SOLD for £9,503
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“Smooth, quiet engine and excellent performance. Very good roadholding and adequate ride.” ‘Motor’ Road Test, January 1968
Jaguar, who pretty much invented the sports saloon, certainly knew how to build what the customer wanted at a price they could afford and the MK2 saloon along with its virtually identical twins the 240 and 340 proved this in no uncertain terms. Ideal for holding up banks (or as we witnessed at Cadwell Park last weekend, an ice cream van - four up, 99s all round!) or chasing down the miscreants, it was the sixties sports saloon of choice; Grace, Space, Pace epitomised.
As the Mk2’s reign drew to a close, in September 1967 Jaguar introduced the 240 and 340 as ‘run out’ models to boost sales before the XJ6 arrived to (sort of) replace it in September 1968. To help shift the metal Jaguar dropped the price from say ‘Bank Manager’ to ‘Assistant Bank Manager’ level. As a result, leather trim moved onto the options list to be replaced by Ambla, which in its defence one needs to DNA test to differentiate from real hide. Slim bumpers shaved off a few more £ (not to mention lbs.) and front fog lights became grills. Perversely, relative to the MK2’s 2.4 litre engine, the 240 actually got a useful hike in power (133BHP up from 120) courtesy of a better breathing straight-port head (nicked off the E-Type), a more efficient inlet manifold, HS6 SUs as opposed to Solex’ and a twin pipe exhaust. The result was genuine 100 MPH+ performance, something the MK2 2.4 could only dream of. Rumoured to be some 220 lbs lighter than a MK2 with arguably better looks courtesy of bumpers that don’t resemble Armco barriers plus the bonus of better fuel economy and a sweeter engine, there is a strong case for saying the 240 was one of the best variants of the family. Chuck in its relative rarity (7,246 240/340s against 83,976 MK2s) and you have what we believe is the archetypal overlooked classic.
Finished in Jaguar Beige (really Marketing guys, is that the best you can do, where are Farrow and Ball when you need them?) this particular 240 rolled off the Browns Lane production line on 15th December 1967 and was dispatched to Australian distributors Bryson Industries in Melbourne on 17th January 1968. Trimmed in black Ambla it was of course in right hand drive configuration and fitted with a speedometer reading in good old colonial miles. For your convenience we have listed the differences between a UK destined 240 and one built for the Australian market:
Fast forward fifty years and the 240, still looking majestic, was parked at the side of the road with a For Sale sign in the window where it caught the eye of an English ex-pat accomplished motor engineer and his accompanying friend. On his return a week or so later he was disappointed to find it had been sold – to said ‘friend’. A few months of pestering and the Jaguar finally became his (that’s what friends are for after all) and it provided a couple of years of highly pleasurable motoring not to mention excellent publicity for ‘Classic Car Clinic’, the classic automobile servicing and restoration business he headed up. When the time came to return to the mother country in 2019, unable to part with it he had the Jaguar shipped back to the UK along with a few other far less essential possessions. Although the 240 had always been well looked after, the heat of Queensland had taken its toll on a number of rubber components and once it was back in England a program of minor refurbishments was undertaken. A new premium quality SU fuel pump was fitted and attention paid to the brakes and trim. Various bushes were replaced along with the lower front ball joints (fun fact, XJ40 ones fit straight on and last longer). The Jaguar was also treated to a twin pipe stainless steel exhaust system, various new hoses, oils and filters. With a fresh MOT in his possession (and £1,723.84 now in someone else’s) the Jaguar was taken to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust centre in Coventry where it was inspected by the Jaguar Drivers Club’s MK1 and MK2 Registrar who declared it one of the most original he had ever come across and the registration KCK 646F was duly assigned to it by the DVLA. When Australia went metric the 240s original speedometer was converted to read in new-fangled kilometres (though the odometer still recorded in miles) so to save stressful mental arithmetic the owner fitted a second hand MPH unit some 500 miles ago which, with the original unit that comes with the car, gives a total mileage of just over 47,000 which the owner believes to be correct but can’t warrant.
