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The Jaguar Motor Company

The Jaguar History and Heritage - Part 4

"The £33,900 OTR secures you a 2.7-litre V6 diesel or the 3.0-litre V6 petrol version of the new Jaguar XF. A choice of 4.2-litre V8 models one of them with a supercharged engine, is also available, with prices from £44,500. All XFs feature a sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission that includes a unique all-new JaguarDrive Selector, an industry first rotary shift interface and the Jaguar Sequential Shift System with steering-wheel mounted paddles for one-touch manual control." OK, now who wants one?

In 1968 the XJ6 was a ground breaker. The basic design lasted through numerous updates until the late 1980s. The 6 cylinder XJ of 1968 single-handedly replaced the super large Mk10/420G, 420, and Mk2 saloons. It replaced them all with a more modern, low slung and very sleek design. The 'Series 1' cars came with either a 2.8 or 4.2 XK engine, most of which were automatic. Very few with manual/overdrive. The XJ was redesigned in 1974 both internally & externally. This new XJ was known as Series 2. The base model 2.8 was no more. With the production of the Series 2, the 'small' XJ was now shown by new 3.4 powered car, a substitute to the 4.2 6 cylinder. In 1975 the stylish 2 door XJ Coupe (XJC) was introduced, although only 6505 XJCs were built over 2 years. In 1979 the Series 3 appeared that incorporated a lot of revised features, including a raised roofline, numerous trim changes, larger rear lights, bigger bumpers and sleek door handles. Unfortunately the late 1970s had quality problems blighted brands that were of British Leyland, including Jaguar. Late Series 2 and early Series 3 cars showed inadequate paintwork, trim, and electrical problems. However it did improve during the 1980s, the final Series 3 XJ being built in 1986. 

William Lyons was still trying new powerplants in low volume sports cars, before them being introduced into his mainstream saloon cars. This is how the V12 Jaguar engine was introduced in the Series 3 E-Type in 1971. Both the roadster and fixed head Series 3s were based on the same design. The Series 3 had a much larger, chromium, grille, and flared arches to hold wider steel wheels. By now the 'E' had become heavier and was more of a GT than sports car. Auto boxes were available for the first time in an E-Type roadster due to the extended wheelbase. Production of the coupe ended in 1973, with the roadster ceasing in '74. New safety & emissions regulations were gradually constraining the E-Type (or XKE as it was known stateside), the final 50 RHD roadsters being sold in 1975 as commemorative issues, all in black. 

The new 12 cylinder powerplant was intended for the XJ saloon all along, and fitted to the E-Type to ensure any imperfections were corrected before fitting to the saloons. The XJ of 1968 had been fitted with a wide engine bay, so that it could accommodate the 5.3 all-alloy V12. The first of the 12 cylinder saloons was sold in 1972, fitted to the short wheelbase XJ bodyshell. This was an executive marque. Three speed automatic transmissions were offered, no manuals. The long wheel based XJ12L made showed in 1973, and received the Series 2 revisions in 1974, still running with quad Stromberg carburetors. In 1975, the Series 2 received fuel injection. A 2 door XJ12C coupe was also shown in mid 1970s. The Series 3 XJ12 replaced the Series 2 in 1979. In 1981 a revised cylinder head design was fitted to the 12 cylinder motor, and was known as the HE (High Efficiency). Fuel economy now increased to 16 or so mpg. Production of the Series 3 XJ6 ended in 1986, when the XJ40 range appeared. There was no 12 cylinder planned for this new range & the Series 3 V12 saloon production carried on therefore right the way through to 1993. 

The new XJS in 1975 didn't go as well as expected. There was only a V12 car available with a fixed head form. The convertible was not due to appear for some time. The very earliest XJ-Ss could be ordered with a manual gearbox, but most were automatics. The fuel crisis and strike action at BL didn't aid its prospects. But the XJS continued. In 1981 the HE version of the 12 cylinder engine came in, along with improvements to the interior trim. In the early 1980s Jaguar were developing a new six cylinder engine. The AJ6, first saw use in the 3.6 XJS in 1983. Demand for an open-top XJS continued. The launch of the XJ-SC was in 1983. In 1988 a full convertible joined the range, replacing the XJ-SC that has ceased the year before. This new car was available as a V12, and featured a powered hood. In 1991 the new 4.0 litre AJ6 replaced the 3.6, and an open top version of the 6 cylinder car was now offered a year later. In 1993 the V12 was increased to 6.0 liters. April 1996 saw the end of XJS production, after 21 years of production. Few other variants of the XJS were produced. 

The XJ40 replaced the Series 3 XJ6. Then with the X300 range which repeated the style of the first XJ of 1968. In 1995-1997 the XJ6 & XJ12 (X300 & X301) were produced. In 1997 to 2002, the XJ8 (X308) was produced. Then from 2003 to the present the XJ (X350). All continuing with the impressive Jaguar sleekness & executive drive. 

Content: www.classic-jaguar.co.uk. Images: www.uk.mediajaguar.com 

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