Making its debut in 1968, the Jaguar XJ6 saloon, featuring entirely new bodywork, was propelled by the straight six, twin cam XK type engine, offered in 2.8- and 4.2-litre capacities.

Providing a ride quality felt by many to be unequalled at the time, plus impressive handling and road-holding for a large saloon, independent coil spring suspension was installed at the back and the front. Servo-assisted, dual circuit brakes help to tame these big cats.

All 4.2-litre versions, plus De Luxe variants of the 2.8 models, came with power-assisted steering and leather upholstery. In all versions the interiors were sumptuously appointed and instrumentation was comprehensive.

An even more 'upmarket' Daimler version – designated Sovereign and with a traditional style, fluted 'Daimler' grille, joined the line-up in October 1969.

Minor changes were made during 1969/70, but of major importance was the arrival of the XJ12 (and equivalent Daimler 'Double Six') in the summer of 1972. With Jaguar's superb 5.3-litre V12 power unit under the bonnet, these smooth-running high performers also featured automatic transmission, ventilated front disc brakes, power-assisted steering and high speed Dunlop tyres.

Long wheelbase versions of the XJ12 (XJ12L) and XJ6 (XJ6L) were introduced late in 1972, with a wheelbase four inches longer than the standard cars, providing improved rear seat leg room.

In mid-1973 the 2.8-litre models came to the attack the end of their production road, and Series 2 XJs (identifiable by shallower grilles, higher-mounted front bumpers and restyled facias) arrived in the autumn of the same year. Standard equipment was impressive, and included central locking, electrically operated windows, an improved heating/ventilation system, and extra soundproofing.

Especially sleek two-door fixed head coupés were introduced for 1974; the 12 cylinder version (XJ12C) had standard-fit tinted glass and air conditioning. Overdrive became part of the specification on manual 4.2-litre models in February 1974.

 From May 1975 this model was designated XJ4.2, and was joined by a new variant, with a 3442cc XK engine. This newcomer was designed to be cheaper to buy and to run, incorporating cloth trim instead of leather, and lacking both electrically operated windows and central locking.

During the spring of 1975, fuel-injected versions of the XJ12C (fitted with a black vinyl roof) and XJ12L arrived. Manual models were equipped with five-speed transmissions from September 1978.

The spring of 1979 saw further range revisions, including restyled roof and rear end profiles; the updated models were designated 'Series 3'. Buyers of the 3.4-litre 'entry level' model benefited from new trim, pile carpets, a stereo system and fuel injection.

Significantly, in the summer of 1981, 'High Efficiency' ('HE') engines were installed in the V12 versions, together with a higher ratio final drive unit. The result was usefully improved fuel consumption.

A headlamp wash/wipe system, plus an electrically controlled sun roof and twin door mirrors (also electrically operated) were standard features. At the same time, the six cylinder models gained a larger cooling fan and oil cooler.

The autumn of 1982 saw interior changes, and a year later, the introduction of high specification 'Sovereign' versions. On 4.2 litre models, a trip computer, air conditioning and electrically adjustable front seats were standard features. Digital fuel injection, cruise control and air conditioning were additional refinements on the 5.3HE.

New XJ6/Sovereign models (powered by AJ6 type engines) replaced the earlier versions in October 1986, although the V12 variants continued in production...

These lovely machines have always been revered for their wonderful ride comfort, their spacious and beautifully crafted interiors and roomy boots, plus of course, their impressive performance.

All versions are competent in terms of their dynamic behaviour, and all are enjoyable to own, although pre-HE V12 models consume fuel at quite a rate. As classic cars they can be an excellent choice and

Jaguar XJ6/XJ12

XJ puts the class in classic


(Note: Jaguar versions shown as examples).
XJ6 2.8: 1968-73 • XJ6 3.4: 1975-86 • XJ6 4.2: 1968-86 • XJ12: 1972-86
Four door saloon, two door fixed head coupé.
XJ6 2.8: 2792cc, twin overhead camshaft, straight six cylinder, 140 bhp.
XJ6 3.4: 3442cc, twin overhead camshaft,
straight six cylinder, 161 bhp.
XJ6 4.2: 4235cc, twin overhead camshaft,
straight six cylinder, 173 bhp (later cars, 205
XJ12: 5343cc, overhead camshaft V12
cylinder, 265 bhp (later cars, 299 bhp).
0-60 mph:
XJ6 2.8: 11 sec • XJ6 3.4: 10.5+ sec • XJ6 4.2: 8.5+ sec • XJ12: 7.5 sec
Top speed:
XJ6 2.8: 117 mph • XJ6 3.4: 118 mph • XJ6 4.2: 120+ mph • XJ12: 145+ mph
Typical fuel consumption:
XJ6 2.8: 17-24 mpg • XJ6 3.4: 16-24 mpg • XJ6 4.2: 15-23 mpg • XJ12: Pre HE models: 10-18 mpg; HE • models, 12-20+ mpg

(Note: Jaguar versions shown as examples;
equivalent Daimler models attract a small
premium. Asking prices vary widely; these
figures are only a guide).
XJ6 Series 1: Rough, £750. Good, £3,000.
Top notch, £4,000+.
XJ12 Series 1: Rough, £800. Good, £3,500.
Top notch, £5,000.
XJ6 Series 2: Rough, £750. Good, £2,500.
Top notch, £4,000.
XJ12 Series 2: Rough, £800. Good,
£3,000+. Top notch, £4,500+.
XJ6 Series 3: Rough, £750. Good, £2,000.
Top notch, £3,500+.
XJ12 Series 3: Rough, £750. Good,
£2,000+. Top notch, £4,000.
XJ6 4.2C: Rough, £2,000+. Good, £4,000+.
Top notch, £6,500+.
XJ5.3C: Rough, £2,500+. Good, £5,000+.
Top notch, £7,500+.


Offering grace, pace, space and supreme comfort, early Jaguar XJ and equivalent Daimler models provide a great deal of classic car for your money. Kim Henson takes close look at these iconic British sports saloons.

Values estimated at May 2008.

represent good value for money – but rust can be a major issue on neglected examples….

When viewing any version, carefully inspect the body shell 'everywhere', but especially in the vicinity of the sill assemblies, jacking points, floor pans, pillars and bulkheads.

In addition, check the state of the front and rear inner wings, the front valance across-member, the front wing extremities, the lower forward edge of the bonnet, plus the bottoms of the doors, rear wings and boot lid.

Don't ignore the rear door 'shut' panels, wheel arch lips, rear valance and boot floor, also the 'wells' behind the rear wheels.

The excellent interiors contribute much to the character of these cars, and careful inspection is advised as trim in poor condition (especially leather!) can cost a great deal to restore.

Check carefully too for mechanical ailments…

On six cylinder models, assess the engine for cooling system problems (including overheating, corrosion, also radiator core disintegration), timing chain wear/rattle, low oil pressure (it should be above 45 psi at normal driving speeds), and excessive oil smoke from the exhaust (note that 2.8- litre engines are prone to piston burning).

On 12-cylinder cars, look for engine oil leaks, lack of regular maintenance (examine the service record), timing chain wear and cooling system deterioration.

On all models, check manual transmissions for evidence of weak synchromesh and noisy gearbox bearings. On automatics, check for smooth ratio changes and ensure that the transmission fluid is clean and up to the correct level. Well-used cars may have worn/time-expired suspension bushes, which will result in poor handling and ride characteristics, not to mention MoT test failure!

Organisations catering for the cars include: Jaguar Drivers' Club;
Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club;


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