1 Aug 1979
By CHRIS HARRIS
Jaguar’s political and quality troubles didn’t vanish with the much-loved Series III facelift, but the car somehow recaptured the excitement of the original XJ anyway.
Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina, who managed to modernise the 11 year-old design without detracting from it, was responsible for the new look.
The body’s larger glass area and cleaner lines melded nicely with the slimmer grille, larger rubber bumpers and stylised tail-light design.
Mechanically the big change was the switch from dual carburettors to fuel injection, with the XJ6 4.2 Series III now delivering 153kW and 314Nm to its rear wheels via a three-speed automatic gearbox.
There was no Jaguar-branded XJ V12 version for the Series III, but a Daimler Double Six model, now with 217kW of power and a hefty 434Nm of torque, continued on in new Series III guise.
But there was a five-speed manual model available from June ’82 to December ’85, along with a Jaguar Vanden Plas version released a year later with the fuel-injected 153kW/314Nm 4.2 six-cylinder powerplant. This lasted until July ’85.
Meanwhile the Jaguar Sovereign Series III V12, with 193kW and 391Nm, was released in February ’86, and stayed in production until the XJ40 V12 models arrived in ’89.
In the early ‘80s newly appointed Jaguar boss John Egan fought hard to win-back the respect of the British workforce as well as the car-buying public.
The XJ Series III soldiered on well past the introduction of the troublesome XJ40 replacement in 1986, with the final one assembled at the Browns Lane production facility in 1988.
The Series III “look’ would be called upon again – in the mid-‘90s XJ300 – to again reverse the XJ’s flagging fortunes.