Jaguar XJ6, XJ12 & XJC Buying Guide
No car has ever matched the combination of grace, space, pace, luxury and affordability of the Jaguar XJ
• Project £1000-3000 • Good £4000-8000 • Concours £9000-20,000 •
Running costs ★★★
DIY Friendly ★★★
Jaguar has had a habit of moving the goalposts with its most significant models. That’s certainly the case where the XJ is concerned, which was good enough to scoop the Car of the Year award in 1969. When it arrived in 1968 it replaced the 240/340, S-Type, 420 and 420G, and while it initially came in six-cylinder form only, before long it would also be available with V12 power – the only car in its class.
While no XJ is frugal and the V12 can be downright crippling, a good six-cylinder XJ represents excellent value and offers a sublime ride and relaxing drive.
Low values for decades means many XJs have been run on a shoestring, so poorly maintained and bodged cars aren’t rare, but there are also some very good examples out there which are now starting to be worth significant money – especially in two-door coupé form.
Your AutoClassics Jaguar XJ inspection checklist
Around two-thirds of the XJs built were fitted with a six-cylinder engine; the rest got a V12. The XK straight-six must be looked after if it’s not to wear prematurely, so start by checking the oil level, consistency and colour. If the oil is thick and black just walk away, or budget for an engine rebuild sooner rather than later.
The XK engine has an alloy cylinder head so the coolant’s anti-freeze concentration must be maintained, to stave off internal corrosion. If the coolant becomes too dilute the radiator will block up with debris.
A healthy XK engine will use some oil, but if the valve stem seals have hardened or the valve guides have worn there will be significant amounts of blue exhaust smoke. There should be 40psi of oil pressure when cruising; if it’s significantly less a rebuild is due. If the underside of the engine is coated in oil the rear crankshaft oil seal has probably failed. Putting this right is part of a full engine rebuild.
Uneven running is often down to problems with the fuelling. While some XJs are injected, others have SU carburettors. The latter have an automatic choke which fails, but it can be converted to a manual set-up – although this in turn can be unreliable.
The V12 engine is as unstressed as they come and will last indefinitely if looked after. What will wreck a V12 is overheating; again, anti-freeze levels much be maintained and the oil changed regularly. If a rebuild is needed, get saving because the V12 features a lot of components...
Most of these cars have an automatic gearbox, but some six-cylinder examples got a manual transmission. Until 1977 a Borg Warner auto was fitted; later V12 editions got a GM400 gearbox.
Series I autos aren’t very smooth but later cars are better. If maintained these automatic transmissions last well, but rebuilt units are easy to find and they’re not especially costly. The manual gearbox is similarly strong and most came with overdrive. If this is slow to engage the oil is probably low or it may be that an oil change is needed.
Rear axles last forever but they can leak, which leads to oil getting onto the inboard rear brakes. Fixing this is costly, not least of all because the diff and rear brakes need to be completely overhauled. Any clonks will be from worn universal joints, but these are cheap to fix.
Suspension and brakes
Power steering was standard from the outset, and although the system is normally very reliable you still need to check for leaks. Look for these underneath the car and also check the fluid level from the engine bay.
If the tyres have worn unevenly it’s probably because of tired suspension and rear subframe bushes. Because there are so many suspension bushes throughout the car, replacing everything is very costly, but normally not all of them need to be renewed.
The in-board rear brakes are often neglected and on cars used only occasionally they can rust, so do your best to check their condition. The handbrake has its own calipers and pads, which can seize up, and fixing this is awkward so check that it works.
Ford Ranchero 1970
Ford Ranchero is a coupe utility that was produced by Ford between 1957 and 1979. Ford is starting to bring them back in 2017. Unlike a pickup truck, the Ranchero was adapted from a two-door station wagon platform that integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body. A total of 508,355 units were produced during the model’s production run. 1970 had a complete restyle and a few engine availabilFor Sale | 20 May 2018 | 770 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada£ POA
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 1964
1964 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray In the early 1960s Harley Earl retired, and new ideas came with new leadership. Bill Mitchell, GM’s new chief of design, had an incredibly successful idea: Stingray! Tradition was broken as the totally redesigned Corvette was offered as a coupe or a convertible with 4 engine choices. Both featured a streamlined appearance and improved passenger accommodations.For Sale | 20 May 2018 | 770 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada£ POA
Porsche 911 3.0 SC Targa 1981
Immatricolazione: 07/1981 Chilometraggio: 137.000 Alimentazione: Benzina Cilindrata: 2994 Cm³ Potenza: 150 KW / 204 CV Tipo di cambio: Manuale (5) Colore esterno: Grigio metallizzato Colore interni: Pelle Nero If interested contact us ASAP.For Sale | 20 May 2018 | Via della Pace, 46029, Suzzara, Province of Mantua, Italy€ 49,000
Ford Thunderbird 1957
292 ci 212 hp V-8, 3 speed manual transmission with overdrive, power steering, removable hardtop, town and country radio, fender skirts and telescoping steering column. Fitted with brand new era correct G-78 14 wide white wall tires. Expertly refinished in Flame Red with exceptionally nice authentic pleated black and white interior and engine turned trim pieces to make a very stylish presentatioFor Sale | 20 May 2018 | 217 S Wahsatch Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA$ 39,900
