Jaguar Mark II


The Full History of the Jaguar Mark II: A Comprehensive Overview


The Jaguar Mark II, produced between 1959 and 1967, is a vehicle that has shaped both automotive history and British culture. A luxury sedan that managed to blend exquisite design with top-tier performance, the Mark II became a symbol of 1960s British elegance. In this extensive overview, we’ll explore the complete history of the Mark II, touching on its designers, engine and performance specifications, racing history, design, cultural impact, and legacy.

Designers Behind the Mark II

Sir William Lyons – The Visionary

Sir William Lyons, co-founder of Jaguar, was the visionary behind the Mark II’s design. He sought to create a car that would be both elegant and powerful. With his astute understanding of aerodynamics and an eye for aesthetics, Lyons designed a vehicle that would appeal to the refined tastes of Jaguar’s clientele.

A Team of Excellence

Though Lyons was the leading figure, he was supported by a talented team of engineers and designers, including Malcolm Sayer, who would later play a crucial role in the design of the legendary E-Type.

Early Sketches and Concepts

The Mark II’s design began with a series of sketches by Lyons and his team. The goal was to create a more streamlined and spacious version of its predecessor, the Mark I.

Wind Tunnel Testing

Lyons and his team used wind tunnel testing to refine the car’s aerodynamics, ensuring a sleek profile without sacrificing stability.

A Deep Dive into Engine and Performance

2.4-Liter Engine

  • Type: DOHC straight-6
  • Power: 120 hp
  • Performance: Smooth ride and fuel efficiency

This engine provided an accessible entry point into Jaguar’s luxury range and underwent several refinements throughout its production, improving both performance and reliability.

3.4-Liter Engine

  • Type: DOHC straight-6
  • Power: 210 hp
  • Performance: Balanced between performance and refinement

This mid-range option was popular among driving enthusiasts.

3.8-Liter Engine

  • Type: DOHC straight-6
  • Power: 220 hp
  • Performance: Potent, robust, and reliable

The 3.8-liter engine was the racing legend of the range, sharing much with Jaguar’s sports cars, including the D-Type.

Jaguar Mark II: Racing History

Saloon Car Championships

The Jaguar Mark II made an indelible mark on the world of saloon car racing. With its 3.8-liter engine, it became a dominant force in the British Saloon Car Championship, winning numerous titles throughout the 1960s. Piloted by legendary drivers like Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori, and Mike Hawthorn, the Mark II earned a reputation as the car to beat in its class.

Touring Car Races

Beyond domestic competitions, the Mark II also made a name for itself in international touring car races. Its well-balanced design and robust performance made it a favorite among professional drivers. The Mark II’s success in the European Touring Car Championship solidified Jaguar’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the touring car arena.

Rally Racing

The Mark II’s agility, endurance, and adaptability made it a strong performer in demanding rally conditions. It found success in some of the most grueling rally races, including the Monte Carlo Rally and the Tour de France Automobile. The vehicle’s ability to tackle various terrains while maintaining stability and speed showcased its engineering excellence.

Privateer Success

The Mark II wasn’t just a car for professional teams; it also appealed to private racers. Many privateers found success with the Mark II, tweaking and tuning the car to meet their specific needs. Its balance of power, handling, and reliability made it a popular choice for those looking to compete without the backing of a major team.

Race Modifications

To keep up with the demands of various racing categories, several modifications were made to the Mark II. These included weight reduction through stripped interiors, the addition of roll cages for safety, performance-enhancing tweaks to the engine, suspension adjustments, and aerodynamic improvements. These modifications allowed the Mark II to remain competitive throughout its racing career.

Influence on Racing Regulations

The success of the Mark II in saloon and touring car racing led to changes in regulations. Its dominance prompted governing bodies to reevaluate classification rules and competition structure to ensure a level playing field. The car’s influence on the racing scene was such that it played a role in shaping the future of motorsport regulations.

Retirement and Legacy

By the late 1960s, the Mark II began to retire from competitive racing as newer models and technologies emerged. However, its legacy as a champion in various racing categories endures. Today, the Mark II is celebrated in historic racing events, where it continues to be a favorite among enthusiasts.

Jaguar Mark II: A Masterpiece of Design

Exterior Design: Elegance and Aerodynamics

The Jaguar Mark II’s exterior design is a fine blend of elegance and aerodynamics. Its sleek and curvy bodywork, coupled with slender chrome detailing, offered an aggressive yet refined appearance. Sir William Lyons’s masterful touch in the car’s design can be seen in the large rear window, distinctive grill, and tapered tail, which enhanced both aesthetics and performance. The use of wind tunnel testing to refine the car’s aerodynamics ensured that it maintained a sleek profile without sacrificing stability or speed.

Interior Craftsmanship: Luxury and Functionality

The Mark II’s interior was a realm of luxury that also emphasized functionality. Leather seats, wood veneers, and polished chrome accents adorned the cabin, reflecting an era of elegance and sophistication. The dashboard was thoughtfully arranged, with instrumentation placed directly in front of the driver and secondary gauges aligned in the leather-grained center of the dash. Traditional English fold-down tea trays in the rear seats added a unique touch, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to detail and luxury.

