SOLD for £17,850
“On brief acquaintance the car appears to maintain the character of the Mark 2, but ‘put right’ in road-holding and ride, with a bonus in a new, larger boot.” ‘The Motor’ Road Test, October 2nd 1963
Jaguar, who pretty much invented the sports saloon, certainly knew how to build what the customer wanted at a price they could afford and its 1960s range proved this in no uncertain terms. Opening the batting in 1959 was the MK2 which was joined in 1961 by the MK10, an altogether larger and more sophisticated vehicle. Because Jaguar had expected the independently sprung rear end of the MK10 to negatively impact sales of the more agricultural MK2, they developed the ‘best of both worlds’ S-Type which inherited the MK2’s compact dimensions with vastly improved rear suspension to effectively take the smaller car’s place in the Sports Saloon market. The trouble was (and trouble is very much a relative term here) the MK2 continued to sell by the bucket load, doubtless in no small part due to its success’ in saloon car racing (which it should be noted tended to be carried out on billiard table-smooth circuits), so it remained in production. Indeed when the S-Type’s replacement, the 420, was launched in 1966, sales of the earlier car remained buoyant so it too enjoyed a stay of execution and come 1967 Jaguar found themselves with four models for a saloon car sector that could really only be divided into ‘large’ and ‘medium’. This plethora of options was finally rationalised into the XJ6, launched in 1968.
Being a development of the MK2, the S-Type was a significant technical step forward, the most obvious illustration of which was the aforementioned rear suspension; while the MK2 made do with a live axle whose roots could be traced back to the XK120 of the late 1940s, the S-Type shared its ‘twin-wishbone’ independent rear end with Jaguar’s new sports car, the E-Type which caused something of a kerfuffle at its launch and went on to sell reasonably well! More expensive than its stablemate, the ‘S’ was generally more luxuriously appointed, its interior closer to that of the MK10 with more leather and wood plus more space for both its occupants and their luggage. The front seats’ capaciousness was increased and they were treated to a sophisticated adjustment system while both heating and ventilation were improved over the MK2. Given the earlier car’s more sporting pretensions, surprisingly the ‘S’ had quicker power steering blessed with more feel and the whole package was very well received with ‘The Times’ eulogising, “Superb – there’s not a car in its class to touch it.”
All of this brings us onto the example offered here which was apparently supplied new to the British Consulate in Singapore to a specification befitting its diplomatic role; no front ashtrays (as the chauffeur would definitely not be smoking on duty never mind in an HM Government vehicle) and a substantial air conditioning unit sourced from a contemporary Jaguar 420.
According to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Production Record Trace Certificate on file the S-Type was built on 17th August 1966 to right hand drive, 3.8 litre, manual with overdrive specification and dispatched a couple of months later to Associated Automobiles in Singapore. Being a late production example it thankfully employed the Jaguar all-synchromesh gearbox rather than the somewhat ponderous Moss unit inflicted on earlier S-Types. Having served its time doubtless wafting political high-ups to Raffles for one of Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon’s refreshing Singapore Slings before hosting global trade deal negotiations on its sumptuous leather back seats, the Jaguar moved on to Japan where it was extensively restored in 1996.
The then owners of the ‘S’ were apparently friends of Mr Gerry Wadman of renowned specialist dealers Sussex Sports Cars and he bought it back to the UK in 2005. Fettled and UK registered on 31st October 2005 the Jaguar was snapped up by the trade and marketed by Modern Day Classics in Essex from where the vendor acquired it in April 2006. At this time a speedometer calibrated in miles per hour was fitted though the original kilometre version was supplied with the car for the ‘continental touring’ the owner planned to indulge in.
Though in delightful condition, the owner entrusted the S-Type to Steve Powers of Powers Automobiles in Tenterden, Kent. Over the next year or so they bought the car up to his fastidious standards and prepared it for long distance use in foreign climes where reliability would be paramount.
With the work completed in 2007 the Jaguar was christened with a quick run down the road - to Spain, with the aptly named Jaguar Enthusiasts Club. Far from a one-off trip just to say he’d done it, the owner then spent the next decade touring Europe (he did bring the Jaguar back to the UK between trips) taking in its extremities. Countries that have passed under the S-Type’s wheels include France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Italy, Sicily, Ireland, Isle of Man and (slightly less ambitiously) Wales. Throughout this time Powers and, post the owner’s move up to Lincolnshire, Wellingore Garage have serviced and finessed the Jaguar to ensure it remained both reliable and comfortable over the sorts of mileages most classics and their owners wouldn’t dream of undertaking. A testament to the care and attention that has been lavished on the ‘S’ is its most recent long distance trip – some 7,000 miles to Sicily and back in 2016. Obviously this sort of use is bound to throw up the odd glitch but remarkably these have apparently been limited to a dead battery in Sicily and needing to have the air conditioning recharged (!) in the Isle of Man; a highly impressive record for which the owner, Powers Automobiles and Wellingore Garage deserve a round of applause.
