Solid British Luxury: 1965 Jaguar 3.8 S-Type

Introduced in 1963 to fill a gap in the product range between the Mark 2 and the Mark X, the Jaguar S-Type was essentially a Mark 2 that had been extended and featured some minor styling changes to increase luggage and passenger space. They were a luxurious and comfortable open-road cruiser that also possessed extremely good handling and braking characteristics. This 1965 S-Type is a solid and complete car that is just waiting for someone to come along and return it to its former glory. It is located in Odessa, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is sitting at $6,500, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The Jaguar is finished in a combination of the attractive Opalescent Maroon paint, and the less attractive shade of green mold. Having said that, the paint itself actually looks like it is in reasonable condition, and it would be interesting to see how the car would respond to a good buff and polish. There is some rust to be addressed, but if the information provided by the owner is accurate, then the worst of this is confined to the end of the rocker on the driver’s side. It appears that most of the chrome and external trim is present, although items like the bumpers are going to require reconditioning. Half of the chrome trim around the rear window is missing, but it is still possible to buy replacement items through a number of aftermarket suppliers. To fill the market gap that I previously mentioned, Jaguar essentially took the Mark 2 and extended the rear deck to provide a larger trunk. The rear end of the roof-line was made more square, which provided better headroom for the rear seat passengers. There were also some changes made under the skin to allow the S-Type to house the fantastic and highly acclaimed rear suspension that was an integral part of the Mark X.

Sumptuous would be the best word to use when describing the interior of the S-Type. The leather upholstery on the seats of this car looks to be in quite nice condition, and I think that it would respond well to a clean and condition. All of the timber trim is present, although I do agree with the owner’s assessment that some of it will require refinishing. The carpet is also faded in a number of spots and will either require dying or replacement. Having said all of that, there is no reason why the interior couldn’t be used exactly as it currently stands.

Powering the S-Type is the DOHC 3.8-liter 6-cylinder XK engine. The transmission is a 3-speed automatic, which feeds the engine’s 220hp to a Limited-Slip rear end. The Jaguar doesn’t currently run and has been in storage for many years. Sadly, the owner doesn’t tell us whether or not the engine turns freely, but you have to hope that it does. Two features of the S-Type which were often praised were its brakes and its handling. With 4-wheel independent suspension, the S-Type hangs on surprisingly well when the going gets twisty but still manages to provide a soft and comfortable ride. The brakes really are amazing on these cars. The 4-wheel disc brakes are very resistant to fade, and hitting these hard will make the car stop…yesterday! They really are confidence-inspiring, and haul the 3,690lb S-Type to a halt in a distance that few 4-door sedans of the era could even hope to match.

We see quite a few classic British sports cars here at Barn Finds, but classic saloons like this Jaguar are seen less often. The styling changes that were part of the enlarging of the Mark 2 to create the S-Type tend to polarize people. Some don’t mind the changes, while others feel that it gives the car a slightly disjointed appearance. With this particular car, the sticking point may well be the price. Firstly, we don’t see many S-Types coming onto the market these days, so that does make this one a bit of a rare treat. However, the S-Type is not the most popular car that Jaguar ever produced, and this naturally impacts values. It is possible to buy a running, driving example that is in need of light restoration for less than $13,000. It is also possible to purchase a really nice example that needs nothing for under $20,000. That makes me think that the bidding on this one is not likely to go a lot higher, and depending on where it has been set, it might struggle to reach the reserve.


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  1. Bob_S

    The S-type also had the IRS like the E-type, which gives it a smooth ride and it handles well. The MK II had a solid rear axle.

    The S-type was available with the 3.4L or the 3.8L (3.4S or 3.8S) engines. The USA officially only received the 3.8L.

    Like 4
  2. SMS

    A ‘66 S Type is my current hobby car. Surprisingly easy to work on and get parts for.

    Like the color of this one. Look real close for rust.

    My kids and I are refinishing the wood at present. There is a lot of it so time consuming but not difficult.

    Like 7
  3. GeneB Member

    I had one of these, BRG with a nice interior. The engine ran nice, but the tranni intermediate shaft was broken so it only had 1st gear, and puked out all of the tranni fluid from full in 5 miles. I paid a Navy mechanic friend of Volvo Jim way too much to rebuild it, then he left the Navy and I had to pay another friend of his to install it, and it didn’t work either. Paid $1800 in 1989, put another 4 into the tranni, and sold it for $600 to make it go away. Drove it the one time, 1st gear only, and 5 miles until the tranni was oil-empty. A nice car for rich patient people. The muffler air cleaner is iconic.

    Like 1
  4. Ken Carney

    I wouldn’t even mess with the 6 running–
    at least here in Florida. OEM parts are
    hard to get here and service is pretty much non existent. A lot of these went
    to the crusher in the ’80’s and ’90’s for that very reason. Back then, if it didn’t say Ford or Chevy on it, no mechanic would touch it. The same went for
    Chrysler products too. A buddy of mine
    in Fort Meade had to wait 3 months to
    get a water pump for his ’91 5th Avenue!
    And this was in 2005! As for this car, I’d
    yank the 6 and slip in a 350 V-8 like I did
    with the Jaguar sedan I had in ’72. Oh,
    and don’t forget to rewire the car to American specs. If you don’t, the cloth
    wrapped Lucas wiring harness would
    burn this car to the ground! Forgot what
    year my car was, but it had the round
    wheel arches in back. Despite the fire
    damage up front, mine was very clean and complete down to the picnic basket
    in the trunk. What I got was American
    reliability combined with excellent handling and braking. Wound up selling mine to a local doctor for $4K in late ’72.
    Paid my parents mortgage down with the cash and finished my ’50 Packard too.
    Nice starting point for whatever you have in mind for it.

    Like 2
  5. Ross W. Love..

    Greetings All,

    Price way too high for a non runner, much less one that might be seized.

    While i love the rear suspension, those fender cutouts in the rear make removing the wheel, far mor of a chore than it should be.

    Ken Carney, yours likely a MKII, very similar other than the frenched headlights and rear wheel apetures.

  6. Carcrazy

    I own a 67 S Type. It handles, drives and stops like a very modern car.
    Ride is very sporty and my friends are amazed every time they drive it.

    Like 2
  7. Ben T. Spanner

    My gym buddy just sold his after much effort. It was solid and running. It previously had a 302 Ford, and was unconverted to the proper engine. It also had a non-leather upholstery. He was asking $5500 and finally sold it for less to someone in Holland.
    I was around when these were new, they quickly rusted as the body changes were made of many small panels, welded together. There value is low compared to Mark ll’s or series 1 XJ6’s. You have to really want it for yourself if you are going to spend the money to make it nice, you won’t sell it for a profit.

  8. Andrew Franks

    Adam, thank you, these are elegant cars, beautiful handling, very excellent prescence. I am on the Left Coast so it’s too far away from me but parts supply very good here, wrenches for the car are nearby, a good project for someone who knows how to use a computer to find parts suppliers and if that person is where I am then a really good acquisition costs because of transportation issues.

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