Power, beauty, and elegance are words that could describe jaguar cats as well as the automobiles created by a British company named after them. In the Swinging Sixties, this manufacturer decided to streamline its sedans to its ultimate model, the XJ6.
1968-1972: The last Jaguar sedan
By the mid-1960s it had become apparent to Jaguar that it had too many model variants and that certifying all of them for the impending safety and emissions tests in the United States would be extremely expensive. The company decided to incorporate many aspects of the Jaguar’s previous sedans–namely the MK2, S-Type, 420, and 420G models–into just one car.
Sir William Lyons, the company’s co-founder, styled the XJ6 himself as a final masterpiece before his retirement. Its sleek shape incorporated a pair of fuel tanks at the side of the trunk, and an additional noise-reducing bulkhead between the engine and passenger compartments. When the XJ6 debuted in 1968, the press lauded it “the most beautiful car in the world.”
Because Jaguar intended the XJ6 to be the ultimate sedan, it gave buyers the option to choose between a 2.8-liter or a 4.2-liter engine based on the straight-six XK. The company also incorporated the ultra-smooth suspension and drivetrain from the 420G?components that were advanced for its time.
A year after its first release, Jaguar added Daimler variants of the XJ6, such as the Double-Six, Sovereign, and Double Six Varden Plas. These were essentially the same as the original, but with Daimler grilles and higher equipment levels.
In 1972, the company transformed the XJ6 into a new model it called the XJ12 by adding a different engine and longer wheelbase. Thus, the XJ6 became the first of a series of Jaguar flagship sedans with X-numberings.
1973-1979: The refining of the XJ6 Series II
Jaguar introduced a second series of the XJ6 in 1973 in an attempt to improve on a classic and meet American crash safety regulations,. This new model had a raised front bumper with a discrete inlet added underneath to compensate for its smaller grilles.
The company would continue changing the Series II throughout its time. A year after first releasing two wheelbase options, it stopped offering the four-inch shorter variant. Originally offering only a 5.3-liter V12 or a 4.2-liter I-6 Series II engine, Jaguar added a 3.4-liter XK-based option in 1975. However, despite all these changes, the Series II became known for its poor build quality that many attributed to the British Leyland group, Jaguar’s owners at the time.
1979-1992: The last XJ6 series and the first of a kind
Because it could not afford funding a completely new car, Jaguar asked Pininfarina, the Italian car design company, to give the XJ6 a thorough makeover. Near the end of the Seventies, the world saw the new Series III. It had less curves, a higher roofline, rubber bumpers with decorative chrome, flushed door handles, larger rear light clusters, and grilles with purely vertical vanes. It had three engine variants: the 5.3-liter V12, the 4.2-liter straight six, and the 3.4-liter straight six. In 1981, the V12 got a “fireball” high compression cylinder head designed by Michael May.
In 1987, Jaguar slowly started retiring the XJ6 by stopping the production of the six-cylinder engine variants. The company intended to replace them with other X-numbered luxury sedans. In 1992, the last 100 Series III models were built with special commemorative plates in the glove box. This was how the XJ6 became the first of a new line of cars.