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Thread: Jaguar XJ Series, the History of (1968-2003)

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    Jaguar XJ Series, the History of (1968-2003)

    This thread covers the classic XJ series, produced from 1968-2003. If you are looking for modern XJ (code named X350), look here

    A Very Brief History

    Jaguar XJ Series I (1968-1973)

    1968 saw the last new Jaguar launched under the leadership of the company's founder, Sir William Lyons. His vision of the new XJ (standing for Experimental Jaguar) replacing all of the company's saloon worked and would in fact support the company until the end of the century...

    XJ6 was a slim, elegant design, drastically different from the big Mk X. The engine was 2.8 litre or 4.2 liters XK-series inline-6, developing 129 kW and 305 Nm of torque, giving the car a solid performance. Rear independent suspension was nearly identical to the one found on the E-type. This not only provided superior handling but also reduced noise and vibration thanks to its rubber mounts. The dash and instrumentation was very conservative and similar to what Jaguar drivers were used to in the Mark II, Mark X and even the E-type. As result of the sleek lines, interior space (especially in the back) was really the only deficiency of the new XJ6.

    Victim of its own success, early deliveries were slow as Jaguar's attempt to meet the demand and were hampered by delays in body manufacturing; the first cars were suffering from quality control problems. Despite these, the XJ6 was so superior to its competition than buyers were willing to wait and could even resell their just delivered XJ6s at a profit should they want to.

    In 1972 Jaguar launched the XJ12, it developed 189 kW and 406 Nm of torque. The XJ12 was Sir William Lyons final achievement before his retirement that same year and the numbers speak for themselves: one of the fastest production four seater in the world at 225 kph and 0-100 times of 7.5 seconds.

    Jaguar XJ Series II (1973-1979)

    The most obvious change in the Series 2 came at the front where new bumper height requirements forced Jaguar to redesign the grille and move the signals / markers below the bumper, overall an even sleeker and more refined design.

    As the Series 2 was being produced, Jaguar unveiled what would become one of the rarest car in the company's modern history : the XJ Coupe. A tiny 8378-car run of 2-door XJ coupes with a pillarless hardtop body called the XJC was built between 1975 and 1978. Both six and twelve-cylinder models were built, 6505 of the former and 1873 of the latter. Jaguar had intended to introduce the car as early as 1973, but problems with window sealing delayed production. Even with the delay, these cars suffered from water leaks and wind noise. The delayed introduction, the labor intensive work required by the modified saloon body, the higher price than the four door car, and the early demise promulgated by the new XJ-S, all ensured a small production run.

    Jaguar XJ Series III (1979-1992)

    The next major revision to the XJ saloon came in 1979 when Jaguar called on Italian design house Pininfarina but again restyling was kept fairly subtle. Alteration to the roofline, now flatter, changes to the rake of the windshield and changes to tail lights, wheels and trim. Three engine variants was offered, 3.4 and 4.2 litre inline-6 and 5.3 litre V12.

    Despite the investment, the new XJ6 was really just a stop gap, final evolution before the arrival of the next generation saloon, code named XJ40. This however would take much longer than anticipated, in part due to the financial problems faced by Jaguar and parent company British Leyland in the early 80s keeping the XJ6 in the showrooms for most of the 80s.

    The last Series III XJ with a six-cylinder engine was produced in 1987. Production of the Series III XJ continued until 1992 with the V12 engine.

    Jaguar XJ40 (1986-1994)

    Launched in late 1986, the all new XJ6 was much more modern in appearance with a more linear and rectangular shape. Changes extended far beyond looks and styling and also mechanically the XJ40 was a completely different cat. The most obvious change was under the bonnet with a new engine, the AJ6, which replaced the classic but now dated XK engine. The new 3.6 liter dual overhead camshafts 24 valve straight 6 produced 163 kW and offered better fuel economy and emmission levels. In Europe, a 2.9L version was offered as well. Also new was the rear independent suspension which had been completely redesigned.

    The XJ40 was also the first Jaguar to feature what would become a Jaguar trademark, the J-Gate gear selector.

    In 1989, the XJ40 received some enhancements, starting with a 4.0 litre version of the AJ6 engine and a new 4 speed automatic.

