Jaguar XJ is the designation that has been used for a series of luxury saloon cars sold under the British Jaguar marque. The first XJ was launched in 1968 and the designation has been used for successive Jaguar flagship models since then. The original model was the last Jaguar saloon to have had the input of Sir William Lyons, the company's founder.
Series 1, 2 and 3 (1968–1992)
Series 1 (1968–1973)
The XJ6, using 2.8 litre (2,790 cc/170 cu in) and 4.2 litre (4,235 cc/258.4 cu in) straight-six cylinder versions of Jaguar's renowned XK engine, replaced most of Jaguar's saloons – which, in the 1960s, had expanded to four separate ranges. Apart from the engines, the other main component carried over from previous models was the widest version of Jaguar's IRS unit from the Mark X.An upmarket version was marketed under the Daimler brand and called the Daimler Sovereign, continuing the name from the Daimler version of the Jaguar 420.
The car was introduced in September 1968. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard on the 2.8 L De Luxe and 4.2 L models and air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 L. Daimler versions were launched in October 1969, in a series of television advertisements featuring Sir William. In these spots, he referred to the car as "the finest Jaguar ever". An unusual feature, inherited from the Jaguar Mark X, was the provision of twin fuel tanks, positioned on each side of the boot / trunk, and filled using two separately lockable filler caps: one on the top of each wing above the rear wheel arches.
In March 1970 it was announced that the Borg-Warner Model 8 automatic transmission, which the XJ6 had featured since 1968, would be replaced on the 4.2 litre-engined XJ6 with a Borg-Warner Model 12 unit. The new transmission now had three different forward positions accessed via the selector lever, which effectively enabled performance oriented drivers to hold lower ratios at higher revs in order to achieve better acceleration. "Greatly improved shift quality" was also claimed for the new system.
In 1972 the option of a long-wheelbase version, providing a modest increase in leg room for passengers in the back, became available.
The XJ12 version was announced in July 1972, featuring simplified grille treatment, and powered by a 5.3 L V12 engine (coupled to a Borg Warner Model 12), : The car as presented at that time was the world's only mass-produced 12-cylinder four-door car, and, with a top speed "around 140 mph" (225 km/h) as the "fastest full four-seater available in the world today". Although it had, from the car's launch, been the manufacturer's intention that the XJ would take the twelve-cylinder engine, its installation was nonetheless a tight fit, and providing adequate cooling had evidently been a challenge for the engineers designing the installation. Bonnet/hood louvres such as those fitted on the recently introduced twelve-cylinder E Type were rejected, but the XJ12 featured a complex "cross-flow" radiator divided into two separated horizontal sections and supported with coolant feeder tanks at each end: the engine fan was geared to rotate at 1¼ times the speed of the engine rpm, subject to a limiter which cut in at a (fan) speed of 1,700 rpm.The fuel system incorporated a relief valve that returned fuel to the tank when pressure in the leads to the carburetters exceeded 1.5 psi in order to reduce the risk of vapour locks occurring at the engine's high operating temperature, while the car's battery, unusually, benefited from its own thermostatically controlled cooling fan. 3,235 of these first generation XJ12s were built. As with the six-cylinder cars, an upmarket version, this time called the Daimler Double-Six, became available later, reviving the Daimler model name of 1926–1938.
|Jaguar XJ6 2.8 swb||19,322|
|Jaguar XJ6 4.2 swb||59,077|
|Jaguar XJ6 4.2 lwb||574|
|Jaguar XJ12 swb||2,474|
|Jaguar XJ12 lwb||754|
|Daimler Sovereign 2.8||3,233|
|Daimler Sovereign 4.2 swb||11,522|
|Daimler Sovereign 4.2 lwb||386|
|Daimler Double Six swb||534|
|Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas||351|
|Total Production for Series 1||98,527|
MWK 28G - The Oldest Surviving Jaguar XJ
20 pre-production Series 1 cars were manufactured for testing and development. Of these a number went on to be road-registered and sold to customers. MWK 28G was the nineteenth of this pre-production run and now, according to the records maintained at the Jaguar-Daimler Heritage Centre, the oldest surviving example in existence. It was the first XJ to be road registered - on 1 August 1968 to Jaguar - and thereafter was used as one of the 'Press Cars' (Press Car One), vehicles used for demonstration purposes and road tests. The registration mark will have been used deliberately in reference to the engine size fitted. The car featured prominently in motoring magazines of the time but most notably in September 1968 in the Daily Telegraph Magazine as part of a fashion shoot with Veruschka, a well-known model of the era. Photographs accompanying the article depicted MWK 28G being road-tested across France and Spain including the point at which the crude cardboard camouflage that had been added to the vehicle was removed.
