Classic Cars

Auction, 0216

JAGUAR 340 (1968)

20.000 / 30.000
Price realized:  Registration

JAGUAR 340 (1968)









In the early ’50s, Jaguar – under the skilful direction of Sir William Lyons - transformed itself from a small specialist company into a regular motorcar industry.

Key to this development was the remarkable XK engine designed during the war and launched in 1948, and the line of compact saloons. This line was inaugurated by the “2.4 litre” version in 1955 which was then retroactively called the ‘Mk I’ following the release of the ‘MK II’ in 1959.

The Mk II, produced with 2400, 3400 and 3800 cc. engines, was a great success, to the extent that a total of 82,208 examples were produced.

The vehicle proposed here is part of the final series of the Mk II, and was more simply called the ‘340’. Only produced from 1967 to 1969, the 340 stopped at 2,655 units and is therefore one of the rarest versions of the compact saloon from Coventry.

The Mk II undoubtedly represents one of the best-loved masterpieces of Sir William Lyons. With this car, Lyons had reinvented the Sport Saloon. There had certainly been many vehicles worthy of this definition, but the Mk II managed to combine the small dimensions (it was 4.59 meters long) with good interior comfort and a performance that was exceptional for the period thanks to the powerful six cylinder twin-cam engine. As a result of these qualities, the Mk II distinguished itself in many competitions on the road - the Monte Carlo Rally and Tour de France amongst others - and on the track.

The final series, of which this vehicle is part, was only offered with displacements of 2400 and 3400, and thus called the 240 and 340.

In the best tradition of all car manufacturers, towards the end of production, an attempt is made to boost sales by offering an end of series version at a more economic price. In the case of the Mk II this was achieved by simplifying some of the finishes like the bumpers and interior woodwork and, above all, by equipping the vehicles with an imitation leather interior. However, in practice, these characteristics were limited to the British market of fleet sales: in export markets like Italy, where the numbers were lower and the distribution was managed privately, the vehicles were ordered with all the options, basically bringing them back to the previous level of finishing. This vehicle, in addition to the leather interior, even has the Overdrive and air conditioning!

Jaguars were very rare in Italy in the 1960s: just think that in 1965, 1966 and 1967 around 260 Jaguars were sold per year, in 1968 just 190, and 561 in 1969. So the vehicle proposed here belongs to the year in which the number of Jaguars sold in Italy was at a historic low, after 1960.

This fact already makes it very special and rare, but the story of this vehicle makes it a truly unique object: it was purchased by a young man from Milan who used and maintained the car for over forty years and then sold it to a friend who had long admired it. After moving to a splendid estate in the Chianti district, the Jaguar was only used on special occasions.

It therefore represents a unique opportunity to obtain a totally original car which has only had two owners and has always been impeccably maintained.

I myself drove it to Florence and the vehicle was in great shape: the engine turns over very well, the gearbox is perfect (it is the 4 gear Jaguar box with synchro and Overdrive) and the brakes respond well. It is a vehicle that, after an attentive service, will be ready to face any test.

The vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition but since it has not been used for the last three years, for safety reasons, we advise the purchaser to have it checked over and to replace the fluids, filters and perishable elements.