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|Mark II Jaguar 2.4 (1966)
0-60 (0-96 kmh)
6 cyl twin overhead camshaft
120 bhp @ 5750 rpm
96 mph (153.6 kmh)
25,070 (2.4 litres)
83,980 (all models)
|The following is information on a Mark II Jaguar I acquired last year in Singapore.
Like all classic cars it requires an element of TLC and an inordinant amount of attention - which as classic car owners all know is part of their charm. This little one however has been perhaps more "charming" than I had first anticipated.
Attached below is the reason why and below that some history on the car and its current rebuild/restoration. Enjoy.
|Adventures of a Mark II
|Article published in the Jaguars West Magazine June 2001
|Finding yourself a Mark II in Singapore is not easy. Last estimate is that there are 12 on the island (including Daimler variants) and they don't surface very often. My break came when an existing owner was being transferred overseas. As luck would have it, he had just completed a body restoration and had replaced all of the consumerables (shocks, pads, bushes, rubbers etc) leaving me with a car in reasonable enough condition.The mechanicals were in fair condition and I was duly warned of an impending clutch change. Otherwise a good example of a lovely car.
Money changed hands (and because of the restrictions on cars in Singapore far more than you would pay in Australia..) and in April last year, I became the 13th owner of SN4183E - a 1966 2.4 litre 4 speed Mark II, delivered to the island new in July 1966.
The first major project was the upgrading of the airconditioning . (I was leaving the clutch to the last minute as you will find out later). I hear cries of "wuss" in the distance but I must point out that the lads at Coventry exceeded themselves in the art of heat soak. Twenty minutes in an unairconditioned MkII on any day in Singapore reduces you to a greasy stain on the seat, and as I intended to use this as my daily convenience this would not do - the a/c had to be fixed.
Full of bravado and confidence in my now cool and breezy Jag I began to venture beyond the island to participate in regional outings in Malaysia - the first in a town called Muar in Johore required a 3 hour freeway journey. Cruelly, I directed SN4183E northwards and settled into a cruising speed of 75 mph. Within an hour, the fuel pump cried foul and imposed a speedlimit of 60 mph. In support of this measure, the starter solinoid went out on strike and for the rest of the weekend I was reduced to parking on anything at an angle.
A visit to the mechanic the next week saw revenge as one fuel pump and one solinoid were banished and replaced with more compliant members. Ready and keen for the next Malaysian venture - 400 miles north to Ipoh for the Annual Pos Slim Hill Climb held each April.
No complaints were heard as cruising speed was attained and the car would start on demand. Such was my confidence that I began to park on flat surfaces and lifted the freeway cruising speed to a noisy but exilherating 80 mph. Fools rush in they say.. The trip to Ipoh was uneventful, the car's performance commendable if not outstanding, and it did not disgrace itself at the hill climb coming 4th in its class. I left for home buoyed with confidence and some pride in my relative success.
By the time I had reached Kuala Lumpur, (2 hours into the 7 hour trip home) trouble had begun brewing. The clutch had decided that here was the moment it would depart from the car. The familiar sound of metal on metal rang through every gear change and heavy acceleration. How much time did I have left? Now of course I did bring with me the classic car enthusiast tool kit - (the mobile phone) but having been away the whole weekend, the instrument was running dangerously low on battery. My next call would be my last! And being a Sunday on a long weekend none of the Malaysian ATMs on the freeway would lend me a cent! No cash and just one phone call. But there's more.
A further hour into my travel (and just when I was beginning to think I would get away with it and return safely to Singapore) previously quiet tappets changed their tone from a quite symphony to a rage of Black Sabbath live concert accompaniment. Fine - I knew these would start sooner or later - mental note to Harry the mechanic that we really need to work on the engine this week. Would my mental planning have any appeasing effect.... nope.
Black Sabbath were into their 3rd song when Hells Angels made a guest appearance under my bonnet. Sounding like chains and a bass drum, the timing chains and big ends detached. Unbelievably the car was still moving and had only lost a small amount of power. I congratulated myself that at least I would be able to direct SS Titanic to a nearby Iceberg with a phone and maybe a cool drink under 1 dollar. Nope.
The Hells Angels/Black Sabbath gig was a short one - maybe a minute then it ended. SN4183E coasted on its inertia to a quiet stop on the verge just outside of Malacca. As it stopped the hissing started. I ducked for the fire extinguisher and stood by again hoping good mental thoughts would deliver me from a roadside burnout. Yep - you can call me lucky. I had noted that the nearest emergency phone was 1 km away and locked up in preparation for the walk.