    Interestingly, production of the XJ40 with the V12 engine didn't start until 1992. Originally, the XJ40 engine bay was designed not to accept any Vee engine, something the designers did to ensure that then owner British Leyland wouldn't be tempted to use a Rover V8 to power the new XJ40. It took a substantial redesign of the engine bay for the V12 to fit in XJ40 cars.

    Jaguar X300 (1994-1997)

    Soon after the purchase of the Jaguar by Ford, work begun on a facelift for the XJ6; the result was the X300 launched in 1994 and still sold under the familiar XJ6 name. It was a back to the roots design by Geoff Lawson, with the return of a more rounded shape with dual healights flowing into the bonnet. Mechanically, the effects of Ford's massive investments in Jaguar were felt with an all new and much needed electrical system and an updated version of the AJ6 engine, the AJ16.

    In 1995, Jaguar launched the XJR, featuring larger wheels, improved sports suspension along with minor cosmetic changes. At the heart of the XJR, the AJ16 engine received a supercharger giving the 6 cylinder engine an impressive 237 kW and 513 Nm of torque.

    The X300 was also offered with the legendary V12 engine, now enlarged to 6 liters. Very few were produced and the V12 engine was permanently retired at the end of 1996, one year before the AJ16 and the Jaguar tradition of in line 6 engine would also reach the end of the line.

    Jaguar X308 (1997-2003)

    1997 saw the remnants of the XJ40 revised for a final time - the switch to the new aluminium V8 engine marked the end of an era. The engine, first used in the XK8 sports car in 1996, was available in 3.2 litre, 4.0 litre and 4.0 litre supercharged versions.

    The interior was changed greatly, featuring an all-new dashboard. However, the basic car was now 12 years old and some now considered the limited legroom for rear passengers (unless, of course, one went for the LWB model), which was an issue back in 1986, to now be a real Achilles' heel, especially when compared to competing models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Nonetheless, many overlooked this issue, citing the continued Jaguarness and Britishness of the new interior as a preferable place to spend time when compared to rivals.

    X308, considered by some to be the Coventry marque's finest export ever, soldiered on until its all-new aluminium-bodied replacement (X350) was unveiled in 2002.

    Sources: wikipedia.org, jag-lovers.org
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    Last edited by Duell; 04-17-2020 at 05:17 AM.

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    Jaguar XJ#2
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    Jaguar XJ#3
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    Jaguar XJ#4
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    Jaguar XJ#5
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    Jaguar XJ#6
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    Jaguar XJ#8
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    Jaguar XJ#9
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    Nice pics. Did this car have a dedicated platform or did it share parts with some of Ford's cars when it acquired it?

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    "Interestingly, production of the XJ40 with the V12 engine didn't start until 1992. Originally, the XJ40 engine bay was designed not to accept any Vee engine, something the designers did to ensure that then owner British Leyland wouldn't be tempted to use a Rover V8 to power the new XJ40. It took a substantial redesign of the engine bay for the V12 to fit in XJ40 cars."

    One of the main reasons BL went so far south, really. When you have such terrible internal bickering like that, refusing to share parts and expertise, you really can't expect to succeed. The quality issues obviously didn't help, but if they had a properly harmonious company, they could have easily sorted them out. Then we could have still have had Rover, Jaguar, MG and the rest still creating proper english cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pimento
    One of the main reasons BL went so far south, really.
    That kind of thinking continued with Rover untill it went under.

    Apparently Peter Stevens was told he couldn't put certain size wheels on a concept car because it was "company policy", etc.
    Thanks for all the fish

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    The XJ coupe was only produced in the Series 2 range, as coorectly mentioned. The 1973 prototype now resides in the Reynolds Museum, south of Edmonton, Alberta. It has been featured earlier on the UCP main page, but increased quality standards meant that the picture had to go...

    Here is one analog shot in 2001 at the Elkhardt Lake track (Road America).
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    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSXType-R
    Did this car have a dedicated platform or did it share parts with some of Ford's cars when it acquired it?
    AFAIK, none of the XJ series has never shared any major parts with other Ford companies.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4
    It has been featured earlier on the UCP main page, but increased quality standards meant that the picture had to go...
    Right, how come a deletion of the record is supposed to increase the quality of UCP main page?

    On a more positive note, thanks for the pic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revo

    Right, how come a deletion of the record is supposed to increase the quality of UCP main page?
    the record has not been stripped from the database, it is just waiting to be reactivated when good pictorial material arrives...
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

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