's Great British Cars – Jaguar Mk2

Sat 1st Dec 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Jaguar Mk2
When Jaguar ran the advertising slogan, ‘Grace, Space and Pace’ in the 1950s, the line could not have been better summed up by the car which was put on sale by the classic brand in 1959, the Mk2.

Following on from the Mk1 was not an easy task for the Coventry based car manufacturers, but company founder, William Lyons, was determined to make improvements on the sleek and stylish sports saloon of its predecessor.

With sublime and curvaceous bodywork and intricate wood panelling, the Mk2 certainly had the grace, an increase in the glass cabin with a wider windscreen and more expansive rear window, it looked like it had more space, and the XK engine delivered 120 bhp with a top speed of 126 mph, it had all the pace. The XK6 engine allowed Jaguar to produce three different variants of that engine, with an 2.5, 3.4 and 3.8 all available, these engines were put to good use during the car’s eight year spell on sale across the globe.

As to be expected for a brand famous for sports cars, the Mk2 had a modest run in motorsport, claiming successive Australian Touring Car Championships between 1962 and 1963, with Bob Jane behind the wheel.

But the Mk2’s most famous driver never actually existed, except to maybe a nation of millions who tuned in every week to watch famous TV detective, Inspector Morse. Rather ironic for a motor that had also built up a reputation as being something of a favourite for bank robbers. The Mk2 also made an infamous appearance in the cult classic movie, Withnail & I.

Though never directly replaced, by 1969 the Jaguar company had shifted their attention to the XJ6, which meant that in its eight years at the top it had seen 83,976 units leave the production line.

Fans of the classic got the opportunity to own a modernised version of the Mk2 in 2014, when the company announced that a limited run of Mk2s would be produced at a cost of £350,000 to enthusiasts who wanted to own a newer version of the historic marque.

Years of manufacture: 1959-1967 
Price when new: £1,843
Price now: £10,000-£70,000
Engine: 3,781cc 6cyl petrol, 200bhp
Top speed: 125mph