1963 Jaguar Mk II 3.8 'Manual' Saloon
Jaguar's range of compact sports saloons, launched in 1955 in both 2.4 and 3.4-litre configurations, was a major success at a time when the Coventry marque was riding high after wins at Le Mans. The Jaguar Mark 2, launched in October 1959, addressed many of the shortcomings of the earlier models, in particular criticism of the handling at higher speeds was overcome by widening the rear track. With slimmer pillars and greater glass area, the Mark 2 had a lighter cabin featuring a redesigned instrument panel - still in the traditional rich timber veneer - with much improved layout. Disc brakes all round were standard and there was now the option of a 3.8-litre variant of the classic XK straight six. For a time, the Mark 2 equipped with the 3.8-litre engine was the fastest four-door car available and achieved some success in touring car racing both in England and here in Australia. A sales success, with nearly 90,000 built in ten years of production (3.8-litre models accounted for just under a third of total production), the Mark 2 is today revered by Jaguar enthusiasts as perhaps the finest saloon ever to wear the leaping cat. No model epitomizes the Jaguar slogan of "Grace, pace and space" better than the Mark 2 and it remains an eminently useable classic saloon today, with excellent support provided by the many clubs and specialists around Australia.