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Affordable Luxury: 1965 Jaguar S-Type

Jaguar’s Sir William Lyons pursued the saloon niche with a vengeance in the 1960s, introducing four models in quick succession. This constellation ranged from the limousine-like Mk X to the aristocratic luxury of the XJ6. The S-type sat between these bookends, offering luxury with a sporting feel, while the 420 was essentially a compact Mk X. All the while, the Jaguar Mk II – with its roots in 1950s technology – was still on offer. Rationalization was coming to this lineup but for a glorious decade, the famous “Grace, Space, Pace” delivered almost anything a customer could want. Here on eBay is one of these beauties, a 1965 Jaguar S-Type with an asking price of C$16,500, or about $12k USD. The car is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The seller indicates this car needs nothing but a new owner.

The S-Type combined the Mk II’s basic shape, slightly elongated in the tail and roofline; the spectacular 220 hp DOHC six-cylinder 3.8-liter XK engine; and the Mk X’s independent rear suspension – an upgrade over the Mk II’s live axle. The brakes are disc all around. A gain of about 335 lbs over the Mk II contributed to slightly worse performance. Zero to sixty came in about 11.5 seconds (3.8 with the auto) and top speed was 116 mph, and while cornering was decent thanks to the reworked suspension, the car did have a tendency to wallow. This example has undergone a swap from the factory Borg Warner automatic to a GM 700R4, which reportedly gives the car swifter off-the-line performance and crisper kickdown. “Quarterbreed” transmission kits can be investigated here. This car’s motor has been rebuilt and it drives well.

Dozens of features in the cabin set this car apart from the Mk II. The seats are wider and legroom is expanded, leather upholstery was standard, and the dash is 100% burled walnut with a pull-out drinks tray – swankier than the partial wood/partial vinyl of the Mk II. Enhanced climate controls, armrests for all, a parcel shelf, and other accouterments coddled the inhabitants of the S-type.

The tool kit, manuals, and an extra steering wheel are offered with the sale. Though this listing is about as brief as I have ever seen (a pet peeve) the photos are intriguing enough to provoke a request for more information, if this car is your cup of tea. As always, stay tuned to the presence of rust. In terms of value, the S-Type has never been embraced by collectors, selling at about half the price of a comparable Mk II despite sharing an engine and having that famous rear suspension. Amazing the difference a few hundred extra pounds and a couple more inches can make!


  1. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz

    As usual from this reviewer, terrific write-up. LHD makes this a bit of a rarity, as these didn’t come to the US, I don’t believe.
    Thinking the reason they are half the price of a MkII is they’re butt-ugly in comparison.

    Like 6
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Yes-another excellent history lesson and delivery!

      Have to say, though this isn’t as nice looking as the MK II IMO it’s still more in keeping with that era of Jaguar saloon elegance than the 420 or Mk X.

      Like 5
      • Michelle Rand

        Both of you mention the looks, and in fact Lyons wasn’t happy with the long tail and higher roofline, but getting to market trumped further refinement. I cannot recall the word used when Lyons was objecting to the looks but it amounted to: “not up to our standards”.

        Thanks for the kudos, too, I really appreciate it!

        Like 6
    • SubGothius

      Fortunately only butt-ugly at the butt end, the rest being nearly identical to a Mark 2. I actually prefer the front end of the S-type with its subtly frenched-in headlights.

      IMO these would have looked much better, and less tail-heavy, if they’d retained fully round wheel arches at the rear, matching the shutline of the rear doors that were retained from the Mark 2, albeit without the Mark 2’s spats; I’ve seen that conversion done, by cutting away the lowered arches and grafting front wheel arches in their place.

      Like 0
    • Norman K Wrensch

      it’s in Canada not the US

      Like 0
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    One of my peeves is guys that can’t resist changing the steering wheel on classic cars. It’s like, “Let’s see what the Mona Lisa would look like with a nose ring”.

    Like 17
    • Euromoto Member

      I upvoted you even though I put a Momo in my 911

      Like 1
    • SubGothius

      At least it’s period-correct and generally matches the style of the rest of the interior; if you didn’t already know what the stock wheel looked like, you might not even realize this one isn’t stock.

      That said, I do wince and roll my eyes at seeing vintage-style and/or wood-rimmed wheels installed in otherwise plasticky modern-style interiors.

      Like 1
  3. John Eder

    Perhaps they are more effective being mounted far forward on the front fenders, but I have tried those “teardrop” type mirrors on two different cars (door mounted- both sides) and I found them to be almost useless. Even original Talbot mirrors from the UK didn’t work. While they look cool, I always felt as if I was driving semi-blind (I rely exclusively on my mirrors from years of driving emergency vehicles- no direct view to the rear). I get why they have a small mirror on the driver’s door, but it looks like it is limited as well.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UK Member

      I started my motoring life in what used to be Southern Rhodesia, currently Zimbabwe, and my first decent car was a 1955 Ford Zephyr Zodiac, a six cylinder, six seater saloon. Being the top of the range Ford it had a “knock back” rear view mirror mounted quite far forward on each fender. Since owning that car I don’t ever need to look backwards when changing lanes or when reversing, the mirrors on todays cars show me everything I need to see. The car, or people in the picture are not connected to me but is identical to mine, even down to the colours.

      Like 2
  4. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga Member

    Grace, Space and Pace…..love every inch of it!

    Thank you, Sir William Lyons!


    Like 4
  5. TheOldRanger

    I always have thought the best look for any Jaguar was as a convertible. This is really nice inside (and I liked the steering wheel.. thank you). And I also give 2 thumbs up to Michelle… I agree that she always does a great job in presentation.

    Like 2
  6. Rallye Member

    Michelle Rand
    Your mentioning the seats reminded me of hanging onto to the bottom sides of the passenger seat last summer in a MKII. No seatbelt. It was strange because 99.9% of the time we go somewhere in one of his cars, I drive.

    Like 1
  7. Martin Horrocks

    One of my favourite Jags. Can’t agree that it is ugly but the MK2 is an icon. Jaguar invented the M5 and then went backwards….a current Jag is totally anonymous. But then you won’t see many.

    The brand is completely lost and its plans for the future make even less sense.

    At this money, this car looks like a good buy, though auto kind of spoils it for me.

    Like 2
  8. OldCarGuy

    Please don’t forget that one of those wood rimmed steering wheels can kill you in a collision, especially if you drive without any kind of shoulder harness.

    You are right, Martin, there are all kinds of modern Jags out there for sale, at their true value, next to nothing. It’s a shame.

    Morley, Canada is the salted road capital of the world, and we both know it. I’ve seen some wonderful collector cars that look like lace, after sitting for not too many years.

    And don’t get me started on our vaunted “universal health care”. When our leaders start preaching to our southern brothers, it’s embarrassing.

    Like 0
  9. OldCarGuy

    Why don’t we have a thumbs up button, at the bottom of each review, for the authors?

    Like 1
  10. Morley Member

    Can you say “ENDEVOUR” gREAT SHOW ON bRIT bOX

    Like 1

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