Now from here things started to go my way. Within 5 minutes, some friends who were also on the way back from Ipoh stopped by. Within 2 minutes of that, the free Motorway towing service arrived and within 30 minutes of that the car was in Malacca. Arrangements were being made for an overnight lockup and travel for me back to Singapore.
So now the car is back in Singapore. To the other members of the club I am some sort of anti-hero. Harry the mechanic has yet to tell me the news and just how much of his new beach house I will be paying for this month. My wife thinks I am an idiot (loveable but still an idiot). My staff cannot conceive why anyone would have a car older than 10 years but for reasons beyond me I have to say I haven't had so much fun since I blew the piston rings off Mum's Datsun 1000.
|The Mark 1 and the Mark 2 - a quick overview
The MK II range was an evolution of the earlier Jaguar 2.4 and 3.4 models. These cars were renamed in retrospect to the MK 1 and were Jaguar's first attempt at a compact sports saloon. The idea was popular as it's size, performance, saloon body shape and price enabled aspiring family drivers to enter the sports market. The car was the 1950s equivalent of the 5 series BMW.
The Mk II reflected Jaguar's new relaxed familiarity with the new technology and featured a much larger glass area, with separate window frames being substituted for the Mk 1's heavy frames integrated into the door. The Mk 1 models were in hindsight, somewhat over-engineered (because of being the first Jaguar monococque design and concern over rigidity of a chassis-less frame). The front and rear windscreens were also larger. The interior became much brighter because of the increased glass area, and the dash was redesigned to place the speedometer and tachometer in front of the driver, with the ancillary instruments and controls placed in the center. This general arrangement was to become a Jaguar "trademark" for the next 12 years, and was only changed with the introduction of the Series II XJ6 in 1973.
The Mk II became an instant success, totally overshadowing the original 2.4 and 3.4 designs.
The Mk II featured the same engine sizes, plus the addition of the 3.8 from the XK150 which was popular with the English constabulary for patrolling the new de-restricted Motorways of the era as well as racing car drivers and the occasional villain.
Suprisingly for its time the Mark II offered a trip meter, adjustable steering wheel as standard as well as Automatic transmission, overdrive, heated rear window, rear childproof locks, seatbelts and reclining front seats as options. Power steering was available on 3.4 and 3.8 models from September 1960
The Mk II was significant as the model that spawned a host of variants during the 1960's from the S-Type of 1963, through the 420 of 1966. Each went upmarket, filling perceived gaps between the compact Jaguars and the MKX (later renamed as the 420G).
The Mark II in Singapore
In keeping with Singapore's British influence the Jaguar enjoyed a loyal audience in Singapore and Malaya in general. As well as direct delivery many were personally imported to the island.
In the 1970s the introduction of measures by the Singaporean government saw many of the mark exported to New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia. The Achilles heel of the Mark II - rust also contributed to the drop in numbers.
Today approximately 11 remain on the island comprising of 8 x MkIIs and 3 x Daimler 250s variants
|Castrol ad from 1956 -Courtesy of the MSVCR
|This particular Mark II
This car has a history that has been reasonably well documented. The car was manufactured in April 1966 and delivered to Singapore new. The Singapore Jaguar distibutor at that stage was Cycle and Carriage. The car was first registered in June 1966 in and keeps its original number still today.
Its delivery colour was grey but it is not known which of the Jaguar greys that were available at the time. It has been three colours in its life, spending the 80s in a bottle green metalic and now more recently taken back to the metal and resprayed Black.
|This Mark II underwent a rebuild firstly in 1989 which covered body and engine (photos below) and a more thorough restoration in March of 2000.It spent most of the 1980s in a slightly off British Racing Green colour and was resprayed (back to the metal) black in 2000.
Much of the work todate has been done by Henderson Motors in Sin Ming - the resident experts for old Jags in Singapore - to a high level of quality. Harry, the owner is himself an enthusiast which shows in the care and approach he and his team have to their work.
The second rebuild was done in March 2000 and focused on the body and consumerables. In this rebuild attention was paid to trim, paintwork, brakes, body condition, shocks and electrics.
After the spectacular display on the Malaysian Motorway near Malacca the decision was made to do a complete mechanical restoration rather than just attend to the clutch and engine faults that had occurred (see below for details). Much of this work has been contracted out through contacts in Perth to get the major rebuilds done with Harry (Henderson Motors) acting as the coordinator as pieces of the work return. Harry will also do the ancillary rebuilds as well as engine bay cleanup and fitting a new wiring harness if need be.
