Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Jaguar Mk. 2

Published: 27th Apr 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Leather became an option - but at least Ambla substitute didn’t age as fast Leather became an option - but at least Ambla substitute didn’t age as fast
240 transformed by mods - but some still fit 3.4/3.8 engines 240 transformed by mods - but some still fit 3.4/3.8 engines
Daimler rebadged but largely escaped cost cutting of Mk2. Grossly underrated Daimler rebadged but largely escaped cost cutting of Mk2. Grossly underrated
Classy Daimler badge rising in value Classy Daimler badge rising in value
Daimler handles better than MK2 Jags Daimler handles better than MK2 Jags
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

What is a Jaguar 240, 340 or Daimler V8 250?

It’s the final life of the classic cat we know better as the Mk2. Launched as a stop gap to fill the void before the XJ6 came along, these down graded, cheapened Mk2s have a lot going for them - not least real value for money. Compared to a ‘proper’ Mk2, the 240 and 340 (not forgetting the vastly under rated Daimler V8 250 - a car that’s always been in the shadows of the Jag) are faster, better built and easier to maintain and restore than the earlier cars - and a heck of a lot cheaper to buy into the bargain!

History

Most enthusiasts consider the 240 and 340 Mk2s as the runt of the litter; the fag end of what was a great car. But in truth while they were cheapened cats, the degeneration started 12 months before the 240 and 340 surfaced in September 1967. The Mk2 had been launched in 1959, but by the mid 1960s this great sports saloon was coming under increasing attack from newer upstarts such as the Triumph 2000, Rover 2000TC and the plush Vauxhall Viscount (the latter voted British Car of 1966 by the Sunday Times) and with Jaguar now coming under control of BLMC after merging in July 1966, rationalisation quickly took place to cut costs.

For the Mk2 this meant replacing the standard leather with Ambla (an upper crust pvc!), making the flush-mounted fog lamps optional (replaced by ugly mesh grilles) and dumping the old traditional Windtone horns. With the open secret XJ6 delayed until 1968, Jaguar took the step of launching the 420 - an S-Type with a MK10-style front end plus the 4.2-litre engine - to sustain sales during 1966, although sales of the 3.8 Mk2 had dwindledto just 689 that year. In contrast almost 1600 2.4s were sold - although during 1967 all Mk2 sales had dramatically tailed off as well. To bolster the range until the XJ6 was launched in September 1968, Jaguar took the step of downmarketing the Mk2 further and saw the entry model 2.4 as the key to saving the range. Introduced in September 1967 the 240 (and the 340) were identified by their slimmer S-Type bumpers and 420- style hubcaps along with modernised badging.

Inside, the already budgeted interior was further cost cut by deleting those legendary picnic tables (never featuring on the Daimler, strangely) fitted to the front seat backs although the wood trim thankfully remained, even though many believe it was not such high quality.But the 240 in particular was amply compensated for such undignified belt tightening because it was given the sort of power it should have enjoyed years ago. Out went the old restrictive B-Type cylinder head and Solex carbs, replaced by a straight-ported E-Type-style top end with twin 1.75 SUs plus a new distributor, improved cooling system and twin exhausts (so it looked sportier too). All this raised power of the 2483cc engine by a healthy 11 per cent, from 120bhp to 133bhp, with torque slightly improved, now up to146lbft albeit produced at a heady 3700rpm, against the earlier tune’s lustier 3000rpm.

Although it was kept quiet, the 340 also received the improved straight port cylinder head while the Marles power steering - hitherto only an extra on the 3.8 - became optional on this model at long last. The Daimler V8 2.5 version was not unaffected by these moves. A curious car in many ways and perhaps the resultant child from a marriage of convenience, that truly wonderful 2.5-litre V8 engine was only slightly larger than the 2.4 ‘six’ but, with a quoted 140bhp, was already 20bhp to the good of the then underpowered 2.4. Yet coupled with standard automatic transmission, it was priced the same as the flagship 3.8 MK2 automatic… The Daimler was cheapened with slimmer bumpers and detailed trim changes such as a padded dash top and side trims, plus it was rebadged the V8 250 although it largely escaped the penny pinching that sullied the Mk2. But penny pinching or not, you couldn’t knock their value. The 240 was pitched at £1364 - just £20 more than the original 2.4 of 1956 while the 340 only cost £1422 - over £200 less than when the Mk2 was launched. The Daimler was priced at £1697 in automatic guise. The Mk2’s stay of execution didn’t last long. The 340 was dropped almost as soon as the XJ6 arrived while the 240 bowed out the following April. The V8 250 actually survived until July 1970, replaced by the XJ6-derived Sovereign.

