Collecting And Maintaining A Classic MK2 Jaguar 340
Collecting And Maintaining A Classic MK2 Jaguar 340 is something I wanted from a small boy. So to own a Mk2 Jaguar 340 and a Sovereign XJ is an ambition fulfilled. Both cars are gorgeous (well I thinks so). These cars were made at the end of their production runs, so are well sorted. The 340 ceased production in 1968 and mine is a G registration, registered in 1969. It must have been ‘old stock’ that was in the showroom, when the new model cars were also being sold.
Stop Press: 17th October 2016
After contacting the Jaguar Heritage site (and I have more information to follow) I now know that my 340 was 170th from the end of production!
On with the story
I sought out the Mk2 340 because it has both power steering and an automatic gearbox as standard items. These are important specifications to me as its difficult to drive a manual. Also the Mk2 is known for having heavy steering if it is without power assistance.
Mk2 Jaguar 340.
I have owned my Mk2 for around 10 years now. In that time I have added to her refurbishment as it were. Bodywork was done by a local autoparts shop owner, who over the years has become a friend. The automatic box failed early on in my ownership, but I found a local one man band who only repairs auto boxes. He did and excellent job, and he was 50% cheaper than the other specialist repairers.
That is the only mechanical failure to date. She is serviced once a year and is always garaged (well nearly always – more later). The servicing schedules for these early cars bears no relationship to ‘modern’ cars. My oil changes are around what is recommended and I do very little mileage!
Inside the Cabin
More has been refurbished inside the cabin than elsewhere such as a new headlining. This was fitted by a firm in Ivybridge (nearer Plymouth, Devon). The original Ambla interior (which appeared in the later models)has been replaced with a nice red leather. An upholster in Brixham carried out the covering of the seats and a new set of carpets from eBay made a great difference.
The woodwork was renewed by a smashing young chap from Somerset. A real character, who travelled down in a clapped out Audi, which he runs on old chip oil! It rattled and smoked but he didn’t seem to care and did a smashing job fitting a completely new set of wood that had been veneered. This included not only the dash but door caps and the wood trim around the top of the doors.
The new woodwork
He spent all day at it so I bought him some local fish and chips (generous to a fault), and he carried on. A real character and nice lad. The door cards were also replaced by the well known company Aldridge trimmers and again I was pleased with the results.
My final, and perhaps most expensive indulgence, were a set of new Chrome Wire Wheels. They were certainly expensive. Some may even disagree with them being on the Mk2 340 since it came with body coloured steel wheels and chrome inlays. A concourse car is not what I want or seek. The car is not going to be a monument to my polishing skills (too difficult) but one I can enjoy driving around locally.
Wire Wheels are not standard – but they do set her off.
I think the wire wheels actually make the car, and I like them! So the car now is in as good a condition as I can make her, without going overboard. She certainly draws attention to herself and its great as a driver, since no one ever notices you. Its the car they remember, and thats how it should be.
She brings a lot of smiles to passers by and even youngsters watch he go by. Strangely enough her driving position is comfortable to me, for short distance driving, and a better position than many modern cars (except my XJ Sovereign perhaps). So if you see a Primrose yellow Mk2 Jaguar in the Brixham, Devon area, give me a wave…..
The Jaguar Sovereign
My 2008 Jaguar Sovereign as it happens, is also one of those towards the end of their manufacturing run. It has the same body style as that introduced when the Mk2 stopped production! So in a sense they follow on from each other, or thats what I like to think.
I prefer this shape to its replacement. Although the new model is a special car in its own right and if I was offered a new one by Jaguar, I may have to accept….but the other two cars would stay as well 🙂 My freedom to choose my own car came on retirement. I indulged myself in my lifetime ambition of driving a Jaguar.
I bought the first from Nigel and Shirley of Beechdown Garage, who specialise in low mileage Jaguars. They have since become good friends (in case I want another deal? only joking) and they have supplied ALL my subsequent Jags. The first was some 13 or 14 years ago and was an XJ sport in carnival red. I loved that car and she didn’t miss a beat in my ownership. She was immaculate, low mileage and great to drive.
My second was a XJ Sovereign, in Mistral Blue with a 4.2L engine. The Mistral blue XJ was superb. So much so that she stayed with us for neigh on 8 or 9 years! I would still have her, if it wasn’t for my mobility issues degenerating. I was finding it more difficult to get in and out of her. This may sound strange for such a big car but that particular variant sits lower to the ground than you may think. In any event it was causing difficulties which I continued to ignore, because the car was so nice,
An interloper appears – Aluminium bodied XK convertible.
Nigel arranges all my servicing and whilst visiting his premises, I saw a gorgeous red XK. It was the new aluminium bodied convertible. I jokingly passed some comment to Nigel and he said to sit in it. I did consider an XK on retirement but because it was difficult to get into, being lower than I could manage, I decided it would be a waste of time, and said so.
Nigel, always trying to find ways of parting me from the grandchildren’s inheritance, opened the door and said that these were in fact higher that the previous model. Just to shut him up really, I decided to try …………..yup, he was right, it was easier to get into than the car parked in front of his sales area, awaiting a service. Now I was in trouble because the price of the car was three or four times the most I had ever paid for any car!
It was nice though……………No…….., it was too expensive, so off I went home. I suspect Nigel knew I would return………. and sure enough I was out with my brother Steve and related the tale to him, when I promise you, he kidnapped me……he did! and dragged me over to see Nigel straight away. It may have been revenge on his part, since I had managed to convert Steve away from his BMW fetish and to the wonderful world of Jaguar some time ago.
Test drive of an Aluminium bodied XK convertible
So we went went for a test drive. Only to check, if in a few years when the price dropped, …I could think then of buying one. It was nice….it was! The seating position was perfect, the best ever, as it had the million different seating positions……and was even comfortable. It was too much though, and the guilt of spending a significant amount of money on myself, was strong…….but it was nice………no ……… I definitely couldn’t afford it, and thats final…….but it was nice………..
Sandy and my children (well they’re in their 30’s) kept on and on about me buying it. So on the 17th September 2010 (my 60th birthday) I collected my red coloured Jaguar XK convertible from Nigel and Shirley’s…..ignoring the guilt I drove it home…..then around Brixham…….then home…….and its the best car I have ever had (at that price).
Comparing the Engineering
Comparing the engineering of the Mk2 with the XK or even the Sovereign ‘s shows just how far engineering has improved. Not only in the machining but also the modern metal’s. In 40 years the advances have been extraordinary. It does make you think though about the Apollo missions and what they achieved with the technology of those times including computing power. How on earth (sorry) they did it is extraordinary .
Back to the XK and it was nice……. have I said that? We even took her to France on a short Holiday with both of our Children and their partners. I drove all the way (not on the Ferry though) from our home to our accommodation. Its hard to believe that the total driving distance was under 50 miles, from door to door. Between which we had a comfortable night in a cabin on the Ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff. The car caused quite a bit of interest to the local population, so much so I thought I had brought the Mk2!. Now there’s a thought……
Sadly the XK had to go after a couple of years. It was getting harder to get in and out of her. After a couple of cars in between we arrive at our current Jaguar. Its coming up to its first birthday with us and I feel its going to be with us for as long as our Mistral Blue 4.2L XJ.
The three of us together.
So thats my two current cars and here they are together. I’m not a great lover of photos of myself and don’t understand this crazy obsession with ‘selfies’ so it’s really unusual for you to see a picture of me……its only the Jags I would do it for! Here they are……my girls!