Keeping it alive!
With prices for mint Mk2 Jaguars still rising faster than inflation, a well-sorted 240 or a more powerful 340 makes a slightly more affordable alternative
Jaguar 240 – is this a more affordable way into hallowed Mk2 ownership?
S ometimes its often the runt of the litter that grows up to be top dog and in the case of the Jaguar 240, what started out as a cheapened 2.4 litre Mk2 was not only better built and easier to maintain when compared its more expensive sibling, it's currently cheaper to buy.
Introduced in September 1967, the Jaguar 240 tidied up the remains of the outgoing Mk2 line-up and helped stave off competition from other BM LC products, such as the Triumph 2500 PI, Vanden Plas Princess R and even the Rover P6.
One of the biggest criticisms, however, was how Jaguar had downgraded the new 240’s interior by using man-made Ambla seat facings instead of the Mk2’s traditional fine leather. A pair of cheap looking chrome grilles now replaced the trademark driving lights, which now appeared on the 240’s options list. Other changes included ditching the traditional rear picnic tables, while in came narrow chrome bumpers similar to those fitted to the S-Type and plain 420 style hubcaps.
However, the 240’s saving grace was a much needed power hike. This raised the output of its 2483cc six-cylinder XK engine from the outgoing 2.4 litre’s 120bhp to a far healthier 133bhp. Jaguar achieved this by replacing the old B-Type cylinder head with a straight-ported affair similar to the one fitted to the 4.2 E-Type.
Other upgrades included uprating the cooling system, while fitting twin 1¾-inch SU carburettors and a recalibrated distributor had boosted the 240’s torque to a respectable 144lb.ft at 3700rpm.
As well as the slimmer bumpers, the new 240 and its 210bhp 340 badged sibling both featured sporty twin exhausts tips exiting from one corner of the rear valance.
With a list price of £1364 for the Jaguar 240 and £1422 for the more powerful 340, these ‘bargain basement’ Jaguars successfully squeezed a few more years out of their wellproven Mk2 underpinnings. Although the 3442cc powered 340 was culled in 1968, the 240 soldiered on until the following year and managed to protect these shores from continental interlopers until production of the equally good value XJ6 finally came on full stream.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG BODYWORK
The 240’s bodyshell is a direct descendant of the MkI, Jaguar’s first unitary built saloon. This means there are plenty of rust traps to worry about and the main areas to check are the box sections and chassis rails, inner and outer sills, floorpans, front and rear wheel arches and all the door bottoms. Rust will also attack the front wings along the top near the front scuttle as well as at the base of the grille around the openings for the optional driving lights.
Another serious rust spot on the 240/ 340 range is the front cross-member, especially where it attaches to the front valance. Like the Mk2, the boot floor and rear valance can rot out badly and rust will also attack the chassis around the rear suspension mountings.
Although the 240 and 340 all featured thin bladed front and rear bumpers, many examples will have been fitted with the deeper Mk2 style bumpers. Although the bracketing and panel work on the 240 is slightly different to its predecessor, it’s not a major job to reinstate the correct profiled bumpers on converted examples.
Properly maintained, the twin overhead cam XK engine should easily be able to achieve 100,000 miles before requiring any serious attention. However, one major problem that affects all these engines as the miles mount up is overheating and this is usually put down to furred up waterways. To keep the cooling system in tip-top condition, it’s essential to use a
good quality anti-freeze all year round and make sure the system, including the heater matrix, is regularly flushed out every two or three years.
Timing chains can wear and rattle, not an easy DIY repair job on a XK engine, and oil leaking from the twin alloy cam covers is a common problem. More seriously, the rear crankshaft oil seal can leak and to replace this item is an engine out job. Oil pressure on both the 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines should be around 45psi at 3000rpm.
The valves on these engines are adjusted by adding different sized shims and this job is best left to an expert with the required selection of shims to complete the job. If purchasing a 240, check the engine number with the V5, as many 2.4 litre units will have been replaced with the more powerful engine. A useful clue if you compare a 240 against a 340 is that the smaller capacity unit sits slightly lower in the engine bay.
