The Mark 2 was a fast and capable saloon in line with Sir William Lyons' 1950s advertising slogan: Grace . . . Space . . . Pace, available with all three versions of the advanced Jaguar XK6I6 engine, the 2.4, 3.4, and 3.8 litre.
Production of the 3.8 ended in the (northern) autumn of 1967, with discounted sale of the 3.4 continuing on as the 340 until September 1968, and the 2.4 as the 240 until April 1969.
There was no direct successor to the Mark 2 series. The 3.8 litre Jaguar S-type, an upscaled and refined version of the Mark 2, had already appeared in 1963, well before the first of the Mark 2 models was discontinued. The Jaguar 420, a more powerful and refined version of the S-Type, appeared in 1966. Both of those models remained in production until late 1968, when the Jaguar XJ6 appeared, ostensibly replacing and placed rather midway between them and the larger, more expensive Jaguar Mark X produced since 1961.
The Mark 2 came with a 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) 2,483 cubic centimetres (152 cu in), 210 bhp (157 kW; 213 PS) 3,442 cubic centimetres (210 cu in) or 220 bhp (164 kW; 223 PS) 3,781 cubic centimetres (231 cu in) Jaguar XK engine. The 3.8 is similar to the unit used in the 3.8 E-Type (called XKE in the USA), having the same block, crank, connecting rods and pistons but different inlet manifold and carburation (two SUs versus three on the E-Type in Europe) and therefore 30 bhp (22 kW) less. The head of the six-cylinder engine in the Mark 2 had curved ports compared to the straight ports of the E-Type configuration. The 3.4 Litre and 3.8 Litre cars were fitted with twin SU HD6 carburettors and the 2.4 Litre with twin Solex carburettors.
Aware of the importance of the quotable numbers to the US market Jaguar continued to use claimed gross bhp figures throughout the production period of the Mk II and 240/340 models. A direct conversion into DIN bhp is not possible, but the 3.8 Mk II engine developed about 190 bhp by modern DIN standards. This compares with the later 4.2 XJ6 engine which also gave around 190 bhp DIN, or 245 gross bhp according to Jaguar. The explanation was that the XJ6 4.2 engine was delivering the power at less rpm. The camshaft timing and inlet and exhaust valve sizes were the same for the 2.4,3.4,3.8 Mk II and XJ6 4.2 engines, so the engines throttled themselves sooner in the bigger engine sizes. Later 4.2 XJ6 engines had special induction pipes, to reduce exhaust emissions, that crossed over between the inlet and exhaust sides of the engine. These reduced bhp to around 170 bhp on later production.
The new car was re-engineered above the waistline, with vision dramatically improved by an 18% increase in cabin glass area. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen, and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows, now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was changed, and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment. There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ series II of 1973.
The front suspension geometry was rearranged to raise the roll centre and the rear track widened. Four-wheel disc brakes were now standard. Power steering, overdrive or automatic transmissions could be fitted at extra cost. The 3.8 litre was supplied fitted with a limited-slip differential.
The Mark 2 was over 100 kg heavier than the 2.4 / 3.4 cars.
The Mark 2 interior remained luxuriously appointed with Jaguar's characteristic burred walnut
Some time on or about September 1967 the 3.8 litre model was discontinued and the 2.4 and 3.4 litre Mark 2 cars were rebadged as the 240 and 340 respectively as gap-fillers until the XJ6 arrived in September 1968. The 340 was discontinued at that time, but remaining Series 2 parts were used up producing budget-priced 240s until April 1969. These sold at £1364, only £20 more than the first 2.4 in 1956.
Output of the 240 engine was increased from 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) at 5,750 rpm. to 133 bhp (99 kW; 135 PS) at 5,500 rpm. and torque was increased. It now had a straight-port type cylinder head and twin HS6 SU carburettors with a new inlet manifold. The automatic transmission was upgraded to a Borg-Warner 35 dual drive range. Power steering by Marles Varamatic was now available on the 340. Servicing intervals were increased from 2,000 miles (3,200 km) to 3,000 miles (4,800 km). There was a slight reshaping of the rear body and slimmer bumpers and over-riders were fitted. For the first time the 2.4 litre model could exceed 100 mph, resulting in a slight sales resurgence.