In September 1969 the car passed from the Publicity Department to the Research and Development Department where, at 20,000 miles, a new engine had to be fitted - presumably after failure of the original unit at the MIRA test track. Incredibly, in the Spring of 1970 it passed into private ownership. MWK 28G became one of the most photographed Series 1 XJ's and more latterly has had a website dedicated to it. To this day the car remains in everyday usage.
Series 2 (1973–1979)
Commonly referred to as the "Series II", the XJ line was facelifted in Autumn 1973 for the 1974 model year. The 4.2 L I-6 XJ6 (most popular in the United Kingdom) and the 5.3 L V12 XJ12 were continued with an addition of a 3.4 L (3,442 cc/210.0 cu in) version of the XK engine available from 1975.
The Series II models were known for their poor build quality, which was attributed to Jaguar being part of the British Leyland group along with massive labour union relations problems that plagued most of industrial England in the same time period, and to problems inherent in the design of certain Lucas-sourced components.
Initially the Series II was offered with two wheelbases, but at the 1974 London Motor Show Jaguar announced the withdrawal of the 'standard wheelbase' version: subsequent saloons/sedans all featured the extra 4 inches (10 cm) of passenger cabin length hitherto featured only on the 'long-wheelbase' model. By this time the first customer deliveries of the two-door coupe, which retained the shorter 'standard' wheelbase (and which had already been formally 'launched' more than a year earlier) were only months away.
Visually, Series II cars are differentiated from their predecessors by raised front bumpers to meet US crash safety regulations, which necessitated a smaller grille, complemented by a discrete additional inlet directly below the bumper. The interior received a substantial update, including simplified heating and a/c systems to address criticisms of the complex and not very effective Series I system.
In April 1975, the North American Series II got a slightly revised set of front bumpers which had rubber overriders covering the full length of the bumper with embedded turn signals at each end. In 1978 the North American cars also got the addition of electronic fuel injection in the place of Zenith-Stromberg carburettors.
In May 1977, it was announced that automatic transmission version of the twelve-cylinder cars would be fitted with a General Motors three-speed THM 400 transmission in place of the British built Borg-Warner units used hitherto.
The 1978 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ 3.4, XJ 4.2, XJ 5.3, Daimler Sovereign 4.2, Double-Six 5.3, Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2, Double-Six Vanden Plas 5.3.
In New Zealand, knock-down kits of the Series II were assembled locally by the New Zealand Motor Corporation (NZMC) at their Nelson plant. In the last year of production in New Zealand (1978), a special 'SuperJag' (XJ6-SLE) model was produced which featured half leather, half dralon wide pleat seats, vinyl roof, chrome steel wheels and air conditioning as standard. New Zealand produced models featured speedometers in km/h, and the black vinyl mats sewn onto the carpets in the front footwells featured the British Leyland 'L' logo.
Though worldwide production of the Series II ended in 1979, a number were produced in Cape Town, South Africa until 1981.
A total of 91,227 Series II models were produced, 14,226 of them with the V12 engine.
|1973–1975||DOHC I-6||2,792 (171 cu. in.)||140|
|1975–1979||DOHC I-6||3,442 (210 cu. in.)||161|
|1973–1979||DOHC I-6||4,235 (258 cu. in.)||245/162-186 See Note|
|1973–1979||SOHC V12||5,343 (326 cu. in.)||265/244 See Note|
Note: HP varies depending on emission standards imposed on particular vehicles
A 9,378-car run of two-door XJ coupés with a pillarless hardtop body called the XJ-C was built between 1975 and 1978. The car was actually launched at the London Motor Show in October 1973,but it subsequently became clear that it was not ready for production, and the economic troubles unfolding in the western world at this time seem to have reduced further any sense of urgency about producing and selling the cars: it was reported that problems with window sealing delayed production. XJ coupés finally started to emerge from Jaguar show-rooms only some two years later. The coupé was based on the short-wheelbase version of the XJ. The coupé's elongated doors were made out of a lengthened standard XJ front door (the weld seams are clearly visible under the interior panels where two front door shells were grafted together with a single outer skin). A few XJ-Cs were modified by Avon into convertibles with a retractable canvas top, but this was not a factory product. Both six and twelve-cylinder models were offered, 6,505 of the former and 1,873 of the latter. Even with the delay, these cars suffered from water leaks and wind noise. The delayed introduction, the labour-intensive work required by the modified saloon body, the higher price than the four-door car, and the early demise promulgated by the new XJ-S, all ensured a small production run.
