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Jaguar 240/340/420 (1966 - 1969)

Last updated 7 April 2013

Model Timeline

September 1967
Mk2 range revised into the 240 and 340

On 26 September 1967 Jaguar announced the 240 and 340 saloons, the last variation of the original Utah design. The main visual difference was the new slimmer front and rear bumpers. Elsewhere, use was made of plastic technology in car manufacturing. Even the some of the wood trim was in fact Ambla plastic along with other cheaper materials such as the carpet. The 3.8-litre was dropped and now only the 2.4 and 3.4-litres were available. The Solex carburettors of the 2.4-litre engine were replaced by SUs on a new manifold for the 240. This and other revisions pushed peak power up to 133bhp at 5500rpm and torque to 146lb ft at 3700rpm.

The revisions to the 2.4-litre engine made Jaguar confident enough to allow the press to road test the 240. Autocar had the first bite of the cherry with a manual overdrive car. This managed a top speed of 106mph, a 0-60mph time of 12.5 seconds and fuel consumption of 18.4mpg. Motor tested a manual non-overdrive car. They managed a top speed of 104.8mph and a 0-60mph time of 11.7 seconds whilst fuel consumption was 17.1mpg. Only two days after the 240 and 340 were revealed came the announcement of the rival Rover P5B, the basic car also being of 1959 vintage, but transformed by the transplant of the ex-GM 3.5-litre V8.

Then on 5 October 1967 Jaguar announced the Daimler V8-250, a revised 2.5-litre V8, but without the economy measures inflicted on the 240 and 340. Among the changes were now slim line bumpers and overriders while inside, safety padding over the instrument panel, padded door cappings and ventilated upholstery to improve safety and comfort. Previously optional features now fitted as standard included reclining split-bench front seats, a heated rear window and an alternator replacing the dynamo.

February 1968
Daimler V8-250 made available with manual transmission

In February 1968 the Daimler V8-250 at last became available with manual transmission for UK customers. Motor magazine tested LRW 800F, a manual car with overdrive, enabling a direct comparison with the XK engined manual 240. Motor achieved a top speed of 107.6mph, a 0-60mph time of 11.1 seconds and fuel consumption of 18.1mpg. So despite the revisions to the XK engine, the Edward Turner V8 was still ahead, if only just.

The threat posed by Rover and Triumph to Jaguar was to some effect nullified by the formation of British Leyland, announced in January 1968 and coming into effect in May that year. Jaguar could now concentrate on the imminent XJ4 programme without worrying about replacing the compact saloons, which were about to be culled to make way for the new car. The first to go was the S-type in August 1968.

September 1968
Jaguar 420 production ended

In fact, prior to the merger, when Rover and Triumph were still rivals, Jaguar had briefly investigated a Mk2 replacement using the Daimler 2.5-litre V8. The project was led by Malcolm Sayer and Mike Kimberly, but the programme died with the creation of BLMC. September 1968 arrived and it effectively marked a new era for Jaguar. The Jaguar 420 ceased production on the sixth day of the month.

September 1968
Jaguar 340 production ended

April 1969
Jaguar 240 production ended

On 26 September the XJ4 was finally launched as the Jaguar XJ6 saloon and the acclaim was instant. The new car was streets ahead in terms of ride, refinement and handling, the culmination of all Jaguar’s quest for automotive perfection. At about the same time production of the 340 saloon ceased as a waiting list built up for the XJ6. By February 1969 Jaguar started its first ever night shift in an effort to meet demand for the new car. In order to free up more space at Browns Lane for yet more XJ6 assembly, the 240 saloon ceased production on 9 April 1969.

July 1969
Daimler Sovereign production ended

The Daimler Sovereign ceased production on 9 July 1969, followed by the retirement of Technical director William Heynes on the last day of July 1969. The last Daimler V8-250 emerged on 5 August 1969 and that effectively meant the end of the Utah project after 14 years of production as the future of the Jaguar saloon range lay in the XJ series. The compact saloons were relegated to banger status in the 1970s before becoming perhaps the classic Jaguar in the 1980s. Although it is easy to look at them through rose tinted spectacles, what must be remembered is that from 1964 the market preferred the products of Canley and Solihull.

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