Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Jaguar Mk2 3.8

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

'Shut it you slaaaaaaag! I've got a fackin' shooter!'
I don't have any evidence to support this, but I'm reasonably sure that the recent Hatton Garden robbery involved a bunch of miscreants tearing through London in a Mk2 Jag, effing and blinding like Danny Dyer and waving sawn-offs at bobbies with brass buttons. It's that sort of car.

I didn't crack open any safety deposit boxes or do over a bookies before driving the 3.8-litre Mk2 you see before you, but I had drunk quite a lot of tea and I was feeling pretty mischievous. With Performance Ford editor Chris Pollitt by my side (Fords, Jaguars, there's a link there, right?), we tore through the Cotswolds like a pair of cheeky train robbers, turning the air blue with our acerbic witticisms before shifting that blue to grey with puffs of eager exhaust fumes and squeaky tyre smoke. Yes, unsurprisingly the robust old Jaguar is quite a chuckable thing; admittedly the vast steering wheel would be more at home on a cross-channel ferry, the roly-poly handling and paucity of lateral restraint mean that you and your passenger spend quite a lot of time making thigh contact in the corners, and the less said about the largely absent brakes the better - but my word, what a feelgood slice of British motoring this is. It coccoons you in opulence, with the interior seemingly hewn from the biggest slabs of wood that were available at the time; the flick-switches are pure WWII bomber, and the sound of that engine is addictive as the revs rise, transmuting swiftly from a waspy rasp to a deep-chested burble, then into an unseemly Brian Blessed bellow. Hilarious, addictive fun.

Oh, and it looks superb too, doesn't it? What was presumably intended to be a sedate and sober symbol that one was doing well with one's life, this iconic silhouette has always really been about diamond heists and caddish confidence tricksters. And that's exactly what you feel like behind the wheel. It's marvellous.

With thanks to Great Escape Cars - give 'em a buzz if you want to feel like a bank robber too.

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