Not all cars at the U-Pull-It yards need to be bought piece by piece, some are interesting enough, and sufficiently complete, to be offered as a whole. Such is the case with this Jaguar Mark II. Not only is it right-hand drive and a stick shift, the interior also features a crazy custom touch that might just rock your world.
The yard was asking four grand for the car, which did seem pretty steep considering its condition. I mean, externally it appears intact, rust free and straight, but the chrome was worn, the paint was dull and the rubber was deteriorating. I was figuring that about half its asking would have been a fair offer, but that was before I saw its interior.
The inside was a total mess, and the car is missing its carpet, the center console, and the front seats. Oh sure, there are a pair of vinyl thrones there, so if the car does run it wouldn’t require sitting on a crate to drive, but the originality will suffer. The thing of it is, somea previous owner of this Jag likely didn’t give much thought to originality. That’s evidenced in the dash cap which instead of being a lovely expanse of burled walnut is now resplendent in a covering of faux granite. That’s right, just like on the countertops in your rich neighbor’s kitchen.
The Mark II Jag is known for being one of the most venerated sporting saloons, favored by both sedan racer and bank robber alike back in the day. It’s extremely odd to want to, even in mock form, cover the dash in something that looks like stone. Maybe the previous owner didn’t want anyone taking the car for granite? After all, when new it was a marble of modern machinery.
Okay, enough of the puns, as that dash is probably the least of this still desirable Jag’s problems. I wasn’t able to get under the hood or get anyone to tell me if the darn thing even ran, but I’m sure that there remains at least a few grand in parts alone on the car, and it’s an excellent candidate for restoration. . . for someone with more money than I.
If that Jag is a little too rough and expensive for your taste, but you still have a yen for weird cars from the past bought from junkyards, then you might find its neighbor to your liking. The same yard has a less rough but even weirder Lancia Beta Berlina for $1,900. It too looks like it’s led a hard knock life, but actually appears to be able to hit the road after maybe a weekend’s worth of work.
Yes, it has wing mirrors! Strange bullet jobs with oval glass appended, they probably would get knocked off on the first trip to a Trader Joe’s parking lot. The bodywork on the Lancia was mostly straight, although the backend had a couple of wrinkles in time that would need to be smoothed out. The fastback body on the Beta Saloon remains very handsome even today, although the American market cars, like this one, have been marred by the adoption of sealed beam headlamps and massive, sticky-outie aluminum and rubber bumpers.
The best part of this car is the tow hitch below the overhanging rear bumper. With its meager 86-horse (when new) 1,800-cc four, it’s pretty funny to think that this would be the car you’d want to call on to tow anything.
In case anyone in LA is interested in seeing either of these cars first-hand they were located at the A-Foreign Auto Wrecking yard at 8520 Telfair in Sun Valley. You’ll need two bucks to get in to see them – if they’re still there two weeks after I shot these pictures – and maybe a flatbed to take your new prize home.