Not as well built as its reputation still suggests, the last of the line Mk2s were much better screwed together than the earlier mounts. Autocar in particular praised the new 240 for its smoothness and said it was “better than most Jaguars tested over the years.” Praise indeed!

Driving

It’s the 240 which gains the most where the added pep gives it much more respectable performance over the original 2.4 and makes you have second thoughts over a more expensive 3.4 where that larger engine may still be swifter but isn’t as smooth. Contemporary road tests (Jaguar never officially released a 2.4 to the press because of its lacklustre performance!) had the 240 post a 0-60mph time of under 13 seconds and truck on to 106mph making the car much more competitive against the likes of the in-house British Leyland rivals such as the Rover 2000 TC and the Triumph 2.5PI, all of which cost similar money at the time - although the newly launched and very swanky Ford Cortina 1600E had the lot licked for pace and price. The 340 stood up well against modern opposition such as the Vauxhall Ventora (a Victor with the Cresta six pot engine), the newly launched Rover 3500 V8 and even the Mercedes 250 SE - a car costing almost double the Jag’s price.

If nothing else the revamped Mk2s offered outstanding value for money. The $64,000 question is how does a V8250 compare to the similar-powered 240 in particular? It’s all to do with the car’s characters; the Jag is the more sporting while the Daimler is more suited to genteel touring - even though the lighter engine endows the V8 250 with notably better handling. It’s not so heavy and lumbering while the finger-light standard power steering (a matter of taste admittedly) makes the Daimler very easy to pilot. Not so the Mk2 with its heavy tiller requiring close to five turns lock-to-lock, making it a bit of a handful cross country.

Again, according to contemporary road tests at the time the automatic Daimler was a shade faster than a manual 240, although on neither is economy a strong point at around 17-20mpg - which is another reason why so many buyers went for the larger engine option. Even though these later Mk2s were downgraded, they are still opulent enough for most of us with the Daimler in particular offering loads of leathered luxury as well as nicer seats than the Jaguar.

Prices

Traditionally these cut-price cats lag behind the more fashionable earlier Mk2 at similar levels the Daimler does; perhaps worth up to a third less, although prices for what was regarded as “the old mans’ Mk2” are steadily rising as an increasing number of enthusiasts appreciate what the V8 has to offer. Not so the 240 and 340, meaning cars can cost not much more than a grand for a basket case with decent stuff hovering around the £6-7000 mark. Unless it’s something special, even top cars should leave change out of £15,000. Considering how much earlier Mk2s sell for, the smart money should go on one of the ‘roaring 40s’.

