Kriss Motors main site
Kriss Motors main site
A progress blog details all the disassembly and restoration work on the 1961 Jaguar Mark II (Mk2).
After a nationwide search, we found our Jaguar 2.4 virtually next door, a very lucky break since transporting a collectable car in an enclosed carrier can cost well over $2000.
The first step after finding a good candidate is to carefully inspect it. We were expressly looking for a body and frame in very good condition, without any significant rust, and a car that had been well taken care of throughout its life. The engine's mechanical condition was secondary, since it becomes surplus in an electric conversion. Another consideration was missing components. Although nearly every single part of the classic Mk2 saloons is available on the aftermarket from a number of suppliers, these replacements are relatively expensive.
Our nearby candidate turned out to be fantastic. Only a small amount of rust was obvious on the underside – the highly vulnerable jacking points – and just three small parts were missing:
In addition, the car was completely original, including the unusual green suede vinyl interior and the British Racing Green exterior.
So, in March 2014 the purchase was completed and the Jaguar was driven to the Kriss Motors garage.
Knowing the ownership history of a classic car increases its value, and provides a perspective on its condition. The Mark II model was introduced to the public on October 2, 1959, and first sold about two months later.
Based on the chassis number and information from Jaguar Heritage, our Jaguar was dispatched from the Jaguar factory on October 11, 1960, registered in Coventry as 7213 DU, and sold to Glenn R. Smith, a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant stationed in Shefford, Bedfordshire (UK).
The door tread plate indicates that the car was specially prepared and sold by the Murkett Brothers in Bedford, a large dealership that remains an on-going concern in Cambridgeshire U.K. today. Back in 1905, the Murketts sold bicycles and then followed a typical evolutionary path that led to motor vehicle sales and service.
Based on Jaguar Heritage information and written comments from a later owner, the Jaguar was handled as a Personal Expert Delivery via UK Exchange Service, shipped to the U.S., and spent the first twenty-five years or so in Arizona. This helps to explain why the chassis and body have so little rust.
Around 1986, the Jaguar was purchased by Richard Bohl, the proprietor of Custer Antiques in Toledo, Ohio. A prior owner remembers that Bohl obtained the car from Mrs. Glenn Smith, the widow of the original owner, in Arizona. Bohl displayed the Jaguar in his store for many months, and it was then sold to a local Toledo man in 1987. This buyer, for whatever reason, did not want the car, and it was advertised for sale again in late 1987.
Larry Erd, a Toledo car collector, traded his 1937 Kord for the Jaguar in 1987. Erd appreciated the original paint and vinyl interior, and noted the rust on the jacking points. He replaced the carpets, clutch, and tail light. Some of the chrome was pitted, so several pieces, including the Jaguar hood ornament, were replaced. Erd also switched to knockoff wire wheels, and made other repairs.
After extensive detailing, Erd entered the Jaguar in various competitions and did extremely well. Between 1990 and 1993, the Jaguar placed 1st in Class 9, North Central Region of the JCNA Concours D'Elegance. Erd also earned a third place finish in the national JCNA championship. In 1990, for example, the Jaguar earned 98.75 points making it one of the finest examples in the country.
On November 16, 1993, Larry Erd sold the Jaguar to a friend, Bruce Earlin, the owner of Motoriety in Milford, Pennsylvania. At that time, the car's odometer read 54,879 miles.
Within a year, on September 21, 1994, Earlin traded the Jaguar for another one, a 1953 Mark VII (chassis number 718542) from Brett Leonard of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. There were 54,919 miles on the odometer, so the car basically sat for a year in storage. Leonard brought the Jaguar to the August 1995 JNCA New England show (car #111) where it scored a 97.01. The defects on August 12, 1995 were:
Leonard subsequently sold the car on December 23, 1996 to John Poduska of Belmont, Massachusetts with the mileage at 56,830. When we purchased the Jaguar in March 2014, it had 59,535 miles on the odometer. So, in the past twenty years, the car has only been driven about 4,650 miles, or an average of 230 miles a year!
All in all, the Jaguar survived its first 53 years quite well; in fact, it was pampered for most of its history. As noted above, Larry Erd replaced several parts in the late 1980s.
Apart from routine maintenance – tires, oil, filters – the only other major repairs, as far as the records show, were undertaken by Brett Leonard in 1994-96:
The Jaguar has continued to age, and the minor defects noted at the 1995 JCNA show are now much more obvious (♦ indicates planned replacement).
In addition, the rusted jacking points need replacement (at least three of the four).
One objective of our electric conversion is to match or exceed performance of the gas-powered 3.8 model. Back in the early 1960s, there wasn't much rigorous performance testing. In fact, manufacturers specifications were rarely replicated, and they certainly don't necessarily reflect real world performance today.
Here is a summary of the original 1960 benchmark standard.
|2.4||17.3 seconds||96 mph||Jaguar 2.4 owners manual specification|
|3.4||11.9 seconds||119 mph||The Motor magazine, August 16, 1960 issue, road test result|
|3.8||8.5 seconds||125 mph||various sources, but few verified early measurements|
An important early task will be road testing our Jaguar to determine its current performance metrics as a gasoline-powered car.
In initial testing on a hilly country road (thanks to Mark Reynolds, Breeze Automotive), the Jaguar accelerated to 50 mph in about 16 seconds. This is somewhat below benchmark performance, and provides an initial comparison point. During this road test, the car pulled to the left side when braking, especially in neutral, so this issue - probably the right front brake caliper - will be addressed before more road tests can be performed.
The Jaguar was measured using a Proform vehicle scale (thanks to Ed Clausen) on May 3, 2014 with 1/4 tank of fuel; the hub cap hammer, tire jack, and some front drive side insulation was removed. All weights are without passengers.
The gasoline-powered 2.4 Jaguar is clearly front-heavy (57/43) which tends to make the car understeer in steady-state cornering. Basically, this means that the Jaguar tends to not turn enough with a given rotation of the steering wheel and contributes to a “boat-like” road feel.
|Total left side||1,520||48.6%|
|Total right side||1,608||51.4%|
|Total curb weight as measured||3,129||100%|
|Estimated weight, full tank, no removed items||3,210||-|
A 50/50 weight balance would improve the understeer, but with the relatively high curb weight, the Jaguar would still understeer on initial corner entry. For this reason, a more rearward weight distribution, like 47/53, would probably be optimal.