It’s 60 years since Jaguar took the covers of its Mark II sports sedan, or saloon if you prefer to be properly English.

Many Jaguar enthusiasts regard the Mark II as the finest sedan ever to wear the leaping cat emblem.

They may be right, because it epitomises the company’s boss, Sir William Lyons’, evocative description — Grace, Pace and Space.

The combination of style and performance was unmatched by any other four-door car of the period.

Introduced late in 1959, the Mark II was more than just a simple restyling of the existing compact Jaguar sedan.

The car’s appearance was transformed by a re-styling above the waistline.

The glass area was expanded by almost 20 per cent.

Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen.

The rear window wrapped around to the enlarged side windows.

Restrained use of chrome ensured the eye fell on the beautifully curved flanks and fenders.

The classic XK 2.4-litre and 3.4-litre engines were carried over.

A new option was the 3.8-litre engine lifted from the bigger Mark IX.

Boasting 220 bhp (164kW) a 3.8 equipped Mark II was the perfect car for quick weekend getaway to the country estate along the newly opened M1 Motorway.

It was also a perfect getaway car for criminals.

The only way police could match its speed was by itself using them as highway patrol cars.

In the early 1960s, before the arrival of the V8 Ford Galaxie, Mustang and Chevrolet Nova, the 3.8 was the preferred choice for those gentlemen who like to race sedans, in the UK and Australia.

The first four Australian Touring Car Championships were won using the Mark II.

The most famous Mark II is the car used in the Inspector Morse TV series.

It resides in the UK and is available for corporate and event hire.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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Burrell

David Burrell is founder and editor of Retroautos.com.au, a free online classic cars magazine. Dave has a passion for cars and car design. He's also into speedway, which he's been writing about since 1981. His first car was a rusted-out 1961 Vauxhall Velox. His daily driver is a Pontiac Firebird. Prior to starting Retroautos, David was an executive in a Fortune 500 company, working and living in Australia, NZ, Asia, Latin America and the UK.