Jaguar MK II
Number of seats2
Coombs Modified in Period
1963 Jaguar Mk2 3.8-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. 8504 PE
Chassis no. 231336DN
Racing driver John Coombs had enjoyed considerable success in his chosen career, including a win in a minor Formula 1 race, before giving up competitive driving to concentrate on running his Guildford-based Jaguar dealership. He continued to prepare and enter cars under his own name for other drivers, including stars of the day such as Ron Flockhart, Roy Salvadori, Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren. Coombs' name will be forever be linked with that of Jaguar, his Mark 1 and Mark 2 saloons being at the forefront of British saloon car racing throughout the late 1950s/early 1960s. When the E-Type sports car came along he raced that too with considerable success.
This 3.8-litre Mk2, chassis number '231336DN', was supplied new via Henlys (London) to Bob Jennings, who later would own a lightweight E-Type. Wanting more performance, Jennings despatched the car to John Coombs for modification, which included up-rating the engine with special camshafts, a lightened flywheel, twin 2" SU carburettors and a large-bore exhaust. A close-ratio gearbox was installed, the suspension up-rated and lowered, the wheelarches modified, and an E-Type steering wheel fitted. Jennings is known to have entered the Mk2 in the BRDC Brighton speed trial, but kept the car for only a little over one year. In 1964 the Jaguar was offered for sale by Graham Cook (Grosvenor Cars) of Guildford, from whom it was purchased by Mr John Feeley. The accompanying old-style logbook lists three further owners into the early 1970s, at which time the original registration '37 PF' was removed and the car reregistered as '8504 PE', another 1963 mark.
There is a gap in the ownership records between 1972 and July 1980 when the Mk2 was rediscovered in a private garage in Twickenham by Jaguar enthusiast, Tim Spital. By this time the original cylinder block, believed damaged, had been replaced with one from a MkIX saloon as per standard Coombs practice, though the original cylinder head had been retained (it has since been replaced). The car had also been partially dismantled, with the removed parts stored in boxes. For the next decade-and-a-half, Tim Spital collected the original Jaguar parts, both large and small, required to undertake a restoration. Sadly, ill health prevented him from starting the rebuild and in 1997 Tim sold the car and all the accumulated spares to his friend David Sedge of Maidstone, a professional classic car restorer and ex-Brown's Lane employee.
The Jaguar was then stripped down to the bare bodyshell and painstakingly rebuilt by David himself. All panels, with the exception of one wing, are original. Important engine work was entrusted to the renowned marque specialist, Rob Beere, while the gearbox was rebuilt by Colin Sharpe using Quaife shafts. The electrics were rewired by Graham Sage (who worked on 'Thrust 2') to high specification but period appearance; the upholstery re-trimmed by Mark Webber of Altrim; the brightwork re-plated by Swinards; and the woodwork refurbished by Malcolm Hall of London Carriage Craft. A full list of works carried out, specialists involved and the car's current specification is on file (inspection recommended).
Specification highlights include a Rob Beere 'Option 4' full-race lead-free cylinder head; high-capacity oil pump; 9½" competition clutch; oil cooler; aluminium radiator; alternator electrics; rebuilt competition overdrive; quick-ratio competition steering box; competition wire wheels; louvred bonnet; and a Derrington steering wheel. The car was repainted in its original colour scheme of opalescent dark blue, while the interior, originally light blue, has been re-trimmed in grey. (It should be noted that the clutch pedal must be depressed when engaging or disengaging the overdrive). We are advised that a rolling road dynamometer test produced a reading of just under 300bhp, and the car is reputed to have achieved a speed of 135mph.
David Sedge completed the rebuild, which reputedly cost in excess of £50,000, in 2001 and kept the car until 2007 when it passed via dealer Peter Byrne to the current owner. Classic Jaguar World magazine featured '8504 PE' in its December 2001 edition (copy on file), former Coombs employee Ken Bell having inspected and authenticated the Mk2 during the article's preparation. The car is offered with the aforementioned old-style logbook, sundry bills, current MoT/tax and V5C registration document, and also comes with an original Coombs key fob.
It is estimated that only some 25 3.8-litre Mk2 saloons were converted by Coombs, including the three or four competition cars raced as 'BUY 1' and 'BUY 2'. Of the 25 or so, at least one is known to have been destroyed, making the example offered here a very rare and desirable car. Described as in generally very good/excellent condition, '8504 PE' represents a rare opportunity to acquire genuine Coombs Mk2 that has been upgraded further in the spirit of the original. Johns Coombs surely would have approved.