∙One owner before the current keeper ∙Extensively restored in the late 1990s ∙Much bodywork done at that time ∙Engine overhauled in 2019
From 1950, Jaguar’s saloon range was limited to the MkVII, but William Lyons wanted a smaller, more affordable offering that took advantage of the XK straight 6 engine. So in 1955 the monocoque shelled 2.4 was released. The compact saloon used many existing components and was not only luxurious, but offered a sporting drive that outclassed its rivals.
In 1959 the car was significantly updated, enough to rename it the Mk2. Notably the rear suspension was changed to give a wider track for more stable handling, and power was increased.
It was well known in the ‘60s that there was nothing with the pace or space of a Mk2, so not only were respectable customers picking up the keys to a Mk2, they became a firm favourite of both getaway drivers and the police chasing them.
Today there is little to match the iconic style of the small saloon’s sweeping curves, and that ’60s world beating performance will easily keep up with modern traffic, and come alive on a quiet road.
Before changing hands in 2019, this was a one owner car from new in September 1965, but after 30 years of use he decided in 1996 to undertake what looks to have been a massive restoration project, apparently stripping the car almost to a bare shell before having new metal let in to various common repair spots, and having new door skins fitted before painting the car himself.
Inside he installed new carpets and headlining and revarnished the wood, and on the exterior had some bright work rechromed, and bought a new rear bumper, overriders and hubcaps. The receipts show hundreds of small parts and fixtures needed to make the car go back together correctly.
The current owner bought the car as a solid and presentable Mk2, and has spent a large sum on mechanical work bringing the engine up to scratch in the last 2 years. Under his care, the engine has been stripped and had an extensive top end rebuild, although the job list shows so much more than merely popping the head off, lapping the valves and refitting, and underneath there has been work to the brakes and suspension.
The car now runs and drives superbly, but as he has several other Jaguars, having now got this car running perfectly the owner has decided to concentrate on a smaller fleet and let this one be enjoyed by a new owner.
In the boot you will find extensive paper records with the car. The owner who restored it in the ‘90s kept every receipt, and that folder is bulging with a record of every nut, bolt, door skin and paint can purchase - even for quotes he didnt go through with - so we can see the time he was taking over the project.
The current owner has receipts for all the recent mechanical work from a classic car specialist. Sadly a previous owner discarded the old MOTs and tax disks, but the original handbook is present along with a couple of other period booklets.
The original cream leather seats have a genuine patina to them. There is some fading and light surface cracking, but no splits or tears so they could be re-connolised to bring them back to and a wonderful finish. In the back there are fold down tray tables which have nice wood, and an armrest in the centre. There are static safety belts in the front of the car.
The woodwork, having been renovated at the time of the full restoration is all superb, and it has a deep shine and a smooth finish. The carpets, barring a small mark in a rear drivers side footwell, are excellent; they too were new in the late 90s. The new headlining also looks superb and the door cards are good.
All the instruments and dials appear to work correctly and have bright, clear glass and there is a receipt regarding the Radiomobile radio, so we can assume that it has been repaired not too long ago.
The aluminium door sill kick plates look original, and the door shuts all have clean paint and no signs of corrosion, but the near side rear rubber has come away slightly.
Externally the chrome is all excellent - you can’t tell what has been re-chromed and what is new. The bumpers, hubcaps, mirrors, grill and leaper all shine in the sun. The window and door rubbers were all replaced with the restoration and still look great, and the still wheels have period style Dunlop tyres with deep tread. The panels are all very good, there are no parking dings or damage to be found and it has nice even shut lines. The paint was done by the then owner and is a little flat with a few marks on the surface as shown in the pictures.
It has recently been waxoyled underneath so should remain solid for a long time to come.
In 2019 the owner found the XK engine wasn’t running as it should so took it to a local classic car specialist, who undertook an extensive engine overhaul. It had a full top end rebuild, involving a new exhaust camshaft, deep cleaning the head, lapping in the valves before fitting a new stainless exhaust fitted as well a new clutch with release bearing. The cooling system was seen-to as well, with a new thermostat and a re-cored radiator, as well as rebuilding the carburettors and other ancillaries such as a new fuel pump and battery, and of course while the engine was apart everything else that needed looking at was taken care of so it now purrs.
Under the car the brake callipers have been stripped and rebuilt with new piston blocks (at ridiculous expense!) and the suspension has new wishbone bushes.
Do we really need to explain the appeal of a Mk2? In a world where the word legend is overused it is justified here. The flowing lines are like nothing else, the engine has a delicious crisp roar and delivers a real punch on the road. Behind the wheel there are few saloons that come close to the direct, connected feeling you get from one of these, with no driver aids, not even power steering, you are one with the car. And not forgetting your passengers as this is a usable five seater, the deep leather seats are comfortable and the leather and chrome give a feeling of being somewhere special.
No-one can walk past a Mk2 without stopping to look. Our photoshoot would have been an hour shorter if we hadn't stopped to open the door and let passers by marvel at the ambiance and enjoy that smell of the 60s…..
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