Jaguar MK2 is a Rare Gem with an All-American Heart Beat

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Jaguar Mk2 restoration

Vintage Jaguar was rescued and given a new lease of life with a Buick engine and GM transmission.

We caught sight of this seemingly sacrilegious MK2 on Bring a Trailer and figured it was worth investigating. When someone takes one the most elegant cars the world has seen and drops something under the hood contrary to what most would do, there’s usually a reason. Although it may infuriate some purists, we have no problem with the reasoning here.

According to the listing, the owner intercepted the car while it was just a shell on the back of a truck being transported to the junkyard.

The owner wasn’t blessed with a bottomless wallet, so he went on a mission to save the car over the next five years using parts obtained at XKS Unlimited and swap meets. The end result is a car that has won prizes at car shows and should make for a quick and a reliable daily driver.

Under the hood is a 3.8-liter Buick V6 from the early 1980s rebuilt with 10.2:1 compression pistons, a Kenne Bell camshaft, modified exhaust manifolds, and mildly ported cylinder heads. Other enhancements for developing power include an Edelbrock intake manifold with a 500 CFM carburetor,  Kenne Bell aluminum pulleys, an ACCEL ignition coil and module, and a Holley 7 lb/hr fuel pump.

Other parts pulled from American cars are used where appropriate, such as a recently-installed 4-speed GM 200R4 automatic transmission, and performance enhancements include the brakes and suspension.

To save money, the restorer used vinyl to restore the interior rather than leather. Our favorite change is the paint. The color is actually Toyota’s code 3H8 burgundy and it looks like something that wouldn’t have actually been out of place as a factory option. We also love the Coombs Spats style fender skirts and the imported European lights.

Jaguar Mk2 restoration

Overall, we think this build is very well-played and absolutely adore it as an example of what can be done on a budget to save an old Jag from the scrapheap, and build something to both enjoy and turn heads at the same time.

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Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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