Jaguar old meets Jaguar new

23rd January 2017
Ben Miles

At Thoroughbred Sunday Breakfast Club last year, GRR was lucky enough to spend time in two cars that either are, or will one day become, true British classics. But, given the turmoil that the marque has been through, we wondered just how much of Jaguar's old spirit has remained with the company through the years.


Now owned by Tata, Jaguar has seen an incredible renaissance over the last decade, blowing away the dark cobwebs of the forgettable X-type and the ownership by Ford with exceptional saloons XE and XF, entering the vital SUV market with the stunning F-Pace and the design classic that showed Jag was back – the F-Type.

The F-Type has truly been an unqualified success, the range now spans into four different models (V6, S, R, SVR) and includes convertible, coupe, all-wheel-drive and even a purist's manual version, and can be found in all the most glamourous places in the world.

One of the secrets of the success of Jaguar and the F-Type must be the ability to remember and draw inspiration from Jaguar's roots. To recall bygone days of mid-20th-century glory without ever being stuck with the car-killing label 'retro'. To explore this we brought the F-Type face-to-face with the equally iconic MkII.


When we reviewed the MkII late last year we marvelled in just how it manages to remain a useable car decades after it went out of production. The MkII is a triumph of style and substance, an understated exterior complementing a relaxed ride and a comfortable drive, just how a Jaguar should be. The engine is a triumph of torque over power that could teach its modern day counterparts a thing or two.

Across from it on the pit lane sits the F-Type, in this case a V6-powered 'S' with all-wheel-drive. Perhaps not as on-the-edge exciting as the two-wheel-drive version, but displaying many of the qualities that make the MkII so spectacularly good. As a fully fledged GT the F-Type is a different kettle of fish to the MkII, but at the same time fulfills many of the criteria the '60s icon it now faces ticked off. Both revel in a speedy cruise, the F-Type comfortably eats up the miles for hour after hour. The MkII will also cruise along in style and ease – just a little bit slower, arriving slightly later than the F-Type but with occupants unflustered by the pressures of modern motoring.

Seeing the pair together at Goodwood is perhaps a visual metaphor for why Jaguar has become so successful again. To the naked eye, the two share few overt design clues – the F-Type heritage drawn from the E-type while the XE is descendent of the MkII – but there is no denying that each is a Jaguar, guaranteed to turn heads wherever they go and always sparking that respectful smile from those in the know.


Behind the wheel they are both tastefully upholstered – this British Design Edition F-Type features vibrant blue stitching on the seats that complements one of the best interior designs around, rather than overbearing it. The MkII features cream seats and the traditional walnut dash, but neither ventures toward the ostentatious, instead leaving an air of relaxed luxury, a characteristic the two Jags again share.

Each Jag is a product of a company on the up and up. The MkII was born in an era of British dominance of the motor industry and racing glory at Le Mans, the F-Type follows the rebirth of the company from the doldrums. Some may scoff at comparisons of the 2017 Indian-owned Jaguar with the '60s heyday of British engineering, but they should spend some time with these cars and realise the absolute adherence to heritage that has been observed. The money behind Jaguar may be from the sub-continent these days, but the brains, heart and soul of the company is very much in Britain, and long may it continue.

Photography by Tom Shaxson.

  • Jaguar

  • F-Type

  • MkII

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