I was interested to read Mr. McCluskey’s progress report on his Mark II Jaguar 3.4, but also surprised, in view of his earlier letter to learn that he has kept the car so long. A month after his original letter appeared you published a letter from myself suggesting how he could remedy some of the faults of which he complained, and stating how pleased I was with my own Mark II 3.4.
I was still pleased with the car when I sold it some six months later and bought a Porsche 1600S. I have now covered 25,000 trouble-free miles in the Porsche and feel that it is a car which possesses many of the virtues Mr. McCluskey seeks. The steering is very direct, the gearbox a source of pleasure, the well-damped suspension allows little roll on corners, the seats are the most comfortable I have encountered, the finish excellent, and the construction of the body ensures that no rattles develop even on really bad surfaces while traction and handling in the wet are superb.
On only one count am I dissatisfied. The Porsche is noisy, in that considerable throttle intake roar enters the car at high r.p.m.; this is a pity because the gearbox is silent and the exhaust subdued. It also has the disadvantage, for a family man, of being a 2-seater. I bought the Porsche because most of the 90,000 miles I had covered in my last three Jaguars had been travelled alone or with one passenger, and I had been very impressed on the occasions when I had driven a Porsche. My wife has a Austin A40 and I reasoned that her car would do duty during the school holidays. Unfortunately my theory has not worked out in practice and I have found myself doing a fair mileage in the A40. I now want to return to a 4-seater, and I cannot see any cars in the up to £2,500 bracket that can be compared in value to the Jaguar range.
However, to deal with Mr. McCluskey’s current complaints. The top timing-chain can be adjusted in 15 minutes, and it is almost certainly the top chain Mr. McCluskey hears. The bottom chain cannot be adjusted. If the tensioner needs replacement, eight hours is the maximum time any Jaguar mechanic should take: I have had one replaced in 5 1/2 hours. If the lower chain needs changing it is possible to do this without taking off the cylinder head, but, if the head is removed, 12 hours is ample time for the job. If Mr. McCluskey really only gets 8,000 miles per set of tyres while averaging over 21 m.p.g. I cannot help feeling that the garage that needs two days to adjust his timing-chain advised him as to tyres and tyre pressures. My Mark II had done 21,000 miles on Michelin “X” when I sold it and had averaged 17 m.p.g.! The rear springs had not dropped, and the paintwork was as new.
If Mr. McCluskey does not need four seats I would recommend that he try the Porsche; if he does need them, I would suggest that he comforts himself with the knowledge that although his Jaguar may not be perfect he cannot do better at the money.
L. R. St. J. SCOTT.