1959 Jaguar Mark II: The original Gangster

1959 Jaguar Mark II: The original Gangster

Does anyone else thing it’s ironic that one of the first results on Amazon for the Mark 2 is a model of it as a police car?

The Kray twins were the ones who chased the mafia out of London but the Mark II was the car who the police struggled to chase. The Jaguar Mark II is famous for being the perfect getaway car of its day and was used in many a bank job, its luxury and speed are the standard set by Jaguar at the time which the company strives to recreate to this day. So sit back and let me tell you the tale of the infamous Jaguar Mark II.



Jaguar Mark I

In 1951, Jaguar was a sports car brand and it was incredible at that, it was also producing large luxury cars such as the Mark V and it was incredible at that too. The newly acquired Daimler’s Brown Lane plant gave the company an interesting predicament. The plant didn’t have nearly enough room to produce their sports cars or large luxury cars but it was the perfect place to start their entry into the middle-weight executive saloon market. Thus the Mark I was born and I will discuss that at a later date but today I want to discuss the infamous Mark II which the company began working on in the late 1950’s and was introduced in 1959.

The company, under the leadership of William Lyons was looking for a faster and more capable version of the Mark I saloon and this new car would be the perfect vessel for it’s latest advanced XK engines.


The entire body of this car was re-engineered to look much better than the Mark I which it followed with the entire car looking different above it’s mid section. The front pillars were made smaller to allow for more glass, an 18% increase from it’s predecessor which made the interior feel more open. The now familiar D shape and wrap around rear window gave the car a unique look among cars of its time. The grill was made to look more aggressive and all the lights were re-positioned to look more aggressive and sporty. On the interior the heating system pumped air to the rear seats as well as the front, that was Rolls Royce style level of luxury at the time.


NOTE: This is an XK engine, but not the one in the specific car I am talking about here. I didn’t want to steal imagery to use, as I don’t yet own a jag, so this stock photo will have to do.

The car came with three engine options, all advanced XK engines ranging from 2.4 liter to the only one I would want the 3.8 Liter. The latter engine produced 220 bhp and was fitted with twin SU HD6 carburetors, the same setup which was fitted in the epic E-Type Jaguar.


This is where the car really stands out for a luxury car of its day, fitted with four wheel disc brakes as standard as well as a limited slip differential. The 3.8 liter motor could hit 125 mph on a sunny afternoon and would perform the 0-60 run in just 8.5 seconds.


This car was a massive success for Jaguar, selling 83, 967 in it’s 8 year run from 1959 to 1967. The 3.8 liter bank job special sold 30,000 units making it the best selling of the three engine choices.