All coupes came with a vinyl roof as standard. Since the coupe lacked B-pillars, the roof flexed enough that the paint used by Jaguar at the time would develop cracks. More modern paints do not suffer such problems, so whenever a coupe is repainted it is viable to remove the vinyl. Today many XJ-Cs no longer have their vinyl roof, also removing the threat of roof rust. Some owners also modified their XJ-C by changing to Series III bumpers. This lifted the front indicators from under the bumper and provided built in rear fog lights.
A small number of Daimler versions of the XJ-C were made. One prototype Daimler Vanden Plas version XJ-C was also made, however this version never went into production.
|Model \ Year||1973||1974||1975||1976||1977||1978|
|Daimler Sovereign Coupe||-||-||471||587||613||6|
|Daimler Double Six Coupe||-||1||76||149||159||22|
Grand total = 10,426
Series 3 (1979–1992)
In late 1979, the XJ was facelifted again, and was known as the "Series III."
Using the long-wheelbase version of the car, the XJ6 incorporated a subtle redesign by Pininfarina.
Externally, the most obvious changes over the SII were the thicker and more incorporated rubber bumpers with decorative chrome only on the top edge, flush door handles for increased safety, a one-piece front door glass without a separate 1/4 light, a grille with only vertical vanes, reverse lights moved from the boot plinth to the larger rear light clusters and a revised roofline with narrower door frames and increased glass area.
There were three engine variants, including the 5.3 L V12, the 4.2 L straight-six and 3.4 L straight-six. The larger six-cylinder, and V12 models incorporated Bosch fuel injection (made under license by Lucas) while the smaller six-cylinder was carbureted. The smaller 3.4 L six-cylinder engine was not offered in the U.S.
The short-wheelbase saloon and coupé had been dropped during the final years of the Series II XJ. The introduction of the Series III model also saw the option of a sunroof and cruise control for the first time on an XJ model.
The 1979 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ6 3.4 & 4.2, XJ12 5.3, Daimler Sovereign 4.2 & Double-Six 5.3 and Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2 & Double-Six Vanden Plas 5.3.
In 1981 the 5.3 V12 models received the new Michael May designed 'fireball' high compression cylinder head engines and were badged from this time onwards to 1985 as "HE" (High Efficiency) models.
In late 1981 Daimler Sovereign and Double Six models received a minor interior upgrade for the 1982 model year with features similar to Vanden Plas models. Also for the 1982 model year, a top sec "Jaguar" Vanden Plas model was introduced for the US market - a model designation still used today.
In late 1982 the interior of all Series III models underwent a minor update for the 1983 model year. A trip computer appeared for the first time and was fitted as standard on V12 models. A new and much sought-after alloy wheel featuring numerous distinctive circular holes was also introduced, commonly known as the "pepperpot" wheel.
In late 1983 revision and changes were made across the Series III model range for the 1984 model year, with the Sovereign name being transferred from Daimler to a new top spec Jaguar model, the "Jaguar Sovereign". A base spec Jaguar XJ12 was no longer available, with the V12 engine only being offered as a Jaguar Sovereign HE or Daimler Double Six. The Vanden Plas name was also dropped at this time in the UK market, due to Jaguar being sold by BL and the designation being used on top-of-the-range Rover-branded cars in the home UK market. Daimler models became the Daimler 4.2 and Double Six and were the most luxurious XJ Series III models, being fully optioned with Vanden Plas spec interiors.
The 1984 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ6 3.4 & 4.2, Sovereign 4.2 & 5.3, Daimler 4.2 & Double Six 5.3.
Production of the Series III XJ continued until 1992 with the V12 engine. In 1992, the last 100 cars built were numbered and sold as part of a special series commemorating the end of production for Canada. These 100 cars featured the option of having a brass plaque located in the cabin. It was the original purchaser's option to have this plaque, which also gave a number to the car (such as No. 5 of 100, etc.), fitted to the glove box, to the console woodwork or not fitted at all. This brass plaque initiative did not come from Jaguar in Coventry. It was a local effort, by Jaguar Canada staff and the brass plaques were engraved locally.
132,952 Series III cars were built, 10,500 with the V12 engine. In total between 1968 and 1992 there were around 318,000 XJ6 and XJ12 Jaguars produced.
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