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Jaguar S-Type

Jaguar S-Type Published: 19th Dec 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar S-Type
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Why should i buy one?

Mk2s are great but would be so much better if back seat comfort, interior roominess, a larger boot and better handling were added. And wouldn’t it be great if the E-type’s suspension could be gainfully employed at the same time? Well, Jaguar made such a model, the S-type and the company’s legendary Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis told Classic Motoring that he personally regarded it better than the Mk2. However, surprisingly few classic enthusiasts followed suit (not so when they were new however as they actually outsold the less expensive Mk2!) and this still keeps values comfortably under Mk2 levels.

What can i get?

Launched in ’63, S-type ran in tandem with the Mk2 until the latter’s demise. With no 2.4 due to poor performance only 3.4 and 3.8-litre engines were available the latter which was the best selling S-type by more than 30 per cent; as a result don’t be surprised to find 3.4 models duly uprated to 3.8 spec. Although manual (with or without overdrive were offered), most came as automatics.

The range was boosted by the 420 and a similar, plusher Daimler Sovereign in 1996 and it’s the best of the lot, both identified by a MkX-style nose that Lyons always wanted the S-type to wear.

Mechanically, the 420 used a 4.2 245bhp twin carb MkX engine. Other improvements included a new front axle incorporating a better power steering and new three-pot disc brake callipers.

The Daimler version was the best appointed and an auto only and the cheapest due to its frumpier badge.

On average, the S-type realises around 65 per cent the worth of an equivalent Mk2 with the strangely unloved 420 the most affordable of them all, being in the region of two-thirds the price of an equivalent S-type which means even the best struggles to make over £20,000 and you can buy a really good S-type/420 for the price of an average Mk2. It is highly unlikely that they will follow in the tyre tracks of the Mk1 and Mk2, value-wise either so it’s swings and roundabouts.

What are they like to drive?

You’d think that the addition of the E-type’s rear suspension would have enthusiasts drooling over S-types, but on the road the more skittish Mk2 remains the most liked thanks to its sportier feel. But if you favour comfort and cruising most of all then go for this scaled down MkX. Due to its lighter weight, and better aerodynamics, the Mk2 is the more agile cat. The 3.8 S-type is only marginally quicker than a 3.4 Mk2 but on the other hand the 420 is a bit of a Q car boasting a different character and more akin to the Series 1 XJ6. The cabin feels decidedly roomier compared to the Mk2 thanks to a flatter roof line and steeply raked rear screen thus increasing headroom while that elongated tail meant a far more usable 19cuft of boot space, too.

What are they like to live with?

They are more expensive cars than Mk2s to keep. Wings can cost almost £7000 with many panels being obsolete. S-type and 420 Sovereign may be largely Mk2-derived but the 420 also has a fair number of XJ6 bits in the mix as well. There’s even more wood and leather to restore than on a Mk2 and S-type values don’t generally dictate such expenditure. E-type rear suspension can amount to a £2000 overhaul bill but it transforms the car’s road manners at a stroke. Rare rear brake callipers are unique – and now rare to this model, to counter the added weight of the car.

We reckon

The S-type and especially 420 are great bargains and the time to buy is now before other enthusiasts cotton on to their superiority over Mk2s and push prices up.

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