Whether driven by Inspector Morse or the less-than-pristine example in Withnail and I, the Mark 2 is one of the most memorable Jaguars. It may not have the flash and stand-out gorgeous lines of the E-Type, but since it was introduced in 1959, the Mark 2 had a reputation as a fast, capable saloon. Now an 18-month collaboration between Jaguar Director of Design Ian Callum and Classic Motor Cars Limited (CMC) has produced an updated riff on the Mark 2 suitable for the 21st century.
The one-off update of the Mark 2 was built for Callum’s personal use and was unveiled by Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis at the official opening of CMC’s new headquarters in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. According to CMC, the Callum Mark 2 is meant to combine the main features of the original car with updated interior features and tweaks to style and performance suitable to everyday driving.
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From the outside, Callum’s take on the Mark 2 is pleasingly restrained with only its sitting 20 mm lower, the 17-in split rim spoke wheels, the less prominent bumper flowing into the body, and brake air intakes to show the decades of progress. However, since this is Callum’s personal car, he was free to indulge his personal tastes.
"I have always loved traditional louvers as seen on many older race cars," says Callum. "Four louvers appear on the side of the car to add to that sense of power and 'something different.' Of course they had to work, so they have been designed in a low-pressure area for a better internal airflow from the modified engine."
The updated Mark 2 gets a bit more punch than its 1960s predecessors with a 4.3-liter engine feeding into a five-speed manual gearbox. There’s a new independent rear suspension designed and reengineered by CMC, new outboard front disc brakes, a bespoke power-assisted rack, reengineered coil springs, blade control wishbones, roll bar and wishbone bushes, adjustable dampers, and solid subframe mountings.
The interior is marked by a wood texture dash, red leather trim, a mixture of vintage-style analog gauges and digital displays combined with refreshingly large toggles, and a classic steering wheel. Under the dash is Clarion’s NZ502E single DIN multimedia station for the onboard infotainment controlled by the 6.3-inch touchscreen that makes for a jarring counterpoint as if half a century of design had suddenly short-circuited.
"This is a very personal statement," explains Callum. "A long held notion that, although the Mark 2 has always been a beautiful car, it could be even more exciting in shape and performance. Whilst maintaining the purity of the car’s form, I wanted to add a number of modern twists to the design. Simplification and clarity was my objective."
CMC says that the Callum Jaguar Mark 2 will make its public debut on September 3 to 5 at Syon House, Brentford.
The video below introduces the updated Mark 2.