While diligent maintenance ensured problems were fixed before they occurred, the owner also invested time and money making the car more ‘useable’ and the hours spent at the wheel more comfortable. During his ownership upgrades such as Vicarage sourced power steering, Coopercraft front brakes (the original setup and Alpine passes not being a particularly good mix) and ‘123’ electronic ignition have all been fitted to improve the driving experience while a more compact and efficient air conditioning system, Alpine CD stacker, inertia reel seatbelts, new carpets, underlay and sound deadening materials have taken driver and passenger comfort up to new levels. Mechanically, new fuel tanks and pumps have been fitted along with a stainless steel exhaust system, spin-on oil filter, SU air filters, Kenlowe cooling fan and an uprated starter motor. Quite apart from all that, over the past fifteen years the S-Type’s suspension, brakes and running gear have been professionally rebuilt and the engine, gearbox and overdrive have all been rebuilt or overhauled.
Treated to a comprehensive repaint by Wellingore Garage in 2014 (please see the photo gallery), last winter the opportunity was taken to have them tidy up the bodywork and some £6,000 was spent expertly attending to the sills, wheel arches and doors plus repainting the lower area of the bodywork, upgrading the heater and remounting the steering rack.
As shown in the photo gallery, today both body and paintwork are in very good condition with arrow-straight panels displaying excellent fit and gaps. The deep, lustrous paint in highly appropriate Opalescent or ‘Ecosse’ Blue has been expertly applied with no runs, micro-blistering or ‘orange peel’ evident though the finish is flaking very slightly on the underside of the bonnet and boot lid as shown in the photo gallery – this of course is not evident when these panels are closed. There are a couple of cracks in the paintwork between the bonnet opening and grill which are quite common on S-Types and MK2 Jaguars as there is a welded joint in the underlying panels here; again these are shown in the photo gallery.
The chrome-work of the S-Type is in similarly fine fettle (which is just as well as there is plenty of it) though that is not to say a good polish might not be beneficial. The finish on the handsome wire wheels (chrome on those fitted, painted for the spare) is just starting to flake slightly in one or two spots. These are shod with period perfect premium Dunlop SP Sport tyres with copious amounts of tread remaining – an indicator of the high standards set by the owner for maintenance.
The side windows and screens are in excellent order with no obvious chips or scratches though the rear screen rubber is starting to perish slightly. The light units are all free from cracks and the P700-style headlights are a lovely period touch.
Moving inside (and frankly who wouldn’t want to, given the opulence of the Jaguars interior) there is a delightful balance between relatively new headlining and carpets and the most lovely matured leather seating and door panels. The wood and leather gentleman’s club analogy is something of a cliché but it really does ring true with luxurious armchairs front and back, drinks trays at every turn and the depth of the pile of the carpets matched only by that of the lacquer on the woodwork. With the benefit of Vicarage’s power assisted steering the lovely, smaller diameter riveted Moto-Lita wood-rim steering wheel represents a useful improvement over the somewhat unwieldy original. Picking fault there are a couple of marks on the boot carpet but a go with some carpet shampoo might well deal with those. Beneath the boot floor it is nice to see the Factory jack, Thor spinner hammer and complete tool kit are present, right down to the rare Dunlop ‘Brake Bleeder Tube’ and camshaft locking tool.
The underside is in super-solid condition with razor-sharp seams, perfect jacking points and not a spot of rust to be seen anywhere. The engine bay is in a similarly confidence inspiring state; everything is neat and tidy with a few bespoke items such as stainless steel heat shields and catch tank evidence of the attention to detail the Jaguar has enjoyed over the years.
Running beautifully with excellent oil pressure the S-Type is, as one might expect, mechanically spot on. Let’s face it, if the owner would happily drive it to the extremities of Europe one can be confident that all is well as far as the oily bits go.
Please note, the professionally fitted tow bar was intended to allow the owners’ wife’s Austin 7 to be towed to car shows behind the S-Type but it has never been used.
Backing up the lovely condition of the Jaguar is a copious amount of paperwork held in its document file. This contains the V5C and Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Production Record Trace Certificate along with the importation paperwork. Numerous bills for the work carried out in the UK are also present and these total something in the region of £20,000 including parts supplied by the likes of SNG Barratt and Coopercraft. A number of original Factory ‘books’ are also in the file including the charming Owners’ “Operation, Maintenance and Service Handbook” and a useful Factory Service Manual. Photographs both of the Jaguar’s extensive touring exploits and its 2014 repaint are also present along with an array of Club magazines (many featuring ‘VBY 291E’), an original sales brochure and a copy of The Motor magazine from the S-Type’s launch. Advertisements and a sales invoice from Modern Day Classics relating to the owner’s purchase of the car are also included along with an agreed insurance valuation for £20,000 dating from 2014 since when, it should be noted, the value of S-Types has seen a significant upturn. Some 12 MOT certificates are also present dating back to 2005.
It is nice to see that accompanying the Jaguar are the various original parts that have been replaced with upgraded items. These include the steering wheel, distributor, air filter, oil filter, speedometer and lap belts.
Having proved a capable and tireless continental cruiser capable of covering significant distances, over the last few years usage of the Jaguar has tailed off with local runs to car shows and the like becoming the norm and this has prompted the owner’s decision to now pass the car on to someone who will perhaps stretch its legs once again. Ready for further use the S-Type needs nothing and benefits from a few sensible modifications for more practical motoring. Quicker than a MK2 on the road with its improved suspension and steering plus a more luxurious interior to boot, the S-Type was justifiably more expensive when new; today, with relative prices reversed, a potential classic bargain awaits a lucky new owner.