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Just as this book closed for press, John Egan, Chairman and Managing Director of Jaguar Cars Ltd, stated publicly the company's firm intention to produce once more a "compact Jaguar", to be sold alongside the already scheduled XJ replacement. At present such a car is in the earliest of planning stages, but the fact that Jaguar have acknowledged the vital role which a small, sporting saloon could play in its future model range indicates once more the value and 'rightness' of the Mk 2 Jaguar saloon in its own time.
For many people, the Mk 2 was the ideal car. It wasn't too big, yet it was quite roomy enough for a family tour of a continent. It wasn't too thirsty, yet it had more performance than virtually any other saloon car on the road. There was no ostentation about its appearance, but it was handsome and distinctive. And, of course, while the quality was maintained, the on-the-road price was amazingly small when you considered all that your money bought. No wonder then, when Jaguar finally worked through the waiting lists for the XJ6, that the lack of a smaller, more economical and handier Jaguar saloon was felt in an age when the car buying public — even in the luxury bracket — had come to be a little shy of larger and thirstier vehicles.
In this book, the reader is given a comprehensive profile of the Mk 2 Jaguar, how it came about, what made it a success, and why it finally had to leave production. And while the car remained substantially unchanged over its 10-year lifespan (including the 240), there's a very detailed cataloguing of many of the minor improvements which Jaguar did incorporate in that period.
I would very much like to acknowledge the help of a few key people who contributed to this book. Firstly, Nigel Thorley who not only submitted to a formal interview for our "Owner's View", but also divulged many details about early Mk 2s, of which his own car, 7555 EL, must be one of the best and most original examples in existence. Nigel spent hours tracking down and confirming production changes and generally assisting me with this project.
I'm also very grateful to the other owners who put their magnificent cars at my disposal for a long photographic session, Ronald Andrews with his superb concours-winning dark blue 3.8, and R.W.B.Redcliffe whose golden-sand 3.4 must be about the best of its type in the country. Then I don't know what I would have done but for Karen Miller, who was able to supply much needed pictures of the North American specification Mk 2. Karen could not provide a Mk 2 from her or Ed Miller's stable (they have supreme examples of 'E' type
and XK 120) but found what was required in the form of airline pilot Joe Rowe's lovely white 3.8 automatic. It isn't really necessary to say much more — the cars speak for themselves through the pictures, and add so much to the worth of this book.
Autocar and Motor magazines were extremely helpful in allowing the reproduction of their respective contemporary road tests of the Jaguar Mk 2.
Finally, I would like to thank Andrew Whyte for helping me out with pictures of the Mk 2 in competition, and Jaguar Cars themselves for photographs which filled in the gaps from my own collection. The end result has been, I hope, a compact yet comprehensive study of a car which, though it fled its faults, is remembered with affection. I certainly enjoyed my ownership of a 3.8 Mk 2, and consider that a well-maintained example of the breed still represents an efficient, enjoyable and rapid means of covering long distances.
Publisher: Distributed in USA by Haynes Publications