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Jaguar XJ6 S2

Published: 27th Apr 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Cabin is stock XJ6 although the Series2 does benefit from a host of revisions. Cabin is stock XJ6 although the Series2 does benefit from a host of revisions.
Subtle badging; 4.2 engine is best all rounder for most enthusiasts Subtle badging; 4.2 engine is best all rounder for most enthusiasts
Rear treatment involves special quarter lights and harder to obtain Rear treatment involves special quarter lights and harder to obtain
By the time the XJC surfaced the V12 ran on fuel injection. A great engine but fuel costs will be steep. By the time the XJC surfaced the V12 ran on fuel injection. A great engine but fuel costs will be steep.
S2 XJs used this style wheel but some will be seen on XJ-S rims, too S2 XJs used this style wheel but some will be seen on XJ-S rims, too
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What is a Jaguar XJ Coupe?

It’s the XJ you may never had heard of - before now. Think of two-door Jags and you immediately remember the XK sportsters, E-Type, XJ-S and of course the XK8. But a sleeker two-door XJ6 was made briefly during the mid 1970s – yet despite its short lifespan and undoubted exclusivity, it never caught the imagination of classic car lovers. Until now, that is? Apart from being a fine GT that was much more practical, roomier and nicer looking than the XJ-S also made at the same time, the XJC was also a super quick (if not reliable) racing car – plus was John Steed’s personal steed in The New Avengers.

History

The coupe XJ was announced when the Series 2 was introduced late in 1973. S2s differed little from the original XJ6, the main differences being at the front end, where a revised bumper height (demanded by US federal legislation), shallower grille and indicator lights now below the new bumper gave it a much cleaner look. But the overall svelte silhouette of the original - even in two-door mode - was retained. Weighing some 50lb lighter than the short wheelbase saloon it derived from, XJCs didn’t materialise until 1975 due to production difficulties with those big frameless doors not sealing too well at speed.

Two models were made; the 4.2 XJ6C and the V12C, the latter at this time running on fuel injection with a higher final drive in the interests of better economy (never a strong point on this model). Technically, the S2 boasted fourpot calipers and vented discs up front, which were a big improvement over early XJ anchors, while the optional auto box was now the superior Borg Warner Model 65 design. Aside from the Jag model, there was also a plusher Daimler Sovereign variant, although with the XJ-S only months away from launch, the XJC was never going to be anything other than a short-term fling. By 1977 it was killed off (along with the XJC saloon racing programme) after 6505 XJ6 versions and 1873 V12s rolled out of Browns Lane. Perhaps it’s time the XJC idea was dusted off again…

Driving

It’s an XJ6, which means amazing modernity after almost four decades. Rolls-Royce-beating ride and sports car like handling that stunned the world all those years ago still impress today - or would do if the car is still in good condition (sadly many won’t be). The three-speed auto was a popular pick over the fourspeed/ overdrive manual combo as it suits the XJC’s laid back attitude better. However in modern terms overall gearing is a touch too low at motorway speeds; it feels like it needs an extra cog and a popular fix is to bolt on a four-speed auto from the later XJ40 models (not difficult, but seek a specialist for expert advice here). In terms of performance, the 4.2 ’six’ with its 245bhp is adequate for today’s roads (60mph in under 10 seconds) plus 20-22mpg is on the cards. The magnificent V12 with its still mind blowing pace won’t better 13-15mpg even with fuel injection. But if you are only covering 3000 miles a year or less, does it matter that much for the sheer pleasure this masterpiece of an engine provides?

Naturally, the XJC loses a bit of practicality over the saloon, although getting in and out isn’t that difficult thanks to those big doors. Once inside it is typical old school Jag, meaning limited rear legroom but so long as those doorframes are sealing okay, it should be as quiet as any XJ.

Prices

This is the good bit! According to Graham Searle of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club (Tel: 0117 969 8186) XJCs were a bit of cult car five years ago and prices shot up to almost five figures; now they have fallen to around £5-6000 for a top example (one average model went at auction for less than £2000 recently). Searle says the XJC is a great car - the problem is that it was based upon the unloved S2 XJ…

What To Look For

  • Sadly the XJC’s ’75 launch coincided with a downturn in Jaguar build quality and later Series 2s gained a pretty poor reputation. Don’t expect Mercedes-like sturdiness.
  • Like all Jags, XJs rot. Common areas are round the headlights, lower front wings, doors on the edge which meets the front wing and where it joins the sill, the rear wheel arches and windscreen surrounds (beware, it is usually worse than it looks here).
  • And that’s just the obvious areas! Ideally, raise the car off the ground for a nose underneath, checking the lower front valance and crossmember below the radiator, while the rear valance comprising of the spare wheel well is another iron oxide target area.
  • Open the bonnet and observe its leading edge where the hinges are, the inner wings and suspension turrets. You’re unlikely to get a car without at least a few of these tell-tale signs of corrosion.
  • Interiors can get very tatty. Door cards, leather seats and the felt headlining all perish, the latter being particularly troublesome; when that starts to sag, the only surefire way of fixing it is to remove the front screen and install an all-new headlining – expensive stuff plus remember, it’s a lot harder to source rarer two-door trim. Electric windows were standard on the XJC, but they can be problematic.
  • Check the carpets for any signs of damp. Beneath it a thick foam lining resided, which insulated the cabin from any engine or road noise. Sadly, if there’s rust in the floor due to a leaky windscreen, water ingress plays havoc here. Check the vinyl roof (if fitted) – if ratty bank on up to £700-£1000 to replace, and watch for rust bubbling underneath.
  • Watch for door drop as the XJC uses big doors and hinges will accordingly suffer. Even when new, window pane seal to the door frame was touch and go and ratty cars will suffer from excess wind noise.
  • Although well known and relatively simple, the XK unit can prove fickle. The alloy head and cast iron block really needs quality anti-freeze to not only prevent the potential overheating or freezing of the engine in extreme weathers, but also to prohibit corrosion and silt build-up of the internals.
  • As ever with all XK lumps, watch for excessive oil usage, leaks from the rear crank oil seal (most common), decent oil pressure (40-50lbft@2500rpm), over-silent tappets (meaning a head off decoke/re-shim) and timing chains rattle.
  • The V12 suffers similarly, but unless really knackered rarely needs a full rebore. The oil pressure needs to hover around the 60-80lb mark to prove it’s healthy. Lucas electronic ignition is infamously poor and may have been swapped with better aftermarket types. The EFi system needs proper servicing if it’s to function at its best - and many don’t

Verdict

Classy, cultured and Coupe-styled, the XJC is perhaps the best-kept secret classic Jag around. Despite their exclusivity, they make great buys that can only appreciate in price and affection. No doubt about it, the XJC now deserves the respect and appreciation it was rarely given 30 years ago.



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