In the mid-1950s, Jaguar was riding high on the wave created by the highly advanced twin-cam inline six. The firm could bask in the glory of the hugely successful XK sports cars and their offspring, the world-beating C-Type and D-Type sports racers. Even their the massive Mk VII and Mk IX luxury cars enjoyed surprising success in British Saloon Car racing in the hands of Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, and others. However, Jaguar was never one to rest on its laurels, and they soon recognized an opportunity to appeal to an even broader market with a smaller, compact luxury saloon that shared a common bloodline with their highly successful sports cars. The new mid-sized sedan debuted in 1955, built on Jaguar’s first-ever road-going monocoque chassis and powered by 2.4 or 3.4-liter versions of the glorious XK twin-cam inline six. The curvaceous body styling was influenced by the XK sports cars, and despite the smaller size, it was luxuriously trimmed with wood, leather, and wool. Immediately, racers saw its potential and hit the track, soon racking up even more hardware for Jaguar’s racing department.
Further refinements to the shape and mechanical spec brought about the Mark II of 1959, which featured a more expansive glasshouse with chrome trim, and a host of mechanical improvements including the addition of the hot 3.8-liter engine to the option sheet. Dunlop disc brakes shared with the XK150 and E-Type gave it a massive advantage on the racetrack. The Mark II was an overnight motorsport sensation, proving to be a formidable competitor in rallying and saloon car racing through the early 1960s. Many consider it to be the father of the modern sports sedan, with its compact dimensions, powerful engine, handsome styling, and race-proven performance. The Mk II and its later derivatives were mainstays of the Jaguar line and sold well through the coming decade. Variations of the Mk II lasted through 1968, when Jaguar rationalized its saloon line up into one single car – the XJ6. As brilliant as it was, the XJ6 didn’t quite capture the same raw appeal and performance of the Mk II, which remains an icon of 1960s British motoring culture.
Our featured Jaguar Mk II saloon stands among the finest restored examples we have had the pleasure to offer. This 1962 3.8-liter automatic saloon was treated to a Concours-quality restoration in 2004 and has since been maintained in top cosmetic and mechanical condition. It is a multiple 100-point award winner in JCNA Concours competition, a JCNA Grand Champion, and it comes to us with well-documented ownership and restoration history. According to the included Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, this particular car was originally finished in Carmen red over a black interior and is a genuine left-drive model equipped with the 3.8-liter engine and Borg-Warner automatic gearbox. It first belonged to Walter Leonard of Lee, Massachusetts. Mr. Leonard may have been a serviceman, as he collected the car from Jaguar’s German distributor, Peter Linder of Frankfurt am Main.
Two additional owners are known, including W.R. Judd who owned the car from the mid-1970s until 2002. Mac Holt acquired it shortly thereafter and commissioned a comprehensive, nut and bolt restoration to exacting standards. Mr. Holt changed the color from the bright Carmen Red to a more understated and elegant shade of Regency red, a factory-offered color which suits the character of the Mk II quite well. While some time has passed since the restoration, it remains in exceptional condition, with the finishes matured lightly with time and care. The body fit is outstanding, with precisely aligned doors and deck lids that shut with the solidity of a contemporary Mercedes-Benz. The lovely Regency Red paint is excellent, highlighted by superb chrome and brightwork that shows only slight polish marks in the finish. Chrome knock-off wire wheels with 6.40-15 Firestone wide-whites complete the striking presentation.
Connolly hides, wool carpets, and burl wood trim exemplify the traditional British luxury aesthetic. Respected specialists OSJI supplied the correct leather, vinyl, carpet, and headlining to complete the restoration to correct standards. The biscuit tan leather and carpets remain in excellent condition, with only minor creasing noted on the driver’s seat. The wood dash and door caps are original to this car, and they are attractive and glossy, although the lacquer top coat on the dash has started to crack. Controls and switches are all factory-correct, including the black two-spoke steering wheel. Options include A/C, HMV Radiomobile AM/FM radio, and Intermediate Speed Hold which holds the transmission in second gear when activated. The boot features a correct Hardura mat and includes a complete spare wheel-mounted tool kit, knock-off hammer, and jack.
It is of little surprise that the engine bay is as finely detailed as the rest of this car. The beautifully presented 3.8-liter twin-cam XK inline six is the original, numbers-matching unit. The level of detail is befitting a JCNA Grand Champion, with high-quality paint finishes, correct Coopers air cleaner, polished cam covers, and proper fittings featuring throughout the engine compartment. A subtly integrated electric fan is a welcome addition. The engine mates with a Borg Warner automatic gearbox as original, and a period-correct compressor feeds the trunk-mounted A/C unit. Undercarriage finishing is equally outstanding, with the car presented in clean, tidy order with only light signs of use.
The extensive history file includes restoration photos, JCNA Judging sheets, the Heritage Certificate, historical information and a literal trunk-load of trophies. An original owner’s manual with service vouchers is also included, along with the tools, jack, and hammer. Wonderfully matured and ready for enjoyment on the road or show field, this exceptional Jaguar MK II is a stunning example of the granddaddy of all sports saloons. It is the ideal choice for a Jaguar collector seeking a usable, yet show-quality saloon for use in all manner of events.