Classifieds Hero: Jaguar XJ-C 4.2-litre

Think V12 power is the only way to enjoy Jaguar ownership? Let this immaculate XJ-C change your mind…

If you are vegetarian or unable to grasp the concept of a good meal, you don’t necessarily require slices of bull to enjoy British beef for Sunday lunch. Rather, you can trade two horns for six cylinders with this Jaguar XJ-C.

While the 5.3-litre V12 may top the proverbial bucket list and have absorbed all the glamour upon the XJ variant’s launch in 1973, its smaller 4.2-litre brethren is by no means the poor relation.

For starters, the engine doesn’t slurp quite as much fuel nor does it hold the same reputation for dependability as a cabinet politician – something the V12 appears to be cursed with.

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Acceleration is still perky enough to keep the V12 firmly in sight and the weight difference allows for tighter manoeuvres under duress. Don’t believe us? Looking at the sales figures highlights a stark difference – with the 4.2-litre straight six having outsold the twelve cylinder by nearly 3:1.

A 20kg weight saving over the four-door saloon maintains a sporting feel; despite weighing in at little under two-tonnes, cruising very much remains the XJ-C’s forté.

There’s 173bhp lurking under the bonnet: with 112 horses fewer than the idolised V12, the smaller-engined XJ-C skulks home with a 24mph slower top speed. Despite the 124mph top whack, the 0-60mph sprint takes only 1.2 seconds longer.

On paper at least, this sounds like chalk and cheese – but in the real world, what does that really matter? You’ll appreciate the extra economy as fuel prices continue the steady trend towards £1.30 per litre. You’ll save a fortune in tissues, Valium, therapist appointments and razors by managing more than 20mpg. A round trip of 100 miles should therefore cost a little over £60. The V12 could happily munch through twice that if you are heavy footed.

Comfort levels and drop-dead gorgeous styling were order of the day across the XJ-C range during the four short production years. The final example rolled out factory gates in 1977, with smaller amounts of power not necessarily signalling any loss in refinement.

However, let’s not beat about the bush – the XJ-C lived in the shadow of the XJ-S. Faster, better built (slightly) and more durable, the XJ-S hit a chord with the public, whereas the XJ-C appealed to a market that had arguably had its time.

Suffering the usual BL woes that cut life short should maintenance not be top of the agenda; rust, electrical problems, water ingress and panel gaps ensured swathes of XJ-Cs found a welcome home in the oily claws of the scrap merchant.

Nowadays, solid examples sell for far more than a new Mercedes A-Class yet are seldom found for sale – but we have a prime chunk of British beef residing in the classifieds.

This particular example is in rude health, with an MoT until December this year. Perfect for the oncoming summer weather we are due (hopefully)!

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert.

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