Ian Callum takes the MK2 to New heights
Jaguar design director Ian Callum recently became the proud owner of a classic Jaguar MK2. Many would argue that it’s a car that can’t be improved upon – but he had other ideas.
Ian Callum with Classic MK2
A 21st Century Mark II
The car owned by Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, is phenomenal. Based on the very best parts of 1962 Mark II 3.8-litre, the car is an exquisitely perfected 21st century version of the original.
Classic Jaguar MK2
So What’s Changed?
Although far from extreme, the updated Jaguar’s modifications are noticeable enough to add a dazzling twist to the original. Lowered by 30mm, with unique split-rim 17 inch wire wheels (8 inches wide at the rear, seven inches at the front), minus its bumpers, and with massive vertical louvres down each front wing, the renovation makes it more a hybrid of the Mark II than a modified version of the original.
Similarly louvred cabin vents adorn the back of the vehicle, where the fuel filler would once have sat. De-chromed and de-cluttered, its tell-tale ruby headlamps are also gone, replaced with daytime running lights.
Front View of the Classic MK2
The engine of the Mark II is recognisably Jaguar XK, but it displaces 4.3 litres and features a bottom end closer to that of an E-type, thumping out an incredible 280lb ft of torque. It rests in an engine bay that’s been completely cleared, its Tremec five-speed manual gearbox hidden out of sight.
With additional central locking, power steering, AP racing brakes, a reversing camera and a heated front screen, there is little that hasn’t been done to this exceptional motor.
Inside, the charcoal grey veneer favoured by the Germans has replaced the original walnut. A set of silvery-backed instruments nestles in the grey, with polished alloy toggle switches underneath. Modern seat frames wrap without smothering, and two separate and reasonably accommodating seats replace the rear bench.
Ian Callum with Jaguar
The drive it offers it far smoother than the standard cars, so that it doesn’t feel like an XK unit at all, not until you reach over 3,000rpm. The body no longer sways alarmingly, but stays horizontal in corners, and the tendency for the motor to exuberantly swing its tail is gone, creating a much quieter and easier drive.
Classic Motor Cars
You might be wondering who is responsible for this new and exciting take on the original, vintage brilliance of the Jaguar MK2. The answer is Classic Motor Cars.
Classic Motor Cars was originally founded as Vicarage by owner Nick Goldthorp. A Jaguar restoration specialist, Nick and his employees spent their days building and updating Mark II models. As a true master of his art, Goldthorp soon became highly sought after by classics enthusiasts looking to drive vintage motors without the hassle that normally accompanied running them.
He and his team updated transmissions, replacing the old and slow Moss’ box, substituted leaves for coil springs and transplanted steering racks into the cavities where old soggy steering boxes had originally sat.
Goldthorp was eventually bought out and Vicarage went into liquidation, but Nick simply moved across to his current venture, Classic Motor Cars, taking most of his workforce and their expertise with him. Now based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, the company boasts a huge workspace filled to the brim with a mixture of cars and cats.
Ian Callum, Designer Extraordinaire
Ian Callum, the man responsible for financing this radical transformation, is more than a little exceptional himself. The design director of Jaguar is the mind behind some of the most beautiful cars of recent years, including the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish, and the Jaguar F-Type.
So what inspired him to change the masterpiece that is the original Mark II? Callum stated: “I’ve always liked the Mark II. I used to see them racing in Edinburgh when I was a boy and thought they looked much better stripped back without the chromium – see, I was even thinking like a car designer back then. So when I got a chance, I wanted a simpler, tidier car without all that extraneous detailing and the girders.”
One thing’s for sure, you’re unlikely to see a more beautiful classic anytime soon.
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