What To Look For

  • Although the 240 performed much better than the old sluggish Mk2 2.4, many have been upgraded to 340 spec so check to see which engine is fitted. They look the same, but the smaller engine sits much lower in the engine bay.
  • There was a 380 produced, fitted with a 340 head featuring unique engine serial numbers incidentally, although officially only a dozen were ever made - identified by subtle badging on the boot lid which comprised of the 340 badge with a small 3.8 insignia.
  • The Daimler attracts a different type of buyer to the MK2. The cars seem to be kept in better condition and, according to the owners club, there are a lot of one or two-owner cars around.
  • Naturally rust is the biggest problem with any Mk2. The main areas for rot are the chassis box sections, front cross member (particularly at its ‘crow’s feet’ which are welded to the valance and cross-member), inner sills, floorpan, outer sills, door bottoms, wings and the car’s ‘nose’, which rots badly around the fog lamp region.
  • At the rear check the floor (including the boot), rear axle and leaf spring hangers. Scrutinise the doors for alignment and the panel gaps. A small magnet is invaluable for detecting crafty fibreglass repairs - which many MK2s are stuffed with!
  • These run-out Mk2s feature S-Type slim-line bumpers, which some prefer (why-ed). However you can substitute the original chunkier items fairly easily although the bracketing and valances are different. It’s rather like converting an MGB from rubber to chrome, but this time the conversion is not so involved or costly.
  • The XK engine is well known and usually durable. Wear points are rattle prone timing chains (a tough DIY job to replace), over-silent tappets that have closed up in service (requiring expert re-shimming and usually carried out alongside a decoke) and oil leaks from the cam covers - plus that notorious rear crank oil seal of course! Oil pressure should be around 45lbft @ 3000 rpm if okay. Expect to pay around £4000 for a well built reconditioned unit.
  • But really, the biggest fear with an old XK engine these days concerns overheating due to furred up waterways as a result of second rate or spent anti-freeze still sloshing around. Has the engine been replaced with older units? All 1968 Jags featured the new style finned cam covers.
  • That sugar-sweet of a Daimler V8 is also longlasting if serviced properly but, like the XK, look for lowly oil pressure (you need to see in the region of 40psi if good), general decay and hot running due to corroding alloy waterways (see above).
  • A simple ohv design, the V8 is less complex to work on than the XK engine. More good news is that the V8 can successfully run on unleaded it is claimed, although tougher exhaust values are still advised if the heads ever need to come off.
  • V8 ignition system comprises of a centrally mounted distributor featuring two sets of contact breaker points. They are readily available and setting the pair up isn’t difficult, but many owners take the sensible step of replacing the system with a modern ‘points-less’ electronic ignition system.
  • On all cars, the four-speed with optional overdrive (standard on the V8) is characteristically heavy and slow to use. Watch for weak synchromesh and noise. Clutch replacements are a major job on all variants and beyond the realms of many home mechanics.
  • The Borg Warner Type 35 three-speed auto box is a lazy affair but very smooth (unlike the old DG ‘box fitted to earlier cars) and long-lived. Inspect the fluid: it should be clean and not smell ‘burnt’. If it does then it suggests advanced wear.
  • Incidentally, although initial take up of the manual transmission option was minimal on the V8, now it is reckoned that there may be more of them around as classic enthusiasts swapped the auto for a stickshift to make best use of the silky performance.
  • Worn springs and dampers are common to all cars so check and bear in mind that the Daimler ones differ to the Mk2 due to the lighter alloy engine (ensure the correct replacements have beenused). See that the car sits straight and true; a nose up stance suggest Mk2 springs may have been used on the V8.
  • On all cars check the suspension for worn bushes, shot front wishbones, seized/clapped out disc brakes. Jag handbrakes are notoriously ineffective and frequently play up.
  • Like earlier MK2s, a combination of either steel rims with hub caps or wire wheels may be used. Check the latter for broken/lose spokes. A fully refurbished wire rim costs over £200 a go; classy Daimler-badged hubcaps (and the special wire wheel spinners) are much rarer finds than the Jag’s and remember that the 240/340 used plainer S-Type/420 tin lids and not the better known ‘eared’ earlier Jaguar types.
  • The plainer trim found on these later Mk2s has its compensations. The Ambla trim is a lot hardier than leather (still used on the Daimler) although that said, don’t underestimate the cost of a ground up interior restoration. A new dash can cost thousands for example while a full refit can run to £10,000. If the trim needs recovering then consider leather, as the upgrade isn’t that costly due to cheaper hides now available.
  • Don’t dismiss the V8 as merely a Daimlerengined Mk2. There are subtle differences in the trim and fitting, while the front seats are more akin to miniature Mk X bench-style perches. And if you’re after total originality then you’re in for a harder time. For example, the Daimler has its own dedicated took kit even featuring ‘Daimler’ embossed spanners…

Verdict

Jaguar specialist Hollygrove (01425 477000) has a solid 1967 340 for sale at £5700 and says that if it were an earlier Mk2 then perhaps it would be worth around £9000, even though it admits that these later cars are better, quicker… plus that Ambla interior rarely wears out! That sums up the largely ignored 240/340 ranges well; a greatly underrated variant of the iconic Mk2 that is even better value for money. If you are after the smaller engined car, then it’s the only model to go for.



User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Subscribe