"Grace . . . Space . . . Pace — a special kind of motoring which no other car in the world can offer."
Jaguar's advertisers truly nailed it with that slogan! When presented to the public in 1955, the Jaguar Saloon —as the Brits used to call their Sedans— was no less than sensational. The recipe to put sports car performance in a rather compact sedan was tried before and after, but was never achieved in such a convincing way. The Americans sure were used to power, but definitely not to such a good handling of their cars. "Sports Car Illustrated" stated in April 1958: "The 3.4 sedan sums up luxury touring in a high-speed car that defies comparison. It certainly has no American counterpart."
With the 3.4 Litre Jaguar, introduced in 1957, Jaguar addressed the requests of its American dealers who asked for additional power in the successful 2.4 Litre Saloon. Its 210hp six cylinder engine was taken from the XK series —in 1949 the fasted sports car worldwide— and now delivered power in abundance. For 1950s standards, this wasn't just a fast car, reaching a top speed of 193 km/h (120 mph) easily, but it was a safe car, too, because it had novel disc-brakes as standard equipment, a co-invention of Jaguar and Dunlop, and to be found in almost every car today. Outside there were subtle updates to the Jaguar 2.4 Litre: a slightly wider front grille ensured better engine cooling and partially cut out wheel covers at rear meant better access to the wheels and a sportier look.
Our pictured car from Havana is one of the 17,404 Jaguar 3.4 Litre that were built until 1959. According to its owner, it still has its original engine implanted, which means more than an adequately quick transportation even today. When this car was built in 1959, its successor was already waiting in the starting blocks: the similar looking, but massively improved Jaguar Mark 2 should seamlessly continue Jaguar's successful take on the concept of the sports sedan.