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Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC

Jaguar XJC & mercedes-benz-slc Published: 14th Oct 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC

What The Experts Say...

Knowles Wilkins Engineering is better known for revamping Jaguar XJ-Ss and the S3 XJ saloon but has had dealings with the XJC and while it contends that this suave saloon- based coupé is better looking, feels the XJ-S is the better buy because there’s more choice and more scope for improvement; the XJC was derived from the worst XJ of them all, the S2 (wasn’t the XJ-S also-ed).SLCs aren’t as popular as the R107 but have their following and merits says Cheshire Classic Benz. Peter Lewis adds that as they were only made during the early part of the 107’s run, they suffer the same faults (rust). Many are neglected and even more were broken to make good an R107…

Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC
Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC
Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC
Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC
Jaguar XJC & Mercedes-Benz SLC
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Both the Jaguar XJC and Mercedes’ SLC are overlooked stylish spin-offs of their more popular brethren. Are we all missing out on something?

Coupés have always been a question of value over vanity, effectively asking owners to pay more and get less. However, there are exceptions, such as this pair of underrated fancy fastbacks. On paper a sportier looking Jaguar XJ saloon and a roomier 2+2 Mercedes 107 SL sound ideal, and yet both these classy coupés are overlooked as classics despite their credentials. Don’t you follow suit – here’s why.


Technically speaking, the Mercedes SLC (C107) has a range that’s as select as the Jaguars, the greater choice comes from a longer production run (1971-80) plus you can add other Merc coupés into the equation.

Let’s start with the SLC, a stretched R107 convertible. Mercedes added 14 inches to the wheelbase, added a roof and proper 2+2 seating and hey presto, the SLC was born, initially as a 3.5-litre V8 before then a 4.5-litre came along and which quickly became the more popular pick by two-to-one.

If that doesn’t suit you, you also have the pick of a wide range of alternatives from the German such as the 250/280 CE (1968-76), 230/280CE that’s based on the unbreakable W123 saloon, the larger SEC ranges (which are based upon the S Class saloon and were made well into the 1990s) and the singleton E Class-based 300CE, produced from 1987-93.

There’s bound to be something to suit you and your pockets as prices for these often forgotten Mercs start from well under two grand!

The XJC was only based upon the S2 XJ6 and while shown in late 1973, didn’t hit the showrooms until two years later due to production diffi culties, lasting just two years on the price lists, which in 1975 was £5480 – almost half the price of the soon to be launched XJ-S.

The XJC has always been great value because prices have largely kept static with the XJ6 and that’s always undervalued.

However, of late, interest in the XJC has soared and top cars, invariably the 5.3 V12 model (of which 1873 were made as opposed to 6505 4.2s), has jumped to well over £20,000 – double what could be asked for the very best S2 XJ saloon!

Good XJCs go for around £10-15K, about top XJ-S money. A Daimler version saw an amazing 1600 made – but when did you ever last see one even when new?

In contrast, the Mercs are as cheap as chips; around £8000 for a good SEC, £7000 for a very nice 230/280CE and £4000 for a 300CE. Mercs on the make are the early 1960’s 250/280CE, the very best W123 based CEs and the SLC but even this car is signifi cantly cheaper than a compatible XJC.


There’s a real difference between the two here, not so much how good they are to drive but what you – the owner – wants from a classic.

By this we mean character, a trait which differentiates a simple drive into a sense of occasion. If it’s the latter you desire then it should really be the Jaguar.

The XJ6 was regarded as one of the best cars in the world in its heyday and even now, almost 50 years on, its standards of refi nement, handling and comfort still greatly impress, as does the sheer muscle of that magnifi cent V12 that was fuel injected for the XJC giving it 285bhp. Performance remains excellent even in three-speed auto form.

The Jag’s failings are its over-light feel-less (in modern terms) power steering, adequate transmissions (only a few 4.2s came as manual trans with overdrive while the autos are just three- speeders with a poor gear selector) and high wind noise care of those ill-fi tting frameless windows.

What you get with the German alternatives instead is owner satisfaction through good old school Mercedes build quality and the feeling that while the drive may not be the most exhilarating, you are going to get where you want to go and back again.

That’s not to say they are stodgy to drive. Indeed, the S Class SECs were the best of their ilk in the world but the SLC (and the CEs) are more for touring than tearing around in. While not as fast as the Jag’s V12 engine, the German’s pair of V8s are no slouches either, even when allied to automatic transmission as the vast majority are and with good reason as it’s a pleasant gearbox.

If you intend to carry passengers then the XJC is the better choice as the SLC is strictly a 2+2 more along the lines of the XJ-S; if you need more space look at a CE or SEC.


Owning an old Merc is so easy thanks to strong trade support that even includes main dealers, so there’s no excuse for neglect due to parts supply.

Mainstream suppliers such as GSF and Euro Car Parts can help with the more modern models and there’s an ever increasing army of good value factory- trained independent specialists ready to take over from pricey main agents.

The expansive independent base also includes specialists who deal in used cars from the late 80s and 90s, providing warranties and so on meaning these old Mercs are as easy as buying a normal second-hand car. Jaguar specialist support is good, it’s just that the XJ has never been a blue chip classic like the Mk2.

Mechanically, you’re okay, it’s the unique rear end’s panels and trim that are getting harder to fi nd; only the centre console dash and headlining are common to the saloon. Door skins are available, however, from specialists SNG Barrett at just £140.

Worse still, the XJC was based upon what’s regarded as the worst XJ of all, the S2 and suffered from bad build and a lack of stamina (falling headlining, tired trim, electric woes etc). Plus those big doors with frame-less windows always gave trouble and something Jaguar never quite sorted out. If fuel economy is a factor with you then you are probably better off with a Mercedes as Jag thought it a swear word and the 4.2 ‘six’ as an auto isn’t appreciably superior to the glutinous V12.

And The Winner Is...

Logically the Mercedes ensemble is the right buy. There’s a great choice, some at remarkable prices, from old to modern and there’s plenty around, especially if you look abroad for a LHD example. Add an excellent independent back up and few classics are as painless to run. However, their peerless engineering is almost their downfall because, for many classic car lovers, they appear too clinical to be fun. That’s not something you can ever level about an old Jag and even the fl awed XJC is no exception. If you want something you can use regularly with confidence and impunity then the SLC is for you. But if you regard that any classic car journey is a sense of occasion then the XJC has to be the choice – even if you fear you may not make it home without some hassle…

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