Are you worried about this MkII picture?

Started By: Carl Carson on 2005-06-28 14:41:34


I'm looking a buying an old MkII jaguar (I've loved them all of my life!) but have no previous experience with restoring cars. The picture below looks a little scary to me but I'd like some of your professional opinions on this - is it a real showstopper? Is this something i should have a go a repairing myself? How much will it cost?

thanks all!

Coventry Carl


I am worried. looks like hidden rot and rust cancer. You need to start out with a healthier example, look at the damage to the left of the picture, not good, something bad happened there. I would pass on it.

This brings me to the subject of "MK-II fever"; Everybody wants a MK-II, I don't understand why because the S type (1963-1968) is the better car of the two; The S type has Independent Rear Suspension, like the E-type and the XJ-6/12 series since 1968; it has a a superb ride and handling; the MK-II has a stiff live axle, a very "jumpy" ride not to mention understeering at speed. (one rear tire has a tendency to lose contact with the road depending on the "leaning" at high cornering speeds). The S type has all Walnut dash panels, the MK-II has vinyl in the center panel, otherwise identical panels, until you look at the center console of the S type, more fine walnut and better design. The S type has beautiful sculptured "eyebrows" in the front fenders for the headlamps and auxiliary lamps, the MK-II does not, it looks like "shaved eyebrows". Otherwise both cars have the same front look though the only "shared" part is the hood/bonnet. The S type has a double exhaust system like the E-type and XJ-6/12, the MK-II has a single, kind of primitive system, otherwise the same 3.8 XK engine. I have driven both cars, deciding which one to own was a no-brainer, so I searched for a fine example of the S type until I found one; no rust, no "restorating", no rotted floors or rocker panels or jacking points, just an intact driver needing only improvements for comfort, I did not have to trailer it home, I drove it home 2,619 miles without any problems other than a inner tube loosing air. Like I say, if it won't bring me home, it ain't worth having.

The only "ugly" part of the S type are the rear wheel arches, seems like Jaguar designers were on vacation when that happened, but there is a bodywork modification that enlarges the arches like those of the MK-II, and you can even install Spats if you want. Sure it looks good, but why bother? The rear half of the S type looks very similar to the Rolls Royce of the same period, even the rear lamps are similar. Let it be.

thanks for the warning! I guess you must have been reading my thoughts - even from an amateurs perspective I really do like the look of the S type over the Mk2 - the problem I am having at the moment is that I can't find a good example for what I'm willing to pay. Any suggestions on what I should pay for a good runner with a little bit of work to do (nothing too major yet - its my first!). I'd really like it to be a 3.8 as well. And wheres a good place to find one!

thanks for the info again,

Coventry Carl

Carl, it took me 10 years to find an S type like I wanted it, and when I found it, I had to pay the asking price, there was no negotiating and it was no bargain, but it is a choice car and I was ready to bite the bullet, the car is intact and unrestored, the chrome has a beautiful "patina". I traveled to many states following ads in Hemmings, auctions on eBay, and other leads and ads that I found searching the internet. the seller always over-represents the condition, so when you get there, it is always a dissapointment in one way or another. If the car "has factory a/c", it never works. (those factory a/c systems were no good to begin with, so get an example without the factory a/c, there are modern kits available to retrofit the car which actually work); If the seller says "a little rust", it always is a little too much; the exhaust system will always be rusted-through, plan on spending $800.00 for a new stainless steel exhaust system. if the ad says "it's all there", it means the car has been sitting in a chicken coo for the last 30 years. You can't buy any car sight-unseen, you must see it in person, these cars are now over 40 years old, think about it. Carry a 2-ton jack and a powerful light in your trunk, don't wear good clothes, you will need to inspect under any potential candidate, it's a dirty job and only you can do it. Expect to pay anywhere between $8 and $25 grand for a decent driver, that's how disorganized the prices are, especially if you meet with someone who has owned the car for the last 25 years, they will be stubborn about the price, they know what they have, and those are usually the good cars. Everybody is an amateur when buying a car they have never owned before, so do your homework before diving. The 3.8 XK engine is a gem, I like it more than the 4.2 which came later. The 3.8 puts out lots of power. (I also own a '84 XJ-6 with a 4.2). Join the "S type Register" to get their Newsletter, it's a way to get leads but only members can have access, though there are not many leads. Search the internet. Careful at eBay, lot of people get burned, not to mention that getting in a Bidding War is stupid. Pass on it.

Keep this in mind: there were only around 25 thousand S types made from 1963 to 1968, for the entire world; Only a portion of those came to the US.
so very few were Left Hand Drive. Most went to Europe and Australia and most were Right Hand Drive, so your choices are few. Most US cars were automatic, not the best transmission to have if you are looking for a 4-speed stick shift, but definitely easier to service and easier to convert to a modern 4-speed automatic. Lots of considerations...

Then the concept of "attrition" comes into play: the loss of S types by accidents or abandoned during the last 40 years, the result is that there are not many running examples, most are junked by now.

below is a pic of my Imperial Red S type. The picture of the Blue one posted before was owned by a collector named Bruce and sold for a lot of money I understand. But I like the Red better!

thanks for you wealth of knowledge JAM - I may call on it in the future!

Coventry Carl

Call Mr. Garrett Borque in Connecticut he may help you in the right direction or he may have what you are looking for. Garrett's email is: and his phone is (207)549-5345.I have dealt with him for some spare parts and he has been very helpulf and reasoble in price. Also, he has givrn me very good advice on problems I have encountered with my MK2, which certainly with his advice I have been able to solve them.
My advice, only buy one that is running and is drivable, otherwise it will take you more money and time just to reach to that level. Also, MK2 are really going up on price recently, money wise for the future they are more desirable, the younger the better.
Good Luck

For what it's worth, let me throw this to you.
Last year, I bit the bullet and bought a Mk2. Exterior very good, interior unlike anything I or anyone else who has looked at has seen. Most incredible wood ever. Anyway, I have been to a few shows, and one of them was basically a "beauty pagent" of every British marque, and all drivers who entered could vote.

In a crowd of "modern" Jags and some E-types, my little Mk 2 got the most votes in her category. I've heard comments from E typers about the "little cars", "Inspector Morse cars", and "wanna-be Jags". However, listening to the public comments, people love the Mk 2 and how classy they appear. Friend of mine came to town a few months ago, and I drove him to his hotel in North Scottsdale. He commented that the people in the Maserati were checking the Jag out about as hard as he was checking out their car.

Anyway, one point raised is quite appropriate, in that in any 40+ year old, there are always issues. Wilwood front brakes, updated aluminum radiator, updated starter, etc.

Be ready to spend some money in recon and updating, and that does not include trips to the jewelry shop because other females get jealous of the money spent.
1963 Mk.2 3.8 "Pearl"