Jaguar Mark 2 front

Jaguar Mark 2 front view

The Jaguar Mark 2 is a medium-sized saloon car built from 1959 to 1967 by the Jaguar company in Coventry, England, as successors to the Jaguar 2.4 and 3.4 models, manufactured between 1957 and 1959. These retrospectively became known as the Jaguar Mark 1 following the release of the Mark 2 in 1959.


Adhering to Sir William Lyons' maxim of "grace, pace and space", the Mark 2 was a beautiful, fast and capable saloon. It came with a 120 bhp 2.4 L, 210 bhp 3.4 L or 220 bhp 3.8 L 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- and 3.8-litre cars were fitted with twin SU HD6 carburettors and the 2.4 with twin Solex carburetters

The Daimler 2.5-litre engine was fitted to the Daimler 250 derivative of the Mark 2 (In European markets known as the Daimler 2.5-V8 then Daimler V8-250), having first been used in the Daimler SP250 sports car (the SP250 was originally known as the Daimler Dart but "Dart" was a trademark of Dodge and had to be dropped by Daimler under threat of legal action.) The Daimler engine, which had a cast-iron block and alloy cylinder heads, was lighter than the cast-iron block Jaguar sixes by about 150 lb (68 kg), therefore reducing the mass over the front wheels and hence reducing understeer compared to the XK-powered versions under hard cornering. These models were recognisable by the characteristic Daimler wavy fluting incorporated in the chrome grille instead of the Jaguar badge and figurine.

The Mark 2 was discontinued in September 1967 and replaced by the 240 and 340, so named to distinguish them from the old 2.4 and 3.4 which, as noted above, became known as the Mark 1 following the introduction of the Mark 2 in 1959. The Jaguar 240 and 340 were interim models to fill the gap until the introduction of the XJ6 in September 1968. The 340 was discontinued immediately, but the 240 continued as a budget priced model until April 1969; its price of £1364 was only £20 more than the first 2.4 in 1956.

The economies of the new 240 and 340 models came at a cost – the leather upholstery was replaced by "Ambla" leather-like material and slimmer, more economical front and rear bumpers were introduced. Other changes included the replacement of the front fog lamps with circular vents and optional fog lamps for the UK market. The sales price was reduced to compete with the Rover 2000 TC.

The 240's performance was improved over the old 2.4 model by upgrading the 2.4's cylinder head and twin Solex carburettors to the straight port 'E-Type' head and twin SU carburettors. For the first time the 2.4-litre model could exceed 100 mph, resulting in a slight sales resurgence.


Mark 2, 1959 to 1967 83,976 Mark 2s were built, split as follows:

2.4 – 25,173
3.4 – 28,666
3.8 – 30,141

240 and 340 series, 1967 to 1969 total production 7,246 as follows:

240 – 4,446
340 – 2,788
380 – 12 (not a standard production option)

Jaguar replaced the 240 and 340 with the XJ6 in September 1968.


A 3.4-litre car 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 car 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).


The Mark 2 was raced successfully in the European Touring Car Championship. The Mark 2 was also a formidable force in the British Touring Car Championship in the early 1960s, taking twenty race wins on the trot between 1961 and 1963.

Influence on modern Jaguars

The Mark 2's body lines, derived from the Mark 1, and overall layout proved sufficiently popular over time to provide an inspiration for both the Jaguar S-Type introduced in 1999 and the smaller X-Type debuted in 2001.

Portrayal in media

Jaguar Mark 2The 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, although Morse's car was the least desirable version (with its 2.4 L engine, steel wheels and Everflex vinyl roof). It was often pushed into scenes with engine noises dubbed onto the soundtrack in post-production. 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 – some £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.

John Thaw stated in one interview that the Jaguar was "an absolute arse to drive".


v · d · e
Jaguar vehicles

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.