Having been domiciled in the car friendly climate of Eastern Australia and never seen road salt, the Jaguar’s bodywork is rust free and rock solid, sporting factory panel fit and gaps; something that is rare and hard to achieve on restored examples. There are a couple of shallow creases in the doors carefully sourced over the years in supermarket car parks but these are minor and can be seen (if you look carefully) in the photo gallery.
Under close examination the paint appears to be original for the most part with just an A-post forward partial respray perhaps having been carried out some years ago. While a little flat it is very honest and the owner has made no attempt to polish it up; it remains very presentable and for us scores very well on the originality front.
The chrome-work, of which there is a substantial amount even on the “entry level” Jaguar, is all very good, again thanks to a benevolently dry climate. There is no pitting evident never mind rust breaking through though the one door mirror has become a little dull over the years. The rear screen rubber is in sound condition but the front really needs replacing – there is a new one with the car. All the windows are free of any significant scratches or cracks and the rear screen amazingly still proudly displays its ‘1967 Queens Award To Industry’ sticker. The red marker on one sidelight nacelle has apparently dropped down inside the unit and hopefully can be retrieved; well you’ve got to have something to do on a Sunday afternoon.
The black Ambla trim is still excellent with no rips or splits and just a slightly saggy rear door trim representing a ‘quick win’ for a lucky new owner (please see the photo gallery). The wood is for the most part pretty good but not perfect in places such as the top of the dashboard and the rear door cappings. The A-post sections have been removed for refurbishment but are with the car. The black carpets look to be the 240’s originals and are in very fair condition though the driver’s foot well section has been replaced with a rubber mat. Seat belts are fitted front and rear, Britax items for the driver and passenger number one.
The engine bay, boot and underside are amazingly original and un-messed with, sporting what looks like a lifetime of good honest dust and grime; to make the point, please note the supplying agent ‘Bryson Industries’ sticker still on the air filter housing. The solid if slightly grubby boot contains the original jack and wheel brace correctly clipped in place. Underneath, the 240 displays pin-sharp seams, pressings and factory welds along with the new stainless steel exhaust pipes running from manifolds to tips. There is just a tiny bit of moisture on the differential casing and sump but nothing even approaching a drip. The wheels and hub caps look to be in good order and the tyres are virtually unworn.
Having assumed the Jaguar’s body and outstanding originality were its strong suits, we can report that the driving experience certainly doesn’t disappoint either. Ignition on, an index finger prod of the starter button (yup, nothing new under the sun Max Power fans) and the silky smooth straight six fires super-easily. On the open road it is a great, taut drive and though the steering is a little weighty in low speed manoeuvres, it lightens up nicely and the 240 displays real sporting credentials. Yes there is a bit of roll but the upside is you waft along in real comfort. Some of the seals are a bit crusty so noise levels are a little higher than they might be but some replacements are supplied with the car. The engine holds a constant 40 PSI oil pressure and the cooling system, recently back flushed and treated to new hoses keeps the water temperature around the 70 degree mark.
The document file contains the V5C, Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate and the copious paperwork required to register the Jaguar in its country of origin. Bills for the work carried out in the UK are also present along with some spare hoses and the aforementioned seals supplied by SNG Barratt. Perhaps not required as much as it had been in the Southern Hemisphere, a heat reflective steering wheel protector is also present along with a ‘short’ outdoor car cover.
Scoring well for both body and mechanical condition as well as originality, though with one or two areas that could benefit from some cosmetic improvement, it is hard to decide just what one might do with the Jaguar. Keep it exactly as it is and enjoy guilt free motoring or improve the paint and some trim to take it to the next level? On the other hand, the amazingly solid shell makes a strong case for it being the ideal stepping off point for anything from a concours restoration, Coombs replica to full-on race car. Tricky isn’t it? One thing we do know is that the price differential between a 240 and a MK2 when new has been multiplied many, many times over in today’s market and a potential classic bargain awaits a lucky new owner.