✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

1966 Jaguar 3.8 MK.II

About two years ago I heard about a 1966 Jaguar 3.8 MK.II which was for sale in Tzaneen. I phoned the owner and after a short discussion I decided to go and have a look at it. I was astounded at the originality of the car and bought it on the spot. I put in a battery and fuel and even after standing for 20 years, it started immediately and ran like a watch. We drove it onto the truck and headed back to Tarlton.

BEFORE - 1966 Jaguar 3.8 MK.II 

Upon closer inspection at home, I found the original tool kit in the boot in it's original tray situated in the spare wheel well. In the glove box I found the original Jaguar wallet with it's hand-book, Wall Service Chart and the original factory warranty. The licence fees had been paid every year from 1966 by the previous owner. Incredibly, the car has done only 85,000 miles, never been in an accident and the cylinder-head has never been off.

AFTER - 1966 Jaguar 3.8 MK.II

Over the next year or so, I re-sprayed the car Windsor Blue, an original Jaguar colour, cleaned up the upholstery and woodwork and fitted a new set of brake pads as well as new silencers.

The windscreen is original, but I renewed the rubbers when I sprayed the car and also put in new rubbers at the rear window. Mechanically the engine, gearbox, over-drive and suspension is original apart from new rubbers and grease boots. the car went through roadworthy the first time and turns heads whenever I drive it.

C'est la vie – happy motoring!
From the pen of the "Ja Broer" (Dave Clarkson)

More than 80 000 MK.II's were sold and the model inspired a whole raft of more expensive variations on the same theme : The S-Type, the 420 and even a Daimler with its own special V8 engine. It is the pure original MK.II, however, that has won the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors.

The sight of a Jaguar MK.II inspires a misty-eyed emotional response like no other 60's saloon. For a decade from 1959, the year of Britain's first motorway, the compact Jaguar was the bread and butter of Browns Lane, Coventry. It was the last proper sports saloon the company ever made.

The MK.II was nothing if not versatile. It was favoured not just by the criminal fraternity (it was no accident that the James Fox character drove a white MK.II in Donald Campbell's superb 1970 film Performance, or Michael Caine's pursuers a red one in the classic Get Carter of 1971) but also by the law itself, because it was so wickedly fast. At the same time, the MK.II was also a very respectable car; a quiet, comfortable and classy businessman's express for the stockbroker belt. It made a fine name for itself on the track as a saloon-car racer, and industry personalities such as Graham Hill and Colin Chapman gave the MK.II the stamp of approval by using them off-duty too.

Technically, the MK.II wasn't vintage Jaguar (though the unitary shell had broken new ground for the company on its 2.4 MK.I progenitor of 1955), but its beautifully-balanced shape had the classic William Lyons touch, as did the interior with its leather seats and wooden dash and door cappings - the fascia packed with dials and switches like a wartime bomber's flight deck.

The MK.II owner could do a legal 125mph (201kph) if he owned the full-house 3.8 manual overdrive car - it was the fastest saloon on the road for a time in the early 60's - or 120 (193) in the 3.4. The leisurely 2.4, on the other hand, couldn't even mange 100 (160) - which was why Jaguar's press department never allowed one out to be tested.

JAGUAR MK.II - 1959 - 1969
Engine - Straight Six
Capacity - 2483/3442/3781cc
Power - 120-220bhp
Transmission - 4-speed manual, 3-speed auto
Top speed - (3.8) 125mph (201kph)
No. built - 83 980

The 1966 MK.II was one of the last to have big bumpers: slim line bumpers were announced for the 240/340 models of 1967. Jaguar gave the MK.II a bigger rear window and different semi-open spats to help brake cooling.

Above : The 3.8-litre engine gave a claimed 220bhp, making the MK.II one of the fastest saloons on the road. 

"The Cat" 

At the Centenary Car Club, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa

At the Centenary Car Club, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa 

1966 Jaguar 3.8 MK.II - Car of the Month May 2012 - Centenary Car Club

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