1 Apr 1974
By CHRIS HARRIS
The Series II facelift brought a slimmer grille, revised front air intake that now lived below the raised bumper, new lights and a refreshed cabin.
The short-wheelbase XJ6 4.2 Series II is a rare car indeed, imported for 1974 only. After that all XJ sedans used the longer wheelbase for improved rear accommodation.
By now the 4.2-litre in-line six-cylinder engine’s output was 134kW and 314Nm, and was mated solely to a three-speed automatic gearbox.
The remaining long-wheelbase models was known as the XJ6L 4.2 Series II and XJ12L 5.3 Series II – the latter’s outputs dropping to 186kW and 408Nm – until 1976, when Jaguar dropped the ‘L’.
The effect of the emissions-reducing Australian Design Rule 27A of 1976 meant that the 1977 XJ6 4.2’s power and torque dropped to 127kW and 313Nm.
Similarly the renamed XJ 5.3 model’s V12 output fluctuated – rising to 121kW but dropping to 398Nm respectively – due to the implementation of fuel injection instead of carburettors.
Both engines also powered the rare and beautiful XJ 4.2C and 5.3C Coupes, a slim pillared (and pillarless) two-door sedan that was built on the discontinued original ’68 XJ wheelbase and only available until August ’78.
From August ’77 General Motors’ GM 400 three-speed automatic gearbox was used in the V12 cars.
Daimler Sovereign 4.2 and Double Six (5.3 V12) editions were also sold alongside their virtually identical Jaguar twins, the latter also available in range-topping Vanden Plas guise.
These were troubled times however.
Despite the promising start and press coverage the XJ received, the Series II cars suffered severely due to very poor quality, and also because the British Leyland workforce that manufactured them were striking regularly.
It was at this time that Jaguar acquired its subsequent awful reliability and durability reputation, and it has had trouble shaking it ever since.