between the XK sports and volumous MkVII, entered the market in 1956. Power came from the legendary XK straight six, twin cam, engine in 2483cc form.

The 2.4 was notable as being a complete break away from the previous designs of (Sir) William Lyons and co., and was their first foray into the modern world of monocoque (ie chassis-less) construction.

Traditional Jaguar buyers would not feel alienated by the new offering from Coventry however, as the interior was up to their usual standards, with leather and walnut being the order of the day.

With 112bhp available to the press-on motorist, the 2.4 was not overly burdened with pace, so Jaguar's response was to come in the shape of a 3.4 litre version, which was launched in 1957 to supplement its smaller brother in their mid-size saloon range.

As a result, 120mph was a genuinely achievable pace, necessitating the introduction of disc brakes a year later to keep speeds in check.

Also see:
> Mk2s & spares finishing shortly on eBay auctions ...
> Photographs
> Screensaver
> Mark 2 Links

Production of the Mark 1 continued into 1960, with 27,000+ examples having rolled off the production lines (this despite the disastrous factory fire of February 1957). Rather than introduce a completely brand new car, Jaguar successfully re-designed the car from stem to stern, and the Mk2 was born, debuting in 1959.

By now the company had learnt a great deal about chassis-less construction methods with the Mk1, and this was put to good use in designing the Mk2 bodyshell. Gone were the chunky windscreen pillars of the early car, to be replaced by slimmer offerings giving a much more airy cabin, that both improved the styling and freshened up the design for the new decade.

Other improvements included a wider track for the rear axle (Mk1s could be skittish under extremis), and disc brakes were now standard-fit, courtesy of Dunlop and years of development work both on and off the track. The 2.4 and 3.4 models continued as before, and were now joined with what is now considered to be the jewel of the crown, namely the 3.8.

Mk2s were popular with high-speed drivers who frequented either side of the legal divide - beloved of bank robbers and underworld hoods due to its useful pace and agility, the police could only follow suit in stripped 3.8s, to give themselves half a chance in keeping up with the bad lads. While the 3.8 was the obvious choice for the 1960s speed freak, the cooking 2.4 could still muster 95mph or so, and was usually enough for most drivers. The 3.4 wasn't far behind the 3.8 in terms of pace, and if anything had a slightly sweeter revving engine, and is often the choice of the discerning buyer today.

The three versions of XK powered Mk2 continued in the Jaguar catalogue until 1968, when the sensational XJ6 hit the forecourts, designed to replace not just the Mk2, but also the 420 and epic Mk10/420G saloons.

The 2.4, downgraded somewhat thanks to cheaper Ambla interior trim and slim bumpers, was re-badged as the 240, and soldiered on in the shadow of the XJ6 til 1969, the 3.4 engined 340 departing in '68.

If the Jaguar badge was a tad flash for you in the 60s, there was the option of the Daimler V8 250, a car using the bodyshell of the Mk2 but fitted with the cracking little 2.5 all-alloy V8 powerplant. Also available as an automatic or (rare) manual, it too disappeared from production with the 240 MkII in 1969.

Throughout the 1970s the Mk2's light dimmed, and became just another old banger to drive into the ground, by now seriously outmoded by the latest Jaguar offerings such as the XJ6 and XJ12, and the rakish (if slightly oddly shaped) XJS of 1975. The Mk2 was definitely old news. Interest in the Mk2 began to pick up in the 1980s as enthusiasts began to recognise the beauty in the design of the Mk2, and its glamorous associations with contemporary E-Types and XKs. In the UK the Mark Two would receive a great deal of TV publicity thanks to the Inspector Morse series, further raising its profile in the eyes of the enthusiast and general public alike.
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