XJ Series 1
1 Apr 1969
By CHRIS HARRIS
THE first Jaguar XJ6, unveiled in England in September 1968, was a modern masterpiece, seizing the title as the best sedan in the world with its able blend of suppleness, refinement and sportiness.
It was to also prove extremely difficult to replace. Which is ironic as the XJ originally succeeded a hodge podge of ageing Jaguar sedans, including the 1956 Mark I based 420 and S-Type range.
The company’s founder, Sir William Lyons, originally envisaged a sort of E-Type four-door sedan, but wisely chose to amalgamate styling elements of this and the existing sedan range to create the beautifully balanced lines of the XJ6.
Since the XJ supplanted a number of Jaguar sedans, the company installed two of its trusty classic in-line six-cylinder engines – a development of the old Mark II 2.4 unit as well as the renowned 4.2-litre XK unit that dated back to 1948.
The smaller engine appeared in the XJ6 2.8, and featured an 104kW/203Nm 2792cc carburettor-fed twin-cam six-cylinder unit.
Meanwhile the XJ6 4.2 boasted a 4235cc twin-cam six-cylinder engine, offering 129kW and 306Nm.
Both powerplants drove the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic or four-speed plus overdrive manual gearbox.
During the XJ6 Series 1 five-year run here there were detail changes to the wheel arches (’70), tail-lights (’71), and bumpers (’72). The 4.2 received a Borg Warner 12 three-speed automatic transmission during 1970.
In March 1973 the XJ12 models arrived, powered by a 203kW/410Nm 5.3-litre V12 powerplant driving a three-speed automatic gearbox.
Jaguar installed firmer springs to handle the heavier engine’s weight over the front wheels, as well as beefed up the brakes.
At the same time the XJ12L long-wheelbase model arrived, liberating much-needed extra space for rear-seat passengers.
This 114mm longer body was to soon replace the regular sized XJ sedan.
Daimler Sovereign versions of the XJ6 4.2 were also sold alongside the virtually identical Jaguars from 1970, while the 2.8 was discontinued in November ‘73.
In all 98,527 XJ Series 1 cars were made between 1968 and 1974.