A few clever tweaks can turn the Mk2 into something that can modern cars a run for their money
‘Improvements to the brakes, steering and suspension can be very desirable if done properly’
Three years ago, Jaguar designer Ian Callum unveiled his radically rethought Mk2 created by Jaguar specialist, Classic Motor Cars. Some thought the idea heresy but others thought this 21st century reincarnation was a masterstroke. After all, the Mk2 is one of those classics that responds well to upgrades, even if sometimes they’re not exactly subtle.
The Mk2 was a very capable car in its day – so much so that it’s still surprisingly usable more than 50 years on. But there are still plenty of upgrades that will make a Mk2 even more usable and desirable. What matters most is that the external appearance isn’t changed, so wheels must be in keeping and the bodywork shouldn’t be altered significantly – a louvered bonnet is probably as far as you should go.
You can really go to town with the mechanicals and interior, though. Engine and transmission swaps aren’t unusual, while improvements to the brakes, steering and suspension can be very desirable if done properly. Fitting modern seats with electric adjustment is also a good thing – as long as they’re in keeping with the Mk2’s cabin and retrimmed to match. Modern air conditioning systems and hi-fi upgrades are also desirable, but keeping things as stealthy as possible is always a good idea.
There was a raft of companies ready to upgrade Mk2s when they were new and that’s still the case today. Beacham creates masterpieces in New Zealand and Classic Motor Cars and Vicarage do the same in the UK. You’ll need deep pockets to shop with either company and it’s very easy to spend well into six figures if you get carried away, but you can spend relatively little and still have a far more capable car. You’ll get your money back on some of the smaller upgrades but spend plenty and at resale time you’ll have to take quite a hit financially.