Innovations in Comfort and Control

The Mark II introduced several innovations that set new standards in comfort and control. All-around disc brakes were revolutionary at the time, providing superior and consistent stopping power. The car’s suspension featured an independent front system and a live rear axle, balancing a comfortable ride with precise handling.

Engine Integration and Design

Under the hood, the Mark II’s engine options were artfully integrated into the overall design. The choice of three different straight-6 engines allowed for a wide range of performance profiles, catering to various customer preferences. Whether it was the accessible 2.4-liter engine or the potent 3.8-liter option, each was designed and positioned to contribute to the car’s balanced handling.

Iconic Features and Details

Some design details became iconic features of the Mark II. Its quad headlamps framed by chrome bezels, wire-spoke wheels, and the gracefully integrated rear fender are standout elements that contribute to its timeless appeal.

Design Evolution

Over its production period, the Mark II underwent subtle refinements to enhance aesthetics and performance. Changes in chrome trim, badging, and interior materials were made to keep the car contemporary without losing its classic appeal.

Influence on Future Models

The design principles embedded in the Mark II had a lasting influence on subsequent Jaguar models. Its blend of performance aesthetics and luxurious interiors became a template for future luxury sport sedans, guiding Jaguar’s design philosophy in later years.











Jaguar Mark II: A Symbol in Pop Culture

1. Film and Television Appearances

The Jaguar Mark II has graced both the big and small screens, making appearances in various films and television series. Perhaps one of its most famous roles was in the British TV series “Inspector Morse,” where the iconic 2.4-liter Mark II became a symbol of the main character’s refined taste. Its appearance in films like “Performance” (1970) further solidified its status as a stylish and sophisticated choice for cinematic characters.

2. Association with Celebrities

Beyond fictional characters, the Mark II found favor with real-life celebrities and public figures. Renowned individuals like Sir Jackie Stewart were seen behind the wheel of this car, reinforcing its image as a vehicle of prestige and taste. Its association with high-profile personalities added an extra layer of allure to the Mark II’s reputation.

3. Advertising and Marketing Icon

The Mark II’s image was leveraged in advertising and marketing efforts, not only for Jaguar but for other brands as well. Its elegant design and high performance made it an ideal symbol for luxury and excellence, making it a common feature in print advertisements, commercials, and marketing campaigns of the era.

4. Literature and Creative Writing

In literature and creative writing, the Jaguar Mark II became a symbol of British refinement and style. Novelists and writers often used the car to define characters or set the tone for particular scenes, embedding the vehicle in narratives that spanned various genres.

5. Fashion and Lifestyle Influences

The design and elegance of the Mark II transcended automotive circles and influenced fashion and lifestyle trends. It became emblematic of a certain era of British style, and its design principles found echoes in clothing, accessories, and interior design. The car became not just a mode of transportation but a lifestyle statement.

6. Classic Car Collectors and Enthusiasts

In the world of classic car collectors and enthusiasts, the Mark II holds a special place. Its combination of historical significance, design innovation, and cultural impact makes it a prized possession. Classic car shows, magazines, and clubs celebrate the Mark II as a piece of automotive art, further embedding it in the broader cultural consciousness.

7. The Mark II as Art

Furthermore, the Mark II’s aesthetic appeal has led to its treatment as a piece of art. Moreover, automotive artists and photographers have often chosen the Mark II as a subject, capturing its lines and curves in various artistic mediums. Additionally, the car has been exhibited in galleries and featured in art collections, testifying to its enduring visual appeal.

The Legacy of the Mark II

Collectors and Enthusiasts

The Mark II continues to have a strong following among collectors and enthusiasts.

Jaguar Heritage

Within Jaguar’s history, the Mark II holds a special place, symbolizing a time when the brand successfully blended luxury, performance, and style.


Moreover, the Jaguar Mark II is a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Additionally, its history is rich, woven into automotive culture and British identity. Furthermore, from Sir William Lyons’ visionary approach to its engines, to its triumphant racing history and innovative design features, the Mark II remains an iconic representation of Jaguar’s commitment to excellence.

Sell Your Classic Mark II

Furthermore, the slogan in the ads for these vehicles was perfect: “Grace… Space… Pace.” Additionally, these cars are a perfect symbol of what a “saloon car” should be. Moreover, a major difference between these and the Mark I models is the larger cabin glass area, which makes seeing so much easier. Furthermore, built between 1959 and 1967, these vehicles boasted a tough 3.4-litre engine with an automatic transmission. Lastly, despite its sophisticated, almost aristocratic look, this car has a high top-end speed of 119.9 mph.


Are you looking to sell your classic Jaguar Mark II? Give us a call at (310) 399-3990 or email us at and we’ll give you a free quick quote. At Sell a Classic Car, we buy your vintage vehicles with the least possible inconvenience to you.