Jaguar Mk2 (1959 – 1967) Review

Jaguar Mk2 (1959 – 1967) At A Glance


+Fast, pretty and good to drive. The definitive sporting Jaguar saloon which they got right (second time). 3.4 and 3.8-litre cars still genuinely quick.

-Look for poorly restored examples, and like its predecessor, the Mk1, it's more show than go in 2.4-litre form.

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 sports saloon Mk1 replacement. Like all Jaguars to this point (and some way beyond), 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 legent. 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.

Ask Honest John

What security devices can be used on classic cars?

"I'm looking for a security device that is also a visible deterrent to keep my classic safe whilst in public. It's a Jaguar Mk2 with a bus man's steering wheel, which rules out most steering locks. It's also an auto, which rules out the pedal box. Is there anything you can recommend that won't break the bank?"
I think Jaguar did offer a steering lock for the car as an optional extra at the time, but the chances of finding one are slim. You might be able to pick up some ideas from our top ten classic car anti-theft devices ( - points of interest include fitting a hidden 'kill switch' and forensic marking. A tracking device is also a good idea, and there are plenty of options available now.
Answered by Keith Moody

Should I buy a classic Jaguar Mk2?

"I have just enjoyed a 25-mile ride in a 1954 Bentley SD used as my daughter's wedding car. This pleasurable experience has made me think about acquiring a classic car. A Bentley is beyond the budget and I am thinking of a Mark 2 Jaguar. Is my head ruling my heart and will I regret this?"
Mk II Jaguars start at about £4000 for a basket case and go up to £100,000 or more for a fully restored and updated example. The last thing you want to do is pay £20,000 for one that looks good but is rotten as a pear underneath or otherwise needs a lot of work.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Jaguar Mk2 (1959 – 1967) cost?