﹒Matching-numbers example ﹒Tens of thousands recently spent ﹒Smooth and reliable runner ﹒Massive history file, right back to first owner
The retroactively-titled Mk1 Jaguar was a mould-breaking thing when it debuted back in 1955, but it’s the successor – the Mk2 – which really sealed the silhouette’s fate in the pantheon of all-time greats. The main differences are that the Mk2 has an 18% bigger glass area – including a wider windscreen, a more wraparound rear window and the signature D-shaped rear side windows – along with all-wheel disc brakes, a wider rear track, and a better heater. The 3.8-litre model also got an LSD, which perhaps explains why bank robbers had so much fun sliding them around 1960s London. The car exists in accordance with Sir William Lyons’ ethos of ‘grace, pace and space’ – it’s large, quick, and luxurious. The 2.4-litre motor perhaps wasn’t all that exciting in relative terms, offering 120bhp, but the 3.4 gave a more acceptable 210bhp, and the top-of-the-tree 3.8 roared out a full-fat 220bhp from its XK unit, which was basically a detuned E-Type engine; a sort of protozoic BMW M5, the sports car engine was shoehorned into the supposedly sensible saloon car. This is why cops and robbers alike loved these cars – they were rapid, spacious, agile, and tough. They also told the world that things were going rather well for the person behind the wheel.
The genius of the 3.8 was that it elevated the big Jag into another realm of aspiration and desirability. With the Mk1, the 3.4 was the top-of-the-range option. When the Mk2 arrived, that was kicked into mid-range territory as the 3.8 ushered in keen throttle-adjustable handling and a 125mph top speed. It’s not just about the extra 10bhp, it’s the addition of the LSD and power steering… oh, and the kudos, naturally. There’s a reason that the Mk2 3.8 has become such an icon. It’s just an outstanding all-rounder.
The history file with this car is enormous, and goes into incredible detail. We can see that this very early example of the Mk2 3.8 was owned by an accountant, John Shaw Goodage, for the first seventeen years of its life, and he used it to travel all over Europe. For a year between 1977-78 it was owned by Patrick Motors, and then its second ‘real’ owner was a John Douglas Allen, who kept it for twenty-four years until 2002. It was resprayed in 1985, enjoyed some light restoration in 1990, and more recently it received further light restoration and another repaint. It’s a car that’s evidently always been enjoyed, as well as loved and properly cared for. This is a reluctant sale today, and hopefully the next curator will continue enjoying it to the full and keeping it as it deserves to be kept. This is a special car, and it should have a good home.
The file of documentation with this car makes for fascinating reading. This is a matching-numbers example, and there’s a Jaguar Heritage certificate to confirm these numbers are correct. The original buff logbook is present, as are the original books, a period licence record, all of the old MOTs, and even a charming classic ‘running in’ banner. Among the many, many receipts are a number of recent bills highlighting how much has been spent on the car in recent years – in 2018, for example, £19,675 was spent on bodywork repairs and a full repaint at JAGtechnic Ltd.
A minor engine fire in 2019 was dealt with by Hiscox Insurance, paying out £16,300 for the removal, overhaul and refitting of the engine and transmission along with perfecting the paintwork; a further £4,645 was spent in 2020 to replace the doorcards and carpets, treat and re-colour the seats, overhaul the radiator and renew assorted parts. Another 2020 bill for £1,641 paid for a new fuel tank, sender pump and so on. As you can deduce from all this, there’s been no penny-pinching in the upkeep of this venerable Jaguar – everything has been done to the highest standards, and it’s all meticulously documented here.
Impressively, the lipstick-red leather trim you see here is all the original hide that was fitted to the car back in 1960 – it’s recently been treated and re-coloured, but these are the factory-fit seats, and they’re still pleasantly supportive. The doorcards have been replaced, along with the carpets, which has imbued the cabin with a real show-quality finish. The wood trim on the dash and door-tops is in absolutely beautiful condition, as is the steering wheel. All of the gauges are working correctly, and the car is fitted with a tastefully retro-style modern stereo with CD, MP3 and USB input. The headlining is superb, and the light and airy cabin has a real freshness to it that accentuates the feel of 1960s adventure. Inside the boot it’s all dry and solid, and we find a spare wire wheel, jack and knock-off mallet, and full factory toolkit.
The Old English White exterior is utterly fabulous to behold, and it’s clear that the work that’s gone into maintaining and repairing it has been of the highest quality. In recent years it’s enjoyed corrosion repairs to the door bottoms, front wings, inner frames, inner and outer sills, jacking points and lower bootlid, so the car is pleasingly free of drama in the usual trouble spots; while this work was carried out, the doors were carefully re-hung and the spats aligned to assure that the panel gaps are correct and uniform throughout the car. The paintwork is glorious, and all of the chrome and brightwork is in superb condition – everything present and correct, and all of it gleaming. The window glass and light lenses are all in good order. The wire wheels are excellent, and wear Kumho tyres with plenty of tread.
A Mk2 Jaguar should have an inherent smoothness to the way it operates, and that’s very much the case here. A gentle press of the starter button results in a couple of quick whirrs of the starter before that robust straight-six growls into life, settling immediately into an even idle with good oil pressure. With the attention that the engine and gearbox have received in recent years, everything’s nicely ticking along as it should, and the engine feels just as strong as it ought to, with the gearbox shifting sweetly. The suspension, brakes and steering are all very 1960s-like in their operation, which is of course just as things should be and all part of the Mk2’s character – everything’s working well and cohesively, and the big Jag really is a joy to drive. No histrionics, no worrying noises, no unexpected gauge readings, it all appears to be tip-top. The cylinder head has also been converted to unleaded, so it’s very much ready for twenty-first century adventures.
For many enthusiasts, the Mk2 Jaguar 3.8 is the archetypal classic – and it’s easy to see why. These cars are strong, powerful, sumptuously appointed, dependable, entertaining, and supremely attractive. And there are two things about this particular Mk2 that really make a case for it: the history, and the condition. It’s wonderful to be able to trace the car’s roots right back to the start, and see all of the carefully documented work that’s been carried out over the decades. It’s also reassuring to find that all of the work stands firm today, as the car’s been so well looked after. It’s all solid, beautifully finished, reliable, and ready to use – and while there have been repair works and paint in the past, so much of the car is original. A matching-numbers example of a desirable classic, with nothing to hide and no jobs to be done. It is, in short, an extraordinarily attractive Mk2.
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