How It’s Made: 1961 Jaguar Mark II Edition
From raw castings to Britain’s finest luxury car, watch the process from start to finish.
Take a trip down memory lane with us courtesy of this quaint video from 1961. It’s a charming tour of the Jaguar car factory, narrated by a seasoned Jaguar mechanic. It focuses on the Mark II sedan, but there is a cameo by the then-new E-Type towards the end.
It starts in the machine shop, showing, in great detail, how raw castings are transformed into silky-smooth, state-of-the-art, high-performance twin-cam engines. A recurring theme is the balance between automation and handmade craftsmanship.
Quality control is done the old-fashioned way, by getting a part in front of as many sets of eyes as possible to ensure a given operation has been completed satisfactorily. Sight and touch aren’t the only senses used to determine a part’s quality. For example, completed gearboxes are tested in a soundproof room to listen for signs of trouble.
The engine and gearbox assembly portion covers nearly half the video’s run time. It’s satisfying to watch the completed engine and gearbox assemblies be put through their paces during final testing before moving on to the rest of the factory.
Of particular note is the body painting process, which, while outdated by modern standards, represented the absolute peak of finish quality in the early Sixties. Bodies are mounted on a rack that allows for complete 360-degree movement, and all metal finishing is completed by hand. It is then washed, phosphate coated, and primed in preparation for paint.
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Then, the shell is sprayed with two coats of surface primer, while the underside is coated with a sound deadener that doubles as rust prevention. Finally, a sealer coat is applied before the body is baked, allowing the primer to cure. After this, the body is carefully cleaned by hand before three coats of synthetic enamel paint is applied. After another round of baking, the bodies are carefully inspected, and the process is repeated if any flaws are discovered.
The body then moves on to the assembly line to be mated with the completed drivetrain, suspension, brakes, electrical system, and trim. To prevent damage, the interior is installed last. Of course, each completed car is thoroughly tested and carefully tuned.
Overall, the video serves not only as an entertaining window into the past, but as a testament to Jaguar’s commitment to building the highest quality automobiles in numbers sufficiently large enough to satisfy demand.