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The Jaguar S-Type was produced from 1963 to 1968 as a technically more sophisticated development of the Jaguar Mark 2, offering buyers a more luxurious alternative to the Mark 2 without the size and expense of the Mark X. It sold alongside the Mark 2, as well as the Jaguar 420 following its release in 1966. The 1960s S-Type should not be confused with the retro-styled Jaguar S-Type sold from 1999 to 2008.
The Jaguar Mark 2 was introduced in 1959 and sold throughout most of the 1960s. It had a live rear axle and was powered by the XK six-cylinder engine first used in the Jaguar XK120 of 1948. In the Mark 2 the engine was available in 2.4, 3.4 and 3.8-litre capacities.
In 1961 Jaguar launched two new models. The full size Jaguar Mark X saloon (pronounced "mark ten") used Jaguar's new independent rear suspension and a triple SU carburettor version of the 3.8-litre XK engine. The other new car for 1961 was the Jaguar E-Type sports car, which shared the same 3.8-litre engine as the Mark X but used a scaled down version of the independent rear suspension.
Having released the Mark X, with its many technical refinements, Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons expected the Mark 2 would need updating with similar features if it was to retain its place in the market. Accordingly, work began on developing the S-Type (codenamed "Utah Mk III", the Mark 2 having been "Utah Mk II") as soon as development work was finished on the Mark X.
The S-Type was a major redevelopment of the Mark 2. It used a mid-scale version of the Mark X independent rear suspension to replace the Mark 2's live rear axle and featured longer rear bodywork, among other styling and interior changes. The S-Type was available with either 3.4 or 3.8-litre XK engines but only in twin carburettor form because the triple carburettor setup would not fit into what was essentially still the Mark 2 engine bay.
By the time of the S-Type’s release in 1963, the Mark 2 remained an unexpectedly strong seller despite its age. Although the Mark X was selling less well than hoped, especially in its intended market of the USA, Sir William decided to retain all three models in the Jaguar range concurrently. The Mark X was renamed "420G" in 1966 and was joined by another new model, the 4.2-litre 420. The 420 was developed to replace the S-Type but because some demand remained for the S-Type, all four saloon models (Mark 2, S-Type, 420 and 420G) remained on sale until the arrival of the Jaguar XJ6 in 1968. The XJ6 replaced all but the 420G in the Jaguar range.
Bodywork. Length/width/height/wheelbase – cm (in) : 474/168/141/273 (186.7/66.2/55.4/107.5); weight : 1670 kg (3686 lb).
Mechanics. Engine straight six 3781 cc (231 ci), forward, 12 valves, 2 carbs SU, manual 4-speed gearbox, + overdrive, rear-wheel drive. Maximum power : 220 bhp at 5500 rpm; torque : 334 Nm at 3000 rpm. Top speed : 195 km/h (121 mph); 0 – 60 mph in 9.1 sec.