The 240 and 340 models retained cost-saving downgrades that had appeared a year earlier in the Mark 2 series. Standard leather upholstery was replaced by Ambla, a leather-like synthetic material, and tufted carpet was used on the floor. The front fog lamps were replaced with circular vents and made optional for the UK market. The sales price was reduced to compete with the Rover 2000 TC.
Mark 2: 83,976 produced between 1959 and 1967, split as follows:
2.4 litre – 25,173
3.4 litre – 28,666
3.8 litre – 30,141
240 and 340: 7,246 produced between 1967 and 1969, split as follows:
240 – 4,446
340 – 2,788
380 – 12 (not a standard production option)
The XJ6 was introduced in September 1968.
A 3.4 litre with automatic transmission tested by The Motor magazine in 1961 had a top speed of 119.9 mph (193.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.9 seconds. A touring fuel consumption of 19.0 miles per imperial gallon (14.9 l/100 km; 15.8 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £1951 including taxes of £614.
A 3.8 litre with the 220 bhp engine was capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and could reach a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).
Jaguar also marketed from 1962 to 1969 a distinctive Daimler version of the Mark 2 branded Daimler 2.5 V8 fitted with Daimler's 142 bhp (106 kW; 144 PS) 2½-litreV8. In late 1967 it was re-labelled V8-250 when the Mark 2 became the Jaguar 240. As well as being significantly more powerful than the 2.4-litre XK6, the more modern Daimler engine was shorter and also lighter by about 150 lb (68 kg). This significant reduction in mass over the front wheels and redistribution of weight to the rear reduced understeer during hard cornering.
These cars were externally identified by Daimler fluting at the top of the radiator grille and the top of the rear number plate lamp cover, their smoothness, and the sound of their V8 engine. They were given distinctive interior fittings.
The Mark 2's body lines, derived from the Mark 1, and overall layout proved sufficiently popular over time to provide an inspiration for the second-generation Jaguar S-Type, a nostalgia model introduced in 1999.
The style of the Mark 2 influenced Japanese automaker Mitsuoka Motors to produce the Viewt in 1994, a subcompact hatchback festooned with gaudy pseudo Jaguar MK2 features.
Portrayal in media
Jaguar Mark 2
The Mark 2 gained a reputation as a capable car among criminals and law enforcement alike; the 3.8 litre model being particularly fast with its 220 bhp (164 kW) engine driving the car from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) with enough room for five adults. Popular as getaway cars, they were also employed by the police to patrol British motorways.
The Mark 2 is also well known as the car driven by fictional TV detective Inspector Morse played by John Thaw; Morse's car was the version with 2.4 litre engine, steel wheels and Everflex vinyl roof. In November 2005, the car used in the television series sold for more than £100,000 following a total ground-up rebuild (prior to this, in its recommissioned state in 2002 after coming out of storage, it had made £53,000 at auction – £45,000 more than an equivalent without the history). In the original novels by Colin Dexter, Morse had driven a Lancia but Thaw insisted on his character driving a British car in the television series.
In the 1987 British film Withnail and I, a light-grey 1961 Mark II 2.4 litre in very poor condition serves as the main transport for the eponymous main characters' disastrous trip to the Lake District.
In the late 1980s to early 1990s the character Joey Boswell drove a black Jaguar 240 in the British TV comedy "Bread".
In the Rivers of London (novel) series (2011-present), Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last officially sanctioned English wizard, drives a Mark 2 (3.8 litre engine). The main character, Police Constable Peter Grant, is forbidden from driving it after he deliberately drives an ambulance into the River Thames.
Detective John Stone and his partner, Carmen Dehan, drive Sone's Mark 2, a burgundy 1964 Mark II, with right-hand drive, in Blake Banner's "Dead Cold" mysteries.