Rock solid California import; owned from new by Hollywood actor
Stephen Boyd (Messala in Ben-Hur) and remaining in the family ever since;
As the original shipping documents confirm, this Jaguar MkII 3.8 Automatic left Dagenham aboard the MS Brandanger bound for Jaguar Cars Inc of New York in August 1962. Finished in Opalescent Bronze, it had been specially ordered by the Hollywood actor Stephen Boyd and was delivered to his home in Los Angeles in November 1962.
Born in County Antrim in 1931, Boyd became an actor at an early age and moved to America in the 1950s where his ruggedly handsome looks meant he was not short of work in Hollywood. He is most famous for playing the murderous charioteer Messala, duelling with Charlton Heston in the 1959 epic Ben-Hur, a role which earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Boyd had the Jaguar registered with a distinctive MESALA number plate and was to keep it right up until his death in 1977, at which point ownership transferred to his wife, Elizabeth Mills, who kept it until her death in 2007. It was then inherited by our vendor's aunt and was shipped back from California to England in 2008. Forming part of the Boyd Trust, it came with a detailed report from West Coast Auto Appraisals which graded all aspects of the car from 1 (excellent) to 6 (greatly deteriorated).
On the plus side, the bodywork was graded as 3 (very good; rust-free) but most other aspects were graded below this. The mileage was stated as 49,245 – exactly as it is today. The report concluded: “Vehicle is not operational and has not been operated for at least 20 years… The body is very straight and rust-free. It would make a great project vehicle for someone who loves Jaguars, but it will be a costly one” - this at a time when a good example was worth aound $20k.
Stored in a heated garage since arriving in the UK 15 years ago, it is in much the same condition today as it was when it left the Sunshine State. It retains all its original handbooks, including the service book which has one stamp at 783 miles in November 1962. Photos of Stephen Boyd are also included, along with various documents bearing his name.
It has not yet been UK registered but comes with lots of documentation, including a California Certificate of Title and HMRC papers to prove that all import duties have been paid, so getting it registered should be simple enough using the usual DVLA channels. It does have some Coventry-issued UK plates in the boot, 3282 WK, which may have been on the car when it first left the Browns Lane factory.
On offer here as a straightforward restoration project with a rock solid structure, this one-family-owned Jaguar has the potential to make a very nice car indeed and could be converted to RHD if desired using parts readily available from specialists.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email email@example.com
* All charges are subject to VAT