c1964 Jaguar MkII 3.8 'Manual' Saloon
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 3781cc|
|Colour||Old English White|
Complementing the bigger, luxurious Mark VII and sports XK140 models, Jaguar launched a new range of compact sports saloons in 1955, which have retrospectively come to be known as the Mark I. Sold in both 2.4 and 3.4-litre versions, the new model proved hugely successful for the Coventry marque, combining excellent performance and luxury at a very reasonable price. A heavily revised model was unveiled in October 1959, the Mark II addressing all the major shortcomings of the earlier model. In particular, criticism of the high speed handling was overcome by widening the rear track. With slimmer pillars and greater glass area, the Mark II had an airier cabin featuring a redesigned instrument panel – still in the traditional rich timber veneer - with much improved layout. Mechanical improvements included disc brakes all round as standard equipment, while the option of a 3.8-litre variant of the classic straight six transformed the Jaguar into a very fast saloon indeed, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200 km/h. Indeed the Mark II equipped with the 3.8-litre engine was the fastest four-door car on the market for several years in the early 1960s and proved equally popular with both sides of the law. To cope with additional power (the 3.8-litre developed 220 bhp and 240 lb/ft of torque), Jaguar fitted all 3.8 Mark IIs with a ‘Powr-Lok’ limited slip diff. Contemporary road testers sang the praises of Coventry’s latest model, commending the effortless performance, sure-footed handling and generous equipment levels. Unsurprisingly the Jaguar Mark II also enjoyed a long and successful competition career, particularly in touring car races England and Australia and examples can still be found competing in historic events around the world today. A sales success, with nearly 90,000 built in ten years of production (of which just under a third were equipped with 3.8-litre engines), the Mark II is regarded as perhaps the finest saloon ever to wear the leaping cat by many Jaguar enthusiasts. No Jaguar better epitomizes the “Grace, Pace and Space” catchcry used in period advertising and the Mark II remains an eminently usable classic saloon today, with excellent support provided by the many clubs and specialists around Australia.