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Jaguar MK2 And Original S-Type Saloon Car Heritage

MK 2

Launched at Earls Court Motor Show 21 October 1959, replacing the already successful 2.4 and 3.4 saloons (later known as MK 1s -the first Jaguars with unitary construction bodyshell).

Initially a three-model range, powered by Jaguar's legendary Le Mans-winning twin overhead camshaft, XK six cylinder engine family:

  • 3.8 Litre was the fastest production jaguar saloon up to that time:
    220 bhp/top speed 120mph/0-60 mph 8.8 sec
    Launch price: 1,779
    Total build: 27,848 (1959-1967)
  • 3.4 Litre:
    210 bhp/top speed 120 mph/0-62 mph 11.9 sec
    Launch price: 1,669
    Total build: 29,531 (1959-1967)
  • 2.4 Litre:
    120 bhp/top speed 96 mph/0-62 mph 17.3 sec
    Launch price: 1,534
    Total build: 26,322 (1959-1967)

All models available with a four-speed manual, optional overdrive and optional three-speed Borg Warner automatic.

Servo assisted Dunlop disc brakes front and rear and optional power steering.

Live rear axle with trailing link rear suspension by cantilever semi-elliptic springs.

For the 1960 New York Show, a MK 2 was displayed with gold plated brightwork at a cost of $25,000 and a fashion model who wore a 24 carat gold threaded evening gown and tiara containing over 1,000 diamonds.

April 1960 marked the competition debut of the MK 2 although the MK 1 had raced successfully since the mid fifties.

Between 1960 and 1963, the 3.8, producing up to 280 bhp, was virtually unbeatable in touring car races. The Coombs-modified 3.8s were raced with great success by star driver, Roy Salvadori. Other famous MK 2 drivers included Bruce Mc Laren, John Surtees and Graham Hill.

The MK 2 was the only Jaguar model ever to be offered commercially as a performance modified vehicle by a main dealership (Coombs of Guildford) - echoed later by JaguarSport, a company jointly owned by jaguar and TWR.

70 per cent of all mainland Police forces used MK 2 Jaguars as patrol cars and they were one of the first high-speed pursuit vehicles to be used on the new Motorway network from 1960.

  • Daimler 2 Litre V8 version of the MK 2 launched Earls Court, October 1962:
    140 bhp/top speed 112 mph/0-60 mph 13.5 sec
    Launch price: 1,785
    Total build: 13,018 (1962-1967)

In 1962 a one off MK 2 'County' estate was produced by Jones Bros (Coachbuilders).

In March 1963 at Monza, a MK 2 3.8 achieved four international Class C endurance records; in four days and 10,000 miles it averaged over 106mph. In July 1963, Lindner and Nocker won the Nurbu rgring endurance race in their 3.8 en route to the European Touring Car championship.

The last of the MK 2 models with minor specification revisions and new names 240, 340 and Daimler V8 250 launched at the Earls Court Show in October 1967.

  • Jaguar 240
    133 bhp/top speed 105mph/0-60 mph 12.5sec.
    Launch price: 1,365
    Total build: 4,430 (1967 - 1969)
  • Jaguar 340
    210 bhp/top speed 123mph/0-60 mph 11.9 sec.
    Launch price: 1,442
    Total build: 2,804 (1967 - 1968)
  • Daimler V8 250
    140 bhp/top speed 110 mph/0-60 mph 1 3.5 sec.
    Launch price: 1,615
    Total build: 4,897 (1967 - 1968)

At the end of its production the 240 model was less expensive than the original MK 2 2.4 Litre version in 1959!

The MK 2 saloon filled a gap in the luxury car market for a fast, comfortable, refined and compact model which significantly boosted Jaguar sales.

More MK 2 derivatives were produced than any other Jaguar until the introduction of the XJ6 in 1968.


Launched in October 1963, S-Type slotted into the Jaguar range between the Mark 2 and the Mark X.

Two XK-engined models were available, a 3.8 litre from launch and a 3.4 litre which became available in 1964:

  • 3.8 S
    220 bhp/top speed 121 mph/0-60 mph 10.5 sec
    Launch price: 1,759
    Total build: 15,065 (1963-1968)
  • 3.4 S
    210 bhp/top speed 114 mph/0-60 mph 14.2 see
    Launch price: 1,669
    Total build: 9,928 (1964-1968)

Derived from the Mark 2, S-Type featured a longer, flatter roofline with a more upright rear window and a restyled rear end. This improved interior space and provided a more capacious and practical luggage compartment.

The revised front end styling comprised new grille, cowled headlights, recessed spotlamps and wrap round flashers.

Overall, S-Type was some 7 inches (1 75 mm) longer than Mark 2, but still more than 12 inches (300 mm) shorter than Mark X.

S-Type's interior had its own distinctive character, incorporating many luxury refinements including rounded centre console, extensive use of leather and wood veneers, individual reclining front seats with centre armrests, together with a new heating and ventilation system.

Under the skin, 3.4 and 3.8 engines and front suspension were shared with Mark 2.

Independent rear suspension (derived from the E-TYPE and Mark X) by coil-springs and with a separate mounting frame, gave S-Type class-leading ride and handling characteristics and exceptional refinement.

Both models were available with a four-speed manual gearbox, with optional overdrive and optional three speed Borg Warner automatic.

The latest Dunlop MK 111 disc brakes were fitted, inboard at the rear. Dunlop 6.40xl 5 RS5 tyres were specified on wider 5.5 inch steel wheels.

A limited slip differential was standard on 3.8 S, optional on 3.4 S.

The final versions of the S-Type were introduced in October 1967, coincident with the revised Mark 2 models and mechanically were unchanged.

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CWN / Motoring / News / 20 Oct 98

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM