Jaguar Mk2/S-type/420

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It’s unusual to find a facelifted car that’s better looking than the car it was designed to replace. But Jaguar managed this unusual feat, with the Mk2. Like all Jaguars to this point, company founder, William Lyons, was directly responsible for the way it looked – and with the fitment of revised upper door pressings, a deeper windscreen, larger glass area, and wider rear track, the already handsome saloon was transformed.

The additional glass brightened the interior and as well as give the car a more contemporary look. And without resorting to too many cliches, in the process, Jaguar created the most iconic ’60s sports saloon of them all. The 2.4 was still less fast than it looked, despite an additional 8bhp over the Mk1, but was a usefully-priced entry-level model.

For the Mk2, the previously top-of-the range 3.4-litre car was now occupying the mid-range slot. Its XK engine had been enough to top the compact saloon range, but that changed with the arrival of the Mk2. But it was this car that really made the most of its forgiving suspension set-up, expoiting the wider front and rear track, and improving road manners. It was heavier than before so the Mk2’s performance was slightly down on the Mk1’s, but that was addressed by the arrival of the 3.8.

And it’s here – with the 3.8-litre Mk2 – that Jaguar created a legend. The new flagship proved popular and profitable for Jaguar. With a 125mph top speed and throttle adjustable handling, the 3.8 became the saloon of choice for enthusiastic drivers. A limited-slip differential improved traction, and power-assisted steering (a standard fitment from 1960) further improved the way the car drove. Considered the best of all Mk2s and market values reflect this. However, its additional ability (from a modest 10bhp boost) over the 3.4-litre car is probably at too much of a premium in today’s market, and (whisper it), the 3.4 is probably the best all-round value/performance package.


Reviews, blogs and news stories

The cars : Jaguar Mk2 development history

The cars : Jaguar Mk2 development history

A new way forward THE compact Jaguar saloons of the 1950s and 1960s will forever be associated, in the minds of Britons of a certain age at least, with the late actor John Thaw. In the 1970s Britcop series The Sweeney, Thaw in the guise of Jack Regan, usually ended up chasing a dilapidated Jag […]

News : One-off Bertone Jaguar on offer

News : One-off Bertone Jaguar on offer

Keith Adams One-off Jaguars that come up for sale tend to command spectacular prices when they come up for sale – but they can also prove to be rather controversial, given the beauty of the cars they’re based upon. This Bertone FT is a good case in point – it’s based on the S-type 3.8, […]

Blog : Jaguar S-type retrospective

Blog : Jaguar S-type retrospective

Dean Beedell (Originally written in 1999) On a miserable day in January I received a call that brightened my day.  The phone call was from Bob Archard of the Jag Enthusiast’s club asking if my old S type would be able to attend a commercial launch of the new S-type saloon. Unipart wanted an original […]

The cars : Jaguar 420 development history

The cars : Jaguar 420 development history

The final fling THE JAGUAR 420/Daimler Sovereign was the final variation of the original Utah project that evolved into the Mk1, Mk2 and S-type saloons. And if that story was not confusing enough the 420 had a similar moniker to the big 420G saloon, a revised MkX, which was announced at the same time. But […]

The cars : Jaguar S-type development history

The cars : Jaguar S-type development history

Bridging the gap AS IF the story of Jaguar’s compact saloons was not complicated enough already – what with the original Mk1 mutating into the Mk2 and then the 240/340 – they spawned two further offshoots, the similar looking S-type and the 420. Not to mention the Daimler variant of that model. Both the S-type […]