All cars fitted with manual transmission had a four-speed, all synchromesh gearbox with optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive. A three-speed Borg Warner Type 35 automatic gearbox was offered as a cost option and many automatics will have been converted to a manual during a major rebuild. While the manual gearbox in these cars is tough, its not the quickest and can be heavy in action. A badly worn manual gearbox will whine, crunch when swapping between second and third and jump out of gear, especially on the overrun.
Automatic gearboxes can slip when swapping ratios and lose drive if badly worn. Checking the colour of the ATF will reveal the condition of the gearbox. Dark brown and burnt smelling fluid will indicate the bands and clutches have overheated and worn. Removing the gearbox from one of these cars for a clutch change is a major job and when undertaking this task, many specialists remove the engine and 'box as a single unit.
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
The 240 and 340’s front suspension comprises of upper and lower wishbones, coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers. At the rear, the suspension set up is made up of trailing links with cantilever semi- elliptic springs, radius arms and telescopic dampers. The low- geared Burman recirculating ball steering box fitted to these cars was never offered with a power steering option, so low speed manoeuvring while parking can be hard work.
Shock absorbers and road springs can wear and if the car doesn’t sit straight or looks down at one end, then it’s time to renew these components. Regularly check the suspension for worn bushes; especially those in the front wishbones and rear radius arms.
Disc brakes were fitted all round on these cars and one of the most common problems will be seized calipers and worn disks. Although it’s a good idea to regularly inspect the brake lines
for corrosion, many cars will have been fitted with copper lines but make sure these are all well supported, as excess vibration can sometimes cause a flaying copper pipe to crack and fail.
Owners often complain about these Big Cats having inefficient handbrakes but it’s all down to how the mechanism has been set up. Like the Mk2, quite a few 240s and 340s will be sitting on wire wheels and these should be checked regularly for any broken or loose spokes. Steel rims should be finished off with a growler adorned chrome hubcap similar to those found on the Jaguar 420.
It may have been toned down for cost cutting purposes, but the 240s’ interior still looks classy and many examples will have been re-trimmed in hide. One advantage of the original Ambla trim is that it’s harder wearing than leather and even after 50 years of use, many original interiors featuring this material are still looking good.
The deletion of the rear picnic tables in 240 may have upset Jaguar purists but the lack of this feature should be no big deal today. Some experts claim the standard of the fit and finish on the interior woodwork isn’t up to the same standard as that in the Mk2 but again, that’s a matter of personal taste.
Like all Jaguars, reviving a tatty interior will be an expensive business and if considering a full restoration, allow at least £10,000 to refurbish the woodwork and reupholster all the trim. Finally, fifty-year- old wiring can be problematic, so if buying an unrestored example, make sure all the instruments and lights work properly, as a short could result in a very expensive fire.
Contemporary road tests praised the Jaguar 240's performance when compared to the lack lustre 2.4 litre Mk2 and today these cut- price Jaguars represent excellent value for money. Although prices are starting to narrow, a decent 240 can still be acquired for around two-thirds the price of a 3.8 Mk2.
A well- presented and very usable 240 in need of some TLC will cost somewhere in the region of £10,000-£12,000, while Condition One 340s can often sell for over £ 20,000, more if it’s a recently professionally restored example. The days of cheap and cheerful 240s and 340s seem to be fading fast and even basket cases requiring a full restoration can change hands for between £3000£5000. But if you really fancy owning an instantly recognisable ' Sixties Jaguar saloon, a 240 or 340 can be a very cost- effective entry ticket into what is fast becoming a very exclusive club. TECH SPEC JAGUAR: 240 ENGINE: 2480cc XK inline- six POWER: 133bhp at 5500rpm 0- 60: 12.5 sec TOP SPEED: 105mph ECONOMY: 17mpg (average) LENGTH: 459cm WEIGHT: 1448.8kg
Although wire wheels certainly look good, they can be difficult to clean and the spokes need checking regularly.
From 1968, all Jaguar XK engines featured fluted rocker covers in place of the previous plain alloy ones.
Renovating a shabby interior on one of these Jaguar saloons will be a very expensive business.
The 240's interior is classic ' Sixties Jaguar through and through and features plenty of veneer and leather.