In addition the internal woodwork has been pulled out for refinishing and a new hoodlining is to be attached.
|Photos from the restoration of the Mark II.
|The original engine rebuild - back in 1989
|Photos from the restoration of the Mark II. Two coat respray March 2000
|Installation of airconditioning, thorough floor repairs, respray with cat paws! drying nicely...
|The latest rebuild
The prognosis was not good, once we had towed the car back to Singapore from Malacca (an exercise in itself requring two tow trucks, a handover at the border and a crossing surcharge of 200 RMB) we were able to pull down the engine and review the damage.
The engine had sufferred badly, the head was shot, two of the pistons had self destructed and the others burnt, tappets and the big ends had taken on different shapes and the crank had snapped clean in two. Internally there was evidence of corrosion in the block which combined with the recollection of two separate fluid leaks at the time of the breakdown suggested an internal coolant blockage within the engine block .
So what had happened? Why such a dramatic demise? Harry suspects I did not check the oil on the trip back from Ipoh (a 6 hour highspeed drive) and though this MkII does not leak oil it does consume it nethertheless. The doctor declared a case of oil starvation, resulting in seized engine, broken crank etc etc.
As well of course the clutch as described earlier had indeed died all of which neccessitated a review of what the next step should be.
My trip to Perth the previous November had resulted in a number of contacts for parts, repairs and advice. Terry McGrath club historian of the WAJCC was my main contact and through him I was able to source both parts and expertise for the job. The work could have been done in Singapore but for the driveshaft balancing and the wood. Also sourcing of parts is far easier in Australia where there is a bigger pool of people and cars. It was decided to send out the pieces for work in Australia and then reassemble the car back in Singapore, leaving the body here meant lower shipping costs and also allowed for a final assembly and review by the mechanics who would be servicing the car in Singapore
The decision was made to ship the affected parts of the car to Perth for rebuild/repair/restoration. In retrospect still a good decision but I was far from prepared for the delays and difficulties encountered in sourcing all the parts and the additional costs. Thank goodness the exchange rates moved in my favour.
|(sorry these are full sized and may take a while to generate)
|The latest rebuild - some of the parts shipped off to Perth, Western Australia
|At Harry's Garage - waiting for the parts
|At Harry's Garage - Parts arrive!
|The engine was a complete rebuild by Dave Sullivan Motors in Perth, at the same time they were able to source an Overdrive gearbox for more relaxed cruising. Ironically this meant that the propshaft need to be lengthened (!) to accomodate the overdrive. The shaft was lengthened and balanced also in Perth as well as reconditioned. The shaft was a main reason for doing the work in Western Australia as the balancing could not be done anywhere in Singapore. The Axle, not looked at since manufacture was also pulled apart and rebuilt.
|The wood ...ahh the wood.
When the decision was made to have the mechanicals done in Perth Terry McGrath of the W.A Jaguar Car Club was also able to source a wood shop to restore the wood and its veneer.
The wood was sent down with the mechanicals as well to Perth..
On review the veneer was irrepairable and the decision was made to start over with a new veneer. Sufficient veneer remained for the artisan to determine the appropriate pattern and shade to make the appearance as much like the original as possible.
|At Harry's Garage - The Final Product - putting Humpty back together again
|Reassembly proved trickier than anticipated.
A review of the parts supplied by Australia revealed a few errors in preparation and consumerables such as grommets, bushes etc needed to be ordered.
The axel had been reassembled in Perth backwards - luckily disassembly was uneventful and the correction was easily made (sometimes when assembled mechanics will use locktite which can damage the splines if you have to pull the axel apart such as we did.
The order of the bushes etc put another month's delay into the deal and a fatigued clutch master cylinder rubber sleeve sent the car back into the garage - it was the last thing we had not worked on - must have felt neglected.,
All in all the car had spent 6 months off the road, (estimate three to four) the total bill was 70% more than first estimated - but we had taken the opportunity to do things right and to clean as we went other items (steering, front and rear end suspension, air conditioning, the wood, electricals and also provision for my son's carseat!
What would I have done differently? I would have still sent parts to Australia but not as many as this time. The wood and the propshaft - these were the items where the expertise and cost meant it was worthwhile. The delegation of parts for repair to multiple vendors carried with it a time penalty - which only strict coordination on my part could have avoided. Next time I'd probably leave that to Harry.
|Beauuutiful! - Now so both inside and out...