First registered on 20th September 1960, this Mark II 3.8 Litre Saloon was delivered to first owner, Ruffler & Walker Ltd – a successful manufacturer of coin machines located on St. Johns Hill, Battersea. Specified with manual transmission and overdrive the Mark II was finished in carmen red and fitted with wire wheels.
On 5th January 1966, the Jaguar was bought by a Mr Arthur Pullinger of Chessington. Pullinger had a desire to own the ‘quickest saloon car available’ and so enlisted the help of renowned Jaguar modifiers, Coombs & Sons (Guildford) Limited to aid performance. The original invoices in the history file confirm that the following modifications were made;
27th January 1967 – ‘To modify rear wheel arches at list price’ – £35 – 0 – 0
13th March 1967 – ‘To supplying and fitting high rate front springs’, ‘To supplying and fitting modified anti-roll bar’, ‘To supplying and fitting Koni shock-absorbers all round’,‘To supplying and fitting rear axle tie bars’,‘To supplying and fitting high ratio steering box’,‘To supplying and fitting boot luggage grid’,‘To fitting new top and bottom ball joints, fitting new steering idler, tuning carburettors and road testing car’ – £133 – 17 – 6
24th June 1967 – ‘To carry out basic conversion and fitting 2” carburettors. Fitting modified exhaust system as per Coombs modification list. Attending to hand-brake, fitting new track rod ends, adjusting shock absorbers, fitting new cam-shaft bearings, fitting new distributor, fitting new top and bottom timing chains and tensioner assembly, and new hoses where required, road testing car’ – £310 – 4 – 8
22nd May 1967 – ‘To making up and fitting Coombs modified exhaust’ – £30 – 0 – 0
13th June 1967 – ‘To carrying out first service on modified engine, freeing off handbrake cable, rectifying oil leaks from rear of cylinder block and camshaft cover and road testing car’ – £4 – 17 – 6
In August of ’69, Pullinger bought and fitted a ‘Kenlowe Thermomatic engine cooling fan, dash indicator and manual control’ but within a year had sold the Jaguar to a Mr Leslie Bates of High Wycombe who was looking to buy the ‘best Jaguar Mark II in the country’.
Bates owned an automotive engineering business and latterly a car dealership which explains the change of vehicle registration numbers documented on the original ‘buff’ log book. In February 1972, the original registration number; 281 VPK was replaced with 1 JBH and in March 1973 with 7077 PP. Finally, in June 1974 the registration number LJB 4 was assigned to the Jaguar. Bates used the ‘Coombs’ up until the 1980’s when he put the car into long term storage.
In October 2011 historic racer Rae Davis who had a knack of nosing out interesting finds, advertised in the back of nowhere, discovered the Jaguar for sale having been in long term storage and although the buyer was not looking for a ‘Coombs’ Mark II, Shaun Lynn ‘had to have it’. Lynn a well-respected owner and racer, also owned ‘4 WPD’ the ex-Coombs Lightweight E-type so the Mark II would be an ideal companion for the ‘E’. Lynn comments; ‘I liked the idea of being able to put my mark on a car, to restore it in a way that it needed to be done. I wanted perfection – anything less just wouldn’t be right. So we’ve kept and repaired every panel, and when the guys told me it needed a new interior, I told them to put back the original’. CKL Developments were entrusted to carry out the restoration for Lynn with guidance coming from Ken Bell who was an ex-Coombs & Sons (Guildford) Engineer and Technical Adviser to the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club.
Once with CKL Developments, Ken Bell inspected the Mark II and the Coombs modifications made to the car and confirmed that they were indeed modifications that would have been made in period at the Surrey workshops of Coombs. What followed must be one of the best and most passionate restorations ever carried out to a saloon car.
Following the restoration of LJB 4, Lynn used the ‘Coombs’ sparingly and subsequently sold the car to the current owner in November 2015. Having now covered some 3,000 miles since the restoration was completed, the ‘Coombs’ has had all the post restoration niggles dispelled and is now available following a fresh service.
So often do we read in advertisements and magazine articles that a car is perfect or has had an award-winning restoration, but the reality so often fails to live up to the hype. In this case, LJB 4 is so achingly right and proper – we would welcome any inspection of the Jaguar.
Photo Credit: Riiko-Andre Nuud, Riiko Photo