From the mid-1950s onward, Jaguar enjoyed considerable success thanks in large part to its highly advanced "XK" family of twin-cam inline six-cylinder engines. This engine is best known for its tenure in the XK120, 140, and 150 sports cars, and in race trim, it powered the C-Type and D-Type sports cars to an impressive six victories in the 24h of Le Mans. While it will always be known for its sporting ability, the XK was quite versatile, and its power and refinement made the big Mk VII and Mk IX luxury saloons some of the best of the best of their class – while also capable of mopping up the competition in British Saloon Car racing with the likes of Stirling Moss and Roy Salvadori at the wheel.
The success of the large saloon cars allowed Jaguar to capitalize on its reputation with a new, smaller saloon that would appeal to a broader market. The new mid-sized four-door debuted in 1955, equipped with 2.4 or 3.4-liter versions of the twin-cam inline-six. The new car featured Jaguar's first-ever road-going monocoque chassis, with independent front suspension and a solid-rear axle shared with the XK sports car. The curvaceous sheet metal showed a family resemblance to its sporting brethren but was altogether unique in its form. Despite its smaller size and lower price point, it was still very much a Jaguar and therefore featured beautiful Connolly leather, wool rugs, and luxurious wood trimmings.
In 1959, Jaguar updated the previous 2.4/3.4 and renamed it "Mark II." The styling was freshened up with a larger greenhouse, and more delicate, chrome-trimmed window frames. However, the big news was the addition of the new 3.8-liter engine shared with the XK150, slightly detuned in twin-carburetor spec, but still highly effective in propelling the mid-sized four-door along with vigor. A large number of US-spec cars came with the proven Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic transmission, which suited the car’s split personality quite well. Particularly when fitted with the 3.8 l engine, the MkII is both a luxurious sedan and a formidable performance machine that could easily show proper sports cars a clean set of heels.
Offered here is an excellent example of Jaguar's genre-defining sports saloon. This particular car hails from 1963, and features the desirable 3.8-liter variant of the XK twin-cam inline-six, paired with a Borg-Warner automatic transmission. The Heritage Certificate shows the date of manufacture as December 14, 1962, and it left Coventry bound for Jaguar Cars, New York one week later. The original owner is not recorded, however the original service booklet suggests that person may have been a Dr. G.L. Saiger of Fort Lee, New Jersey. Service stamps in the book also show the car was likely sold new by Ken Rambler-Jaguar of Paramus. Little else of the early history is known. In the early 1990s, the Mk II found a long-term home with another New Jersey resident and long-time Jaguar enthusiast. During his tenure, he treated the Jaguar to the restoration it wears today, including a respray in the current shade of opalescent light blue and an interior retrim in black Connolly leather. It remained with the same family until the owner's passing in 2013.
Thanks to consistent care and maintenance, this lovely MkII has an attractive and honest character that invites regular use. The attractive metallic blue paint is in very good condition overall, accentuating the curves and lines of the MkII beautifully. A couple of minor imperfections are noted on inspection, which do little to detract from the appealing looks. The exterior brightwork is also in good order, showing some light hazing that is consistent with age and care. It rides on original color-keyed steel disc wheels with factory-correct wheel covers and trim rings. Recent black-wall Blockley radials provide ample grip and surefooted handling while maintaining a period-correct appearance.
A full restoration of the interior took place around the same time as the bodywork. The black Connolly leather has assumed a rich character from regular use particularly on the front seats, while the rear bench remains taut and appears to have seen little use since its restoration. Carpets are very tidy and fit well, and the same goes for the leather-upholstered console and door panels. Switches, controls, and instruments are all factory-correct items. A hallmark of the Mk II cabin is the luxurious burl wood trim gracing the dash, door caps, and window surrounds, all of which present in very good condition, with a light patina consistent with the older, lovingly maintained restoration.
This car retains its original, numbers-matching 3.8-liter inline-six, which is tidy and orderly, with primarily factory-correct fittings and accessories. The proper Coopers air cleaner dominates the engine bay, feeding a cast alloy airbox and twin SU carburetors. Detailing is good, with the correct medium blue-painted cylinder head and black porcelain exhaust manifolds in excellent condition. The engine runs well, with the torquey, free-revving character expected of a good Mk II. Power is fed through a 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission and on to the Salisbury rear axle with Thornton limited-slip diff – which was standard on the high-performance 3.8-liter models.
Beautifully styled, rapid, and with room for the family, Jaguar’s ground-breaking Mk II is one of the most versatile collector cars of the era. This lovely and road-ready Mk II 3.8 is the ideal candidate for regular driving, club events, and touring, and will surely be a welcome addition to any Jaguar enthusiast's garage.
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