By on January 28, 2019

Long before the Ford-based retro throwback began showing up on dealer lots, Jaguar produced a contemporary and modern sedan called the S-type. Let’s check out a brown example, this one hailing from 1966.

The roots of the original S-Type lie within its predecessor, the Mark 2 (Mk. II). As with many British automakers, under the skin of a new model lay a reworked version of an older vehicle.

Much like the 2000s S-Type, the original was intended as a more affordable luxury alternative to Jaguar’s flagship sedan offering. At the time, the S-Type was the alternative to the large Mark X. Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons realized, after looking at the company’s new and technologically advanced Mark X and E-Type models, that the Mark 2 was in need of a revision. Engineers set to work.

The well-known styling of the Mark 2 saw some rework, resulting in a more modern look. Jaguar elongated the rear of the sweeping sedan for a smoother appearance, with the interior trim seeing its own update. Critically, the live rear axle suspension was replaced with an independent setup. The longer flanks and additional luxury equipment meant a weight gain of 335 pounds over the Mark 2, but Jaguar’s engineers (or accountants) did not feel that any changes to the braking system were necessary. The panned steering of the Mark 2 was replaced with a tighter power steering system promising more driving feel.

S-Types engines were hand-me-downs from other Jaguar vehicles. The S-Type was first introduced with the 3.8-liter engine from the Mark 2, with a lower-end 3.4-liter engine available a bit later. Jaguar was careful with its engine presentation. No 3.4-liter models were sold in the United States, and said engine was omitted from press demonstration cars in the United Kingdom. The 3.8 was the more popular engine choice by a 3 to 2 ratio in the S-Type, even though the 3.4-liter was more popular in the Mark 2. Even though both engines could be had with triple carburetors by that time, the S-Type’s engines only had two. The triple setup would not fit into the dated Mark 2 engine bay of the S-Type. Transmission options included a four-speed manual, four-speed with overdrive, or a three-speed automatic.

Mark 2 revisions complete, the S-Type hit dealer lots in 1963. The brand’s product lineup at the time included the E-Type coupe, as well as the Mark X, Mark 2, and 420 sedans, in addition to the new S-Type. While the Mark X did not grab buyers as well as hoped, the Mark 2 ended up selling better than expected, even at its advanced age. Lyons decided to maximize sales possibilities and sell all four at the same time. Things stayed this way through 1967, with the Mark X renamed as 420G.

The new XJ6 came along in 1968, replacing all of Jaguar’s sedan offerings (with the exception of the 420G).

Today’s Rare Ride is located in central Illinois, and, with 78,000 miles on the clock and excellent patterned fabric seats, asks $6,000.

[Images: seller]

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30 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Sports-Luxury 1966 Jaguar S-Type 3.8...”

  • avatar

    I would put up with any foible or refurb for an NOS version of this car.

    Glorious BBW of the auto species.

  • avatar

    Hate to repeat a cliché, but they don’t make ’em like this any more…What a beauty.

  • avatar

    The interior and exterior of this car is nearly perfect.

  • avatar

    I wish Jags still looked like Jags. But I guess the market has spoken. For $6K I’d love to have this for a garage queen…if I had a bigger garage.

    • 0 avatar

      The point, of course, is that the market _has_ spoken. How many of your friends and neighbors seriously considered a Jaguar for their last purchase? Heck, I test drove one, but had decided not to buy it before the salesman closed the drivers-side door with me inside.

  • avatar

    Amazingly enough (especially considering that it’s in Illinois), it doesn’t look rusty. Jags from this are horrible rusters – on some cars, like the E-Type, they didn’t even bother to prime the inner surfaces of the exterior sheet metal – it’s just bare metal.

    Having helped a friend restore an E-Type coupe (a so-called “Series 1-1/2” with the 4.2), I can see this car being one horror story after another. The early E-types are a blast to drive, so they’re worth the pain and suffering to restore.

  • avatar

    Given a choice between this and a Mark II, I’d take the Mark II.

  • avatar

    Such a classic and oh so British automobile, right down to dependability and quirky electronics, such fun

  • avatar

    I have one of these, same year too. The seats are not original, the center panel should be pleated leather in the same colour as the rest of the seat. Mine was originaly automatic, but I converted it to a T5 5 speed manual. Makes for nice highway cruising and I can get almost 30 mpg out of it on highway drives.

    This car in the article looks like it could use some TLC, like why is the turn signal stalk sitting on the parcel shelf? Looks like it might have had aftermarket AC at one point? There is a hose sitting across the exhaust manifolds

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Hah, and there’s me eulogizing the XK120 on QOTD while this was posted. Jaguar didn’t have accountants, it had the owner William Lyons riding herd on every penny and the styling too, especially the styling. He was rumoured to be able to split a giant old English penny in two with some ease.

    From Wikipedia: “During his time as managing director of Jaguar, Lyons could be best described as ‘autocratic’ and kept a tight rein on the company. It is said that board meetings were rare until the 1960s.”

  • avatar
    Dan R

    It doesn’t matter about the foibles.
    Oh beauty, oh wonder!

  • avatar

    I used to wonder why the S-type was so much less loved than the droopy, solid axle Mark II. I thought maybe it was just because the Mark II was more competitive in its day than the S-type was in its, but maybe it is because 335 lbs. goes a long way to making a quick sedan into a sedate one.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mark 2 was used in several UK TV shows too, it was the stereotypical “cops and robbers” car in the UK as it was so much faster than ordinary family cars of the day.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Jagboi is of course correct. And as @dukeisduke noted, I too would prefer a Mark II.

        The Mark II was the quintessential ‘villains’ car. Could out run the police.

        Hence the marvelous ‘villains always drive a Jaguar’ commercial made a few years ago. I have posted a link but strongly suggest that it is worth viewing, as a remarkable piece of film/ car porn.

        Although the most famous of all Mark II’s is the one driven by Inspector Morse. Most recently sold for, I believe over 100,000 quid.

        Lyons designed or derived cars, made a statement. Something lacking in current Jaguar sedans, which unfortunately tend to look more like ‘just another car’.

  • avatar

    I never cared for the S-Type. It looks like the more angular rear of a Mk X grafted on to the curvaceous front of a Mk 2. That’s not a harmonious combination.

    There’s a reason the Mk 2 just looked right, with its curved trunk coming from the same design aesthetic as the rest of the car.

  • avatar

    Best looking Jag sedan ever.

  • avatar

    Glorious, at least to look at. And those A-pillars! No hiding a pedestrian behind that.

    Corey, do you get to drive your Rare Rides (or at least go for a ride), or are you just finding decently photographed classifieds ads and adding some research? If the former, please please do a back-to-back of this with a modern Jag, like the XF wagon recently reviewed. Context is everything.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    It’s nice to see what quality leather and wood actually looks like. It’s been a while.

  • avatar

    Nice although I too prefer the MKII .


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