1 Mar 1999
By CHRIS HARRIS
IN the middle of last century Jaguar seized the public’s imagination with instant classics like the XK, E-Type and Mark II.
But not all of the British marque’s models were instant classics.
The 1964-1969 S-Type/420, for instance, was an unhappy hybrid of 1959’s beautiful Mark II and ‘62’s dowdy Mark 10 sedans.
Thirty-five years later Jaguar, Ford-owned since 1990, attempted to tackle the BMW 5 Series set with another S-Type lash-up.
This time the 1999 edition mixed American Ford with British Jaguar engineering clothed in heavy-handed retro clothing, and has a fraternal twin in the US known as the Lincoln LS.
Predictably, against such sophisticated competition, this rear-drive sedan’s sales never reached expectations.
Released locally in March 1999, the S-Type Series-1 was offered in four guises – V6, Sport V6, SE V6 and SE V8.
The V6 featured here proved more popular, motivated by a 3.0-litre twin-cam 24-valve motor managing 179kW of power at 6800rpm and 300Nm of torque at 4500rpm. In comparison the 209kW/390Nm 4.0-litre V8 produces 209kW and 390Nm.
Jaguar offered two five-speed gearboxes – an electronically controlled automatic and a rare manual in the Sport.
With either transmission, V6 progress is always smooth but never scintillating – the corollary of the fat cat’s 1.7-tonne mass.