Porsche 550 Spyder Replica 1955
Factory built in 1991 by Beck Development in Chuck Becks Upland, California facility. After its completion, it was cosmetically transformed to resemble in every detail the most famous 550 Spyder, James Deans Little Bastard. It was then used in the 1996 David Cronenberg movie CRASH starring James Spader and Holly Hunter. In this movie that characters reprise the actor James Deans fatal 1955 accidenFor Sale | 20 May 2018 | 217 S Wahsatch Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA$ 54,900
Ford Mustang 1972
351 ci Cleveland V-8 upgraded with Holley performance 4 barrel carb and hi rise intake, factory exhaust manifolds coupled to new dual Flow Master exhaust. C-6 3 speed. automatic transmission with 9” rear, power steering, power disc brakes. Riding on newer 255 60x15” radials mounted on new Crager Shelby styled alloy wheels. This factory H-coded 351-C equipped car has been recently refurbisheFor Sale | 20 May 2018 | 217 S Wahsatch Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA$ 26,900
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 2.0L 1981
1.962 CC., 130 CV, 4 CILINDROS, 5 VELOCIDADES, TIPO 116, DOBLE CARBURACIÓN, FRENOS DE DISCO, RADIO-CD/USB, LLANTAS ORIGINALES CON EMBELLECEDORES CROMADOS, 4 PLAZAS, MUY ORIGINAL, PERFECTO ESTADO, CORRECTO FUNCIONAMIENTO, MATRÍCULA ORIGINAL (V), DOCUMENTACIÓN e ITV AL DÍA. If interested contact us ASAP.For Sale | 20 May 2018 | 46018 Valencia, Spain€ 9,500
Chevrolet INDEPENDENCE ROADSTER 1931
3.200 C.C., 50 CV, 6 CILINDROS EN LÍNEA, 2+2 PLAZAS, CAPOTA DE VINILO CON VENTANILLAS DESMONTABLES, PARABRISAS ABATIBLE, LLANTAS DE RADIOS, MATRÍCULA HISTÓRICA, ITV CADA 5 AÑOS. If interested contact us ASAP.For Sale | 20 May 2018 | 46018 Valencia, Spain€ 35,000
Rusty and bodged XJs abound thanks to poor rustproofing, low values and often a low standard of production on the assembly line. Rusty and poorly restored cars are rife, so home in on the sills, A, B and C-posts, valances and rear wheel arches along with the door bottoms and the spare wheel well.
The rear radius arms and their mounts rot, as do the front and rear screen surrounds (particularly on the Series III) and the bonnet hinge mounting points. You can also expect corrosion in the bonnet, boot lid and front wings (particularly around the headlights) along with the jacking points.
Finish off by looking at the radiator support frame, which is a big job to fix on an XJ6 and it’s even bigger on an XJ12. A rotten front subframe is also likely, particularly on the Series 2 and Series 3.
The XJ’s interior should be sumptuous; a few were trimmed in cloth but the great majority are swathed in leather. This can crack and split while the carpets wear and wood can delaminate. Fixing everything will be expensive, so check everything closely.
The electrical system of the Series 1 and Series 3 tends to be fairly reliable but the Series II is usually more problematic. It’s the switchgear that gives the most trouble, especially the electric window controls. Everything is available but pinpointing what the problem is can take time.
*1968: The XJ6 replaces the S-Type, 240, 340, 420, 420G and Mk2.
- 1969: The Daimler Sovereign goes on sale.
- 1972: The XJ12 and Daimler Double Six join the range, along with the Vanden Plas Double Six.
- 1973: Production of the short-wheelbase models ceases.
- 1974: The Series 2 XJ arrives and the XJ Coupé reaches showrooms. The final 2.8-litre cars are built.
- 1975: New arrivals include the XJ6 3.4 and Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2. All V12s now have fuel injection, while all XJ12 saloons get a vinyl roof.
- 1977: XJ12s now have a GM400 automatic transmission and the final coupés are built.
- 1978: Fuel injection is now fitted to 4.2-litre cars.
- 1979: The Series 3 goes on sale and six-cylinder cars now have the option of a five-speed manual gearbox.
- 1981: V12 engines are now to HE (High Efficiency) spec.
- 1982: Six-cylinder cars get a Borg Warner Model 66 automatic transmission.
- 1987: The final XJ6 is built.
- 1989: V12s can now officially use unleaded.
- 1990: Anti-lock brakes become standard.
- 1991: The final XJ12 is built.
- 1992: The last Daimler Double Six is produced.
It’s obvious advice but it’s amazing how many people don’t heed it: be scrupulous with your checks and don’t buy a dog, because that’s exactly what many people do. Restoring a project could bankrupt you unless you have very deep pockets or you’re multi-talented in the workshop.
There were lots of different XJs available across the three series, including standard and long-wheelbase cars, saloons and coupés (the latter in Series 2 form only), six- and 12-cylinder engines and manual or automatic transmissions. Pinning down which suits you best can be difficult but don’t focus too much on spec; the condition matters more.
For most buyers the ideal car is a 4.2-litre Series 1 or Series 3; the Series 2 is generally sought after only in coupé guise as this was the generation built to the lowest standard. The 2.8-litre engine is unusual and underpowered which is why a 4.2 is more sought after, although a 3.4 is a good option too. Don’t be put off by the V12 if you do only a few miles each year; it will always cost more to run one of these than a straight-six, but buy well and the costs are surprisingly manageable.
There’s also the Daimler badge to throw into the equation; don’t forget to look for one of these more unusual editions because if you can’t find the Jaguar XJ of your dreams you might have a bit more luck tracking down the perfect Daimler.
|XJ6 Series I 2.8|
|XJ6 Series I 4.2|
|XJ6 Series I 5.3|
|XJ6 Series II 3.4|
|XJ6 Series III 5.3|
Jaguar XJ cars for sale here.