In 1959, Jaguar substantially updated its successful mid-sized 2.4/3.4-litre sports saloons, renaming the line with the simple moniker: “Mark II.” The unmistakable rounded styling got a slight facelift, resulting in a larger greenhouse and more delicate, chrome-trimmed window frames that gave it a lighter, airier appearance. Most important to Jaguar’s enthusiastic customer base was the addition of the XK150’s 3.8-litre inline-six and disc brakes. While not quite as potent as an XK150 S, there was little doubting the engine’s effectiveness at propelling the svelte mid-sized saloon along with vigor. Whether equipped with a manual gearbox or optional automatic, the Mk II had a split personality, with the outright pace to show a sports car a clean set of heels and a luxurious leather and wool-lined cabin with room for four adults and their luggage. While the mid-sized sports sedan is a common commodity today, the notion of a four-door luxury car with the heart of a sports car was relatively new, and the legend of the Mk II remains an enduring icon of British motoring.
This superb 1960 Mk II 3.8 is both beautifully restored and extensively upgraded for high-performance driving. Presented in a lovely period-correct shade of Opalescent Dark Blue over cream hides, it has a purposeful, sporting look with excellent finish quality. The panel fit is crisp and consistent all around, and all four doors open and shut with satisfying precision. The paint is beautiful, highlighted by fully restored brightwork and chrome bumpers. Subtle improvements include powerful H4 flat-lens headlamps and Cibie Iode fog lamps fitted in place of the horn grilles. The rear quarters are modified with Coombs-style rear arches, which provide clearance for the fatter 215-section Pirelli P4000 radials on 15” chrome wire wheels.
Climbing aboard, you’re met with sumptuous cream Connolly leather, exquisitely restored wood trim, and rich wool carpeting. The cream seats are piped in blue, which, along with the blue Wilton rugs, tie the color combination together beautifully. The seats are just this side of broken-in and look superbly inviting. Numerous improvements are noted throughout the cabin, including a period-correct Derrington steering wheel, air conditioning, a revised center console with floor-shift automatic, electric windows, power locks, updated ventilation system, 3-point seatbelts, modern CD player, and beautiful cream-faced instrument with electronic internals. Each of the modifications is exceptionally well integrated, and the detailing is outstanding. Even the original column-mounted gear indicator lights up with the correct gear as you select gears with the floor-mounted lever, revealing the level of thought that went into every aspect of the project.
Of course, the improvements go well beyond skin-deep. The 3.8-litre twin-cam ‘six is now mated to a later-model Jaguar automatic gearbox that offers far superior performance to the original Borg-Warner unit. The cooling system is usefully updated with an aluminum radiator and electric fan to ensure reliable running in all conditions. It also features power steering, alternator charging, Sanden A/C compressor, high-flow pancake air filters feeding the SU carbs, and a stainless exhaust system. The underside is fully protected with textured chip guard that’s painted body color. Suspension and chassis components are tidy and well restored, showing signs of occasional use on the finish. Chassis upgrades include ventilated front disc brakes, larger sway bars, and larger tires to ensure superb handling at speed.
In standard form, the Mk II 3.8 was renowned for its luxurious trimmings and sportscar-baiting performance. This gorgeous example takes it to a new level thanks to its many well-considered, expertly executed modifications, and it is ready to return countless miles of